Server Trouble And The End Of Mittens?

Server Trouble And The End Of Mittens?

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A belated happy new year, everyone. We hope that your resolutions, chess-based or otherwise, are well underway. Here's our first monthly update of the year, featuring new improvements, event coverage, exciting previews, and a truly diabolical kitten.

But first, a note: Traffic on has nearly doubled since the beginning of December, and our servers are struggling. We love you, we feel you, we are sorry, and we are working as hard as we can to return to stability as soon as possible. 

Here's what this monthly update covers: 

Product & Engineering

As well as the all-hands-on-deck situation as we work to bring things back to normal and scale to accommodate this unprecedented interest in chess, here is what the team has worked on:

  • Cat bots were unleashed to mark the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. Our Play Computer page featured some new feline opponents: Scaredy Cat, Angry Cat, Mr. Grumpers, Catspurrov, and the mighty Mittens, who swiftly proceeded to break the internet (and our servers in the process).
  • There were a total of 120 million games played against the cat bots—132.5 million, counting late entrant and terrifying horror-doll M3GAN, who was ultimately defeated by Mittens in a battle for the ages.
  • In the end, the cat bots disappeared and were swiftly replaced by new AI bots. It seems like we're finally free from Mittens' evil ways... for now.
  • Play vs Coach is now an option on the Play Computer page, giving web users the chance to gain additional chess insights as they play games against bots, with real-time feedback on your moves and tips on improvement.
  • Our Chess Clock app (on iOS and Android) received major updates, with a more user-friendly interface, new time-control presets, and additional customization options.
  • In the last month of 2022, we added 21,948 new puzzles, meaning we entered 2023 with a playable total of 580,378.
  • In January, we added 15,154 additional puzzles (and removed some sub-optimal puzzles), bringing our total up to 594,630.

If you are an engineer and want to help grow the game of chess, come work with us! Visit to find out more.


A promo image for the 2023 Champions Chess Tour.

The 2023 chess calendar is already looking action-packed, with the first months of the year being full of exciting events and new tournaments.


Here are some of the Community Team’s highlights from the last month, including a sneak preview of some exciting things coming up.

  • A huge congratulations to @AdamA67 for winning the SCC Bracket Contest with a perfect bracket, and walking away with $10,000!
  • The annual State of Chess broadcast took place in December, featuring three intensive hours of updates, interviews, and breaking news. Catch the recording here.
  • Awards winners were announced. These awards are a way for the community to recognize and reminisce on the great games, moves, players, creators, and other highlights of 2022. Over 10,000 of you voted, and the results are in...
  • The Discord community now consists of over 50,000 people. There have been some massive changes to the Discord server lately, and there are some amazing events coming up, including an AMA with GM Sam Shankland.
  • Make sure to join for some epic themed tournaments and cool prizes over the coming weeks.


Whether it's videos, articles, news, or lessons from one of the world's top GMs, here's a rundown of some of the top chess content from the last couple of months.

  • Ever wondered about the history of Erik and Danny sat down last month to discuss their stories, and how became what it is today. Check out the video above to learn more.
  • For some extra reading material, check out this article on how reached 100 million members.
  • Legendary GM Viswanathan Anand has released over five hours of exclusive video content on in which he discusses his career, his approach to chess, and more. There’s a lot you can learn from a five-time world champion who has been one of the 10 best players in the world for over 32 years.
  • This article on the biggest chess prizewinners in 2022 received over 130k reads, as people were eager to find out who earned the most prize money in tournaments this year.
  • Mittens took over the online chess world one brutal checkmate at a time, defeating some of the internet's most revered chess personalities and leading to some amazing reactions.

Fair Play

Fair Play stats for December:

  • 56,092 Fair Play closures (including 2 titled players)
  • 135,602 mute actions
  • 117,371 accounts muted
  • 94,027 abuse closures

Fair Play stats for January:

  • 105,984 Fair Play closures (including 2 titled players)
  • 264,018 mute actions
  • 229,215 accounts muted
  • 126,276 abuse closures

The Fair Play Team had massive growth over the last year, and are all pumped for 2023's new events!


Lastly, a busy couple of months for the Support Team. Here are the stats for December:

  • Average Time to First Response: 53 hours
  • Total Support Responses: 38,634
  • Average Quality by Member Rating: 94%
  • Total Ratings: 4,142

As always, thank you for making such an amazing place, and thank you for the comments you leave on these updates. Stay tuned—your thoughts might be featured in one of these updates soon...

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