Chess.com CEO Answers Your Questions
"My job is to hire people smarter than me, which I have done 49 out of the 50 times — sorry, Danny,” joked Erik as he welcomed members to the show.
Erik touted the next version of Chess.com, which is available for all members to try out right now.
The new site is "more stable, better, faster, and future-proof going forward," he said. “There have been so many amazing things people have asked for that it’s been hard to push everything out.”
He then opened the floor to audience questions, the best of which are selected below:
Given Chess.com’s enviable position, what we are doing to innovate?
“Our mobile apps have gotten a lot better and our v3 is supposed to do that," said Erik. “We have been investing time, resources, and money for the last several years. Once you try the site we feel you’ll know what we’ve been working on.”
Does Chess.com have a mascot?
“Danny is our spirit animal,” said Erik.
Are there plans to offer a la carte membership?
“Making money on the Internet is a weird thing,” said Erik, who said that no one option is ideal for everyone. "We have a philosophy of picking your plan and going with it," he said. "Pick your plan and you get access to everything."
What can free members look forward to?
In the next version of Chess.com, there are no more limitations on stats, game access, or messages. "There is no more nitpicking to get people to upgrade...[it's about] openness and freedom." said Erik.
Will Chess.com offer pre-arranged correspondence positions?
“I love that suggestion,” said Erik.
Will Chess.com offer tournament late-joins?
The feature is not yet available, but it's something to consider for the future.
What's the official rollout date for the new Chess.com?
“The answer is last year. I am working every day…trying to get people to do it," he said. “It’s available now, you can get in there,” but still little details need to be ironed out.
When is the transition period?
The transition period is now. We will offer at least six months of keeping v2 as an option. We hope "people will go into v3 on their own because it’s better," said Erik.
Will Chess.com offer Chess960?
You can already play Chess960 in the new version of Chess.com and in our mobile apps.
What is Chess.com doing to prevent cheating?
Chess.com employs one full-time programming statistician and one full-time analyst devoted to cheat-detection. A Harvard statistician consults with the team to check its models.
“We are doing everything possible to stop cheating," said Erik, who noted the difficulty of preventing a small amount of cheating at lower levels of play.
We are very careful to not have false positives, Erik said. ”Innocent until proven guilty.”
Will Chess.com offer prize tournaments for amateur players?
"When you put money in, you really are inviting potential cheaters," said Erik.
If implemented, it will be done carefully, with personal verification.
Will Chess.com offer live bughouse?
"We definitely want to do it. I love it," said Erik.
Where can I buy Chess.com gear?
Chess.com merchandise is available on WholesaleChess.com.
Erik concluded by thanking all the members of Chess.com.
"When you have a lot of members you can’t please everyone, but I want to assure you we are working hard to make this the best possible experience," he said.
"Chess.com without members is nothing, so I appreciate you.”