The State of Chess.com - August '13

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The State of Chess.com is the revival of a monthly segment the CEO used to provide for Chess.com members on Chess/TV.  The State of Chess.com was airied on August 14th at 11:30 AM Pacific with Erik, Chess.com's CEO and co-founder.  There will be a special "Meet the Chess.com Team" segment on August 28th live from New York.  Most of the Chess.com team members will be in attendence to meet our members.  For more info on future Chess/TV events, check out the schedule page.

Erik's Background

Erik's mom taught him to play chess when he was eight years old.  Fast-forward to his college years.  While playing chess in college Erik met Jay, the eventual co-founder of chess.com. 

  • Erik started a company called Schoolhouse Chess while in college to help kids develop learning skills through playing chess  
  • After college Erik created Wholesalechess.com
  • Graduated from Standford University and sold Wholesalechess.com
  • Passed up on job offers from Facebook and Google to continue to work on his passion - chess
  • Erik convinced Jay to create the most amazing chess experience possible - chess.com (2006)
  • Erik and Jay have gone from a team of 2 to over 35 full-time employees and numerous contract workers creating content for the site

Future of Chess.com

Chess.com started in 2006 which was built on technology current for it's time.  Starting in 2007 chess.com was operating successfully with developers constantly working on improvements.  The current chess.com platform won't continue to work into the future without new technology.

Chess.com Website
Chess.com is being rebuilt completely from scratch with all new code behind the scenes.  The interface will be a completely new, simpler, and more user-friendly design.  The new site should be rolled out in the next 3-6 months with a transition period to follow so users can get accustomed to the new features while being able to revert to the old layout.  After the transition period the old site will eventually be phased out.

Smartphone/tablet
ios and android apps are being re-written to be slicker with Chess Mentor, Forums, Articles, Messages, and more in new awesome apps! A Windows 8 app will come shortly after the smartphone apps.

Live Chess Improvements
Live Chess - better functionality to watch live chess events.  Will be sponsoring the U.S. Chess League.  The interface will be rewritten to be faster and better.  We are looking into adding more time options. Chess960 and Bughouse are definitely coming!  Public chat rooms are going away.  Private group chat will be added based on your chess.com groups.  Moderators of the group will be in charge of moderating those chat rooms.

Q&A Highlights

Q: Basic Parameters on Revenue/Debt/Growth
A: Erik is a product driven person and the site has grown in both revenue and members.  The company has no debt and no outside investors.

Q: What did you study in college?
A: English major.  Erik studies HTML during his classes and was self-taught.

Q: Chess.com name origin
A: Erik bid for chess.com at a domain auction and heard it was available since he was active in the chess community.

Q: Can we remove ads on livestream?
A: Chess.com is working on it's own streaming technology.

Q: Does chess.com plan to help kids in low income areas?
A: Chesskid.com is a free place for kids to play online.

Q: How do chess.com ratings compare to other ratings?
A: Each rating pool is completely separate and chess.com does attempt to make the ratings similar to OTB ratings.

Q: Do you have any book recommendations?
A: Yasser Seirawan series is a good one.

Q: Are conditional moves coming to Live Chess?
A: Probably not.  Premove is already available.

Q: Will chess.com allow playing chess for money?
A: Probably not due to disputes and disconnections

Q: Can we have group matches on Live Chess?
A: We are thinking about it.

For more of Erik's Q&A session the whole video can be found on livestream.

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