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Historic News Messages

Nothing is older than yesterday's news. But if you could not visit the site for a longer period, you might be interested in what happened during your absence.

Happy New Year! - December 31st 2001

You can download the Portable Game Notation (PGN) of all valid games of the past year in the m4T_Alt_Linkgames section.

Let me thank you all for your loyalty and help!

Some say that PlayChess is the best chess site on the web. If this is true (don't expect me to contradict), then simply because it has the best "audience". You supplied so many ideas, error reports, criticism and feedback that I will be busy for years - I love it!

Your first Christmas present - December 16th 2001

From now until the end of 2001, all member-only pages (those with the blue triangle) are open for members and guests alike. This does not affect the number of games allowed.

You may notice that I replaced the old Java applet with a new one (with courtesy of This applet is really nice and does not suffer from the restrictions of the previous applet regarding pawn promotion.

Good news for international citizens: I developed a strategy for "cheap" international payments. And you will even be able to get a Premium membership! However, I still must clarify some details, but will publish the new payment methods in the next two weeks.

Membership for German players - December 6th 2001

Deutsche Spieler können ab sofort per Überweisung oder Euroscheck bezahlen. Einzelheiten finden Sie auf einer m4T_Alt_Linkspeziellen Seite (auf Deutsch).

Membership payments - December 2nd 2001

Alternative ways to transfer membership fees are currently "under development". Details will follow soon.

PlayChess - Next Generation - November 22nd 2001

PlayChess has undergone substantial change. I recommend that you read the m4T_Alt_Tutornew rules and some of the m4T_Alt_Tutortutorial before you resume playing.

What has changed?
- only one password dialog for the whole site
- limits on simultanous games
- optional paid membership
- Java viewers for games and annotations
- extended browser support
- improved help system
- opening statistics
- search for annotations
- player preferences
and many, many minor details.

Important hint: The game limits determine if you may enroll in new tournaments. But they have no influence on already running games. If your number of running games exceeds these game limits, don't worry - simply play your games to their regular end.

Union of classes X and M - August 25th 2001
As often requested, I united the classes X and M of league HCL. All former X-class players may now enroll in tournaments of class M, there are many more players than in X. M-players, be careful: the "big guys" are here!

Why you shouldn't play chess at PlayChess - August 22nd 2001
There was a time when I was playing chess behind a real chess board. I still do that, but there is something very wrong with me. I let PlayChess convince me that this chess site washes whiter than white. As the fool I was I took a peek inside, and now I'm trapped. I'm doomed. I want to get out, but I can't. Professional help failed. The psych I visited needed to study PlayChess to understand my disorder better, but after his first login his secretary cancelled all my appointments, as now he himself is in a straightjacket, trying to get rid of his PlayChess addiction himself… m4T_Alt_Link[more]

Page menus - August 13th 2001
You probably noticed the new menus on the right side of many pages. They were provided by m4T_Alt_ExternRoman Schechtel, an experienced web developer from Germany. You may know him better under his player name m4T_Alt_LinkMaxFusion.

Site performance - August 3rd 2001
I introduced several optimisations. Pages should now load faster, connection errors should have disappeared. Please give me some linkfeedback: Is playchess running better now?

Move messages - July 29th 2001
Move messages may now be up to 255 characters long. Please use the "Preview" button, if you want to enter longer (>100 chars) messages.

Furthermore, you may now enter messages when resigning or accepting draw. These messages will be sent to your opponent by email, but do not appear in the game history.

Email virus - July 27th 2001
It seems that a new email virus is circulating. I got several suspicious emails with an attachment. The subject line and the file name of the attachment are different in each of these emails, but the body of the message is always the same:

		Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
		Content-Disposition: message text
		Hi! How are you?
		I send you this file in order to have your advice
		See you later. Thanks 

If you get such a message, don't open the attached file! Infected computers will send out messages like this to everyone in the address book. It might be a good idea to check your computer for viruses - even if you never got such a message.

You can find a patch at Search for "TROJ_SIRCAM.A". (Thank you, Luis!)

Just to make it clear: this virus has nothing to do with playchess. I just noticed its existence.

Clock problem "solved" - July 27th 2001
The clocks of all artificially prolonged games have been cut down to 10 days for the player to move. This gives these games opportunity to time out gracefully.

Solution of clock problem - July 22nd 2001
On July 6th I accidentally adjusted the chess clocks wrongly.

Finished games. I have corrected the clocks of finished games to approximate values. Therefore, the rating history on your statistics pages may look somewhat strange, because the order of the games is not exactly correct. Don't worry, your rating has been calculated correctly!

Running games. Many games that were about to time out soon have been prolonged through my error. I will correct that in the following 2-3 days: the clocks of all those artificially prolonged games will be cut down to 3 days for the player to move. This gives these games opportunity to time out gracefully.

