Building Chess.com: Part 9 - Opening to Middlegame

Building Chess.com: Part 9 - Opening to Middlegame

erik
erik
Jan 20, 2008, 11:10 PM |
31 | Misc

It was three years ago that I first thought that the world needed a global chess community and set my eyes on Chess.com as the home for that community. Then in June 2007, after more than 2 years of work, Chess.com was opened to the public. It was our first move in the game of building a website where players could play, learn, and share.

For the last 6 months we have continued to make our "opening moves", working hard on building every aspect of this site. We have had some major technical struggles, unexpected press and several other interesting events as we have been building Chess.com. I'll admit - we have been "out of book" since move one. It isn't like building a site like this is easy or obvious. Sure, we have had several sites to look at as examples of both good and bad, but we have always been looking to do something different. We have always believed that Chess.com is YOURS - the community's - and that we could only make this work with your suggestions and input. We have read every comment and suggestion you have made, and have tried to meet your expectations. We hope that you have come to enjoy Chess.com as much as we do (we're not only the creators, but are addicted to the site as well!!)!

This week we will hit 100,000 members (woo hoo!). We now have 8 servers, 12 team members, and are serving more than 1 million daily pageviews. We are no longer a tiny startup site - we are done with the opening and transitioning into the middlegame. But as the site has grown, so have our costs. Not only did I personally sink my entire lifesavings into this business, but many of us have been working with NO pay for the entire time. We have wives and kids. And frankly, we now need your help.

Today we are introducing Premium Memberships. You should all have known this was coming as we were very upfront about it. The GOOD news is that most of the site will remain as it is now - FREE for those who want it to be free. The DOUBLE GOOD news is that for those of you who would like to both support Chess.com and enjoy some additional features, you will now be able to do so (and we could REALLY use that support :) ). If we get enough memberships then we can continue to build more and more awesome features. If we can't, then life goes on but Jay and I have to get real jobs and this site will remain open and free but we won't be able to dedicate ourselves fully to it. I'm not trying to make you feel sad for us - I'm just telling you the truth - each month we lose tens of thousands of dollars out of our pockets for Chess.com :)

On the brighter side, today we are also releasing 2 new and really cool features!

Tactics Trainer - For those of you who want to improve your tactics (and chess IS 99% tactics...) then go visit the tactics trainer to get thousands of tactics served up quickly. There are some really cool features in there already with some even better ones planned! Click here to try it out! 

Vote Chess - Now we can play giant team games! 1/2 of Chess.com vs. the other 1/2! And in the future we will also get to play all of Chess.com vs. a Grandmaster (we're working on finding a worthy opponent ;) We have started our first Chess.com vs. Chess.com game, so go check it out and get involved - you can vote and determine the outcome of the game! Click here to check it out! 

In other news we are also making a LOT of progress on Live Chess and should have a public opening within the next 3 weeks. We are also hard at work on the following:

- Opening Explorer (for Grandmaster games, as well as your own!)

- Tournaments

- Some upgrades to echess (conditional moves, themed starting positions, etc)

We also have a few new things up our sleeves that we aren't going to tell you about yet :)

All in all we really appreciate being able to work on Chess.com and feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful members. We hope you feel like this is a joint effort!

Thank you again for your support through the Opening of Chess.com's life - we look forward to an exciting Middlegame!

- Erik 


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