A Sleigh-Load of Live Chess Features!
Happy holidays, chess-fans!
One of my all-time favorite seasonal films is A Christmas Story (1983) - the heart-warming tale of Ralphie, a nine-year-old who wants a BB gun more than anything, but whose prospects seem grim ("You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"). But then, a holiday miracle: late on Christmas morning, as Ralphie contemplates a pile of just "pretty good" gifts strewn about the living room, his dad reveals a package that has somehow has gone unnoticed. Wrapping paper flies one last time, and magically it appears: a brand new Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle.
Well, if you're a premium Live Chess user, and looking for yet another excuse for celebration this season, take note that we've been working hard to build and test our own little holiday miracle: a sleigh-load of changes to Live Chess just as awesome as a Ralphie's shiny new peacemaker.
Live Voice Chat!
Wow. All of a sudden, Live Chess is truly the next best thing to being there - heck, it might even be better than being there. For our Diamond and Platinum members, hands-free Internet-based voice chat is now available in Live Chess!
You can talk smack with your friends as you play, wax philosophical about your mistakes during a post-mortem on our new & improved analysis boards (see below), or sit back and just listen to a coach or event commentator as they step through a game. So sing "auld lang syne" to the Carpal-Tunnel and "happy new year!" to the immediacy of natural speech in online chess! Emoticons are just so 2010.
(If you want to know more about how Voice Chat works, check out the FAQ.)
Live Analysis Board Improvements
Our new Live analysis boards have also been on the receiving end of a few special gifts we hope you'll like:
- After experimenting with alternate lines, the board owner can use a new "Reload" link to jump back to the last "main-line" position from a completed game or pasted PGN/FEN
- When a Board owner flips the board, he or she can now decide whether or not to flip spectators' boards at the same time
- If you're following an Analysis Board in the simple version of Live, you can now clearly see whose side is to move
- Whenever the board owner's chat text is mixed in with viewers' (i.e. viewers are not muted), the owner's chat text is now highlighted in yellow
Miscellaneous Live Chess Enhancements
We've put in a few "stocking stuffers" here and there!
First off, we have greatly improved your ability to have it your way, as regards the layout of the Live Premium interface:
- If you just want to "set it & forget it," you now have a broader selection of board sizes to choose from in Settings
- On the other hand, if you have more exacting tastes, you can manually adjust the size of the board, the other panels AND the chat area using the draggable borders. We now remember your layout and will apply it (overriding Settings) whenever you sign back in!
Please note that we've made a change so that all pre-moves now consume a minimum 0.1 seconds of clock-time. Also, we've made some improvements to following users, particularly around tolerance for connectivity interruptions. Finally, the Draw button now turns green if your opponent offers a draw - very useful if your Chat panel is hidden!
Whew! Well, that's about it for this year. We hope you got what you really wanted in 2010. Please jump into Live Chess and check out what's new! Unlike fruitcake, it's 100% calorie-free, and there's practically no risk of shooting your eye out.
All the best to you and yours for 2011!