Live Chess Mini Stories 1 - Net Send e4

Live Chess Mini Stories 1 - Net Send e4

piotr
piotr
|
4

I just saw Live Chess approaching 50,000 online players along with over 17,000 games in progress and it really made me wonder how it is even possible we successfully built online chess server for such a huge community which now attracts all those players of different levels including top GMs (chess superstars), other strong players, club-level players, amateurs, and all people who just want to make their first steps in chess using Chess.com Live Chess. And also stream their play on twitch to let other players enjoy it! Really mind-blowing where we got!

There is an old text I posted 8 years ago about Live Chess reaching 5000 online player in peak time (also referencing 2008 record which was 100! players): https://www.chess.com/article/view/5000-users-online

As I feel so grateful for the opportunity of joining Chess.com team (Erik, Jay, and Igor - that time; now more than 100 passionate team members!) at it very early stages about a year before Chess.com actually went online in May 2007, I thought that maybe it's a good idea to post several mini blogs about how it all started for me.

Well, 20 years ago, in 1998, during my first year at university (computer science), I attended a slow-pace classes of declarative programming and it was soo slow that me and my friend opened GNU xboards and used LAN text messages to exchange moves and replay them on our local boards. Thus, the classes went well and and full of action! So yeah, we used "net send" and entered moves for both sides manually using local chessboards on our screens... Imagine. Some screenshots googled and pasted below for reference.

I think it must have inspired me to try and build something more user friendly.

A bit later, I also tried an online chess server located in US (caissa chess if I'm not mistaken) but connections were really not good enough that time to let you play a full game of chess sitting in front of a computer in Poland.

In 1999, I learned some networking with sockets in C++ and Java 1.2 and I thought it would be a good pet project to build a C++ server and Java applet client to exchange chess moves to practice both server and client and both C++ and Java approaches to networking.

It happened. I also missed a few lectures deliberately (was rare as for me :] ) to install and debug it on a university *nix machine (I was unable to test locally at home - I had no internet access or was it a modem?).

Some bits of the code ideas are still here deep in Live Chess server code...

/To be continued/

Image result for gnu xboard 

Messenger service / net send command screenshot