Early promotion and demotion - July 21st 2001
Often the decision who will be winning or losing a tournament is clear long before the tournament is over. Until now, winners and losers had to wait for their promotion or demotion until the tournament was over.

From now on, all tournament pages have a link "Check for early promotion and demotion…". When you click on this link, the system checks if any players from this tournament can be promoted or demoted - before the tournament is over. Please use this possibility only if there is a realistic chance that players might be promoted or demoted. This check puts a considerable load on the system.

Limitation on parallel games - June 13th 2001
The old limit on the number of concurrent tournament has been replaced by a limit on the number of running games.

This is better, since you are in control of the number of games you play, but not of the number of running tournaments (other players may "stall" the progress of these tournaments), Up to 50 concurrent games are possible.

Emails reactivated - June 13th 2001
Emails are reactivated. I restored the email notification option of all player accounts to "opponents move only". Please adjust it to your preferred value.

The email system has been replaced by a completely different one. This should avoid all the problems of the old system.

Game History - May 12th 2001
The list of the moves of a game is now on a separate page. There, not only the moves, but all messages of the players are displayed. You can reach the game history by clicking on the link "Game History" below the move dialog on your game page.

Move messages on the game page itself are now displayed for a limited time only (as it should be).

Thanks to all players that provided some feedback in the playchess survey! The m4T_Alt_Externstatistical results are still available.

Game and Tournament Directories - April 15th 2001
The access to all tournaments and all annotated games has been restored. At the end of each list of tournaments or games there are links that allow you to skip to the next page of results.

By the way: Playchess does no longer accept new registrations. Read the m4T_Alt_Linkregistration page for more details.

The PlayChess Survey - April 11th 2001
Playchess needs your help. I created a little survey that helps improve the site.

By the way: you might see some interesting m4T_Alt_Externstatistical results there.

Annotated Games - March 29th 2001
The m4T_Alt_Linkannotated games section is open again. There, you may annotate your games or see the analysis of other games.

A tiny and difficult to find bug caused all the trouble…

Move Dialog - March 29th 2001
The move dialog has been further improved and corrected.
With "Move & Show" you get the "classic" behaviour. With "Move & Next" you make your move and skip to your next game. If you do not want to make your move immediately, simply "Skip" to the next game. And you may even preview your move before submitting it.

Games available again! - March 14th 2001
After problems with the database server my provider (Schlund & Partner) decided to "correct" the problem. But everything became worse than before …

Of course they claim that it was my fault (but I didn't change anything in the last 3 weeks). I suppose (I do not get a clear answer from them) they installed a different version of the database software on the new system - without notifying me of possible problems.

I programmed a work-around and hope that everything works correctly again. Everything? No, the annotated games are not working yet - this will come in one or two days.

Due to these changes I have been forced to upload a new version of the game section that allows for skipping between your open games. This has not been tested sufficiently. In fact, I know of some minor bugs in this algorithm. Please try to ignore these shortcomings, they will be corrected soon.

I corrected the clocks of all running games (added 6 days). This should prevent that games are lost by time due to the above problems. Please notify me if this happened to one of your games, I will reactivate it then.

Please accept my apologies for all these inconveniences.

5 Player Rabbit Tournaments - February 22th 2001
I introduced a new tournament type into all classes of HCL and some classes of ACL. It is a normal 5-player tournament, but with "rabbit time control": one move per day.

Find Player - February 10th 2001
You are looking for a certain player?
Maybe you do not even remember his exact username?

The new m4T_Alt_LinkFind Player page will help you.

New Features - February 10th 2001
As promised, some new (or at least improved) features:

History and Statistics:
You can now see (again) the complete history of your games and tournaments. Just click on "Player Stats" in the menu to the right.
More will come soon.

Sending messages to players:
You may now contact any player very easily. Just click on his name. The menu on the appearing player information page contains an entry "Contact Me!". This leads you to the message page.

Status Report - February 2nd 2001
It's 10 days after the relaunch; time for a little status report.

  • The overwhelming majority (80%) of the players did come back. I did not expect that - after six long weeks. Let me thank you once again!
  • The performance problems seem to have vanished. Please tell me if any "Server busy" or "Database connection" errors re-appear on your screen. The sooner I know, the sooner I may help.
  • Several errors have been reported, most of them are already corrected. As it seems, no catastrophies happened during the conversion process (I keep my fingers crossed).
  • The Grand Prix contest has been started for the year 2001. All players' GP points have been initially reset to zero.
  • The Game of the Month contest will be redesigned. Some interesting proposals can be found on the m4T_Alt_Linkmessage boards. More ideas are welcome.

Site performance - January 24th 2001
The site performance is still not good. However, the new system allows for many optimizations that are not yet implemented. I will do this in the following days.
Please be patient for a little while. Thanks!

Database technology - January 22nd 2001
The whole backend of the site has been reconstructed and now uses a MySql database. This should improve the site performance substantially.


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