A Retrospective of Recent Enhancements
Hello again, chess fans!
It's been a while (too long!) since we last made any noise here in the official blog, but it's not like we've been napping! In fact, the last month or so has seen the arrival of some exciting improvements & new features. Let's start with the smaller stuff & save the big-ticket items for last...
Facebook Integration Updates
We're recently made some improvements to our Facebook integration, including the Facebook page and the ability to post games, etc.
So, like our motto says, "Play, Learn...
Enhanced Email Notifications
Now when you get one of our "It's Your Move!" emails, you can start thinking about your next move straight away: We've added your opponent's move (in text), along with a graphic to show you the current position. This is especially convenient if you're pressed for time (but curious to see what happened on the board) or (far worse) if Chess.com is blocked at your office or school.
Play vs the Computer everywhere!
Well, maybe not quite - but having our own home-grown virtual opponent has certainly opened up some interesting new possibilities! You'll be seeing the Computer opponent popping up in some new places to add great practical value & interactivity to many of our existing learning tools:
Tactics Trainer - Ok, so maybe you found the tactic... but can you bring home the win? When the tactic is over, click on "Try Tactic Vs. Computer" to find out. (Of course, this will be pretty easy for tactics that end in checkmate!)
Online Chess - Did your opponent resign before you had a chance to practice mating his lone king with your two bishops? Never fear, just click on "Finish Game Vs. Computer" and get the closure you need.
Opening Explorer - Jump straight from a position in the Explorer to the Computer opponent, and practice taking your favorite book lines into uncharted territory!
Video Lessons - After the lesson has ended, what have you really learned? Put yourself to the test by playing out key positions from the lecture against the Computer.
We've also been making some improvements to the Computer opponent itself, both in terms of stability and new features. For instance, you can now switch sides any time you like. If you notice any glitches, particularly with the Computer crashing or "hanging" (thinking forever), please let us know! (See Erik's forum post for more details.)
Online Chess Store
Just in time for the holidays! We have partnered with WholesaleChess.com (home of the Thursday Specials!) to create a new & improved shopping experience right here on Chess.com. What's more, Chess.com premium members get a 5% discount when they click through our store! Books, chess computers, tournament & deluxe sets, software - we've got it all. Check it out!
Live Chess Analysis Boards
A brand new new premium feature! The first phase of the Live Analysis Board is up and running, and we're pretty pumped about it. These boards provide an interactive & graphical tool for analysing chess positions and games in real time - one on one, with a whole group, or with anyone who cares to tune in. Now you can go through games after you finish them and show your ideas, or get online lessons, or follow major tournaments online!
Although users of the simple version of Live can observe an analysis board, the advanced Live Chess platform is required to create a new analysis board session or to accept control of someone else's board. Please note that creating & controlling Analysis Boards is a premium feature reserved for Platinum and Diamond members.
After you have created an analysis board, you may invite whomever you wish, or you may open the board up to the public. You may also give control of the board to another attendee or take it back, as you like.
The board itself is great for doing demos and analysis. To get things rolling, you can populate the board with data from a FEN string or insert a move list with PGN. You can also set up the board manually. Once you're set up, you can use right-click and right-drag to instantly create highlighted squares and graphical arrows to illustrate your points!
And all of this is just the beginning: You'll be seeing lots of changes as we work to build Live Analysis into the best platform for real-time chess review & instruction. What's next on our list? Well, Internet voice chat during analysis for one. (Hands-free chat!) And to complement our investment in great teaching tools, we are also working on some very cool things to help connect improving chess players with great coaches here in the Chess.com community.
**Update 2010/11/23: Platinum+ members can now jump straight into a Live post-game analysis whenever a game ends! Click here for details.