Building Part 8 - A Few Random Insights

Building Part 8 - A Few Random Insights

| 21 | Misc

It's been a while since I have talked about the inner workings of and there are some fun and interesting things happening (and about to happen) - enjoy!

50,000 Members

Yesterday hit 50,000 members. And while that is small compared to some other chess websites, we've managed to do it in just under 5 months. We're adding more than 500 members per day on average. We think that number will continue to grow as well. Hopefully it will still continue to feel like the close-knit community I feel we are!

Growing 10% per Week

While we are adding sheer numbers of members, they don't all stay around obviously. But what IS interesting is that we are growing at about 10% per WEEK across most of our metrics - unique visitors, unique member logins, pageviews, etc. That's pretty decent growth we think.

Live Chess

Live Chess is coming on November 5th. We won't be advertising to the world, but it will be live and members will be able to join and play. We'll need your help at that time with bug reports, feedback, etc, but I hope to be whooping up some blitz in just a few days! Stay tuned in the forums and news for more info!  

Development Schedule

I get a lot of questions about what we are working on, when things will be done, etc. So here you go (in approximate order):

  1. Live Chess (beta)
  2. Memberships and cool new member features
  3. Mystery Feature (see below)
  4. Site Fixer-upper (time to catch up on a bunch of really minor bug fixes and improvements we have accumulated while working hard on other things)
  5. Tactics Database
  6. Tournaments

That's pretty much what we think will happen over the next 3 months :) Wish us luck...

Mystery Feature

We have a very exciting feature coming soon. We aren't talking about what it is, but it is really unique, should be a LOT of fun and REALLY helpful for your chess.  Don't ask me what it is because I am not telling. :D 

New Team Members

We have added a full-time duo of programmers who are now on board. One is named Rodney and the other is Cache. They are both from Colorado and are REALLY good PHP programmers. They are really helping us build the new site features a LOT faster. is getting more and more complicated and we are adding more and more features - it is impossible for Jay and Piotr to do it all. That said, I have to still do all the product specs, design, and HTML by myself. :)

Site Stability & Hardware

Remember about 6 weeks ago when the site was crashing about once a day or more? Well, those days are long gone and we are SOOOO glad. If you don't recall that, be glad - it was like a living nightmare for us. We just couldn't figure out what was wrong. I think there is a quote like "Hell hath no fury like servers crashing" or something like that. Literally - we were all depressed about it. But we finally found out the issues (had to change many code queries and rethink some architecture stuff), plus we added some more hardware. We're still adding more servers but things are smooth as butter lately - fingers crossed! (We'll see how this goes once we launch Live Chess - that might really test us! :)

New Site Design Elements

We will be making a few design changes to the site in the near future. The most notable is that the page will be getting about 100px wider (so, about 12% wider). Most of that width will be in the sidebar of the site so we can fit some cool stuff in there that just doesn't work right now. Plus, most of us have monitors that easily support that (the only ones who will miss out a little are you 800x600 folks and to you I say sorry, but it isn't 1995 anymore :) ). We will also be adding an even larger chessboard for echess (like 25% bigger!) Finally, we are going to be giving everyone the ability to design however you want to see it!  


As you have noticed, we have introduced a few ads to our site. They have been VERY helpful in generating some revenue to fund development. We hope to keep all of the ads that ever come to relevant, attractive, and non-intrusive. Remember - we use the site too :) 


The best news of all is that we are having a TON of fun working on the site (and using it too, of course). We feel really fortunate to be a part of this, and we hope you feel the same. I really appreciate all of the feedback, patience, friendship, learning, etc that I have received from all of you here on!

- Erik 

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