May 25 2011

Rating Category Tournaments

Jacques

It is often daunting to compete in a tournament with strong players. You may feel that you have no chance to win a prize against such opponents. One way to equalize the playing field is by adding handicaps. For example, giving stronger players less time, less pieces or less points gives their opponents a chance to cause an upset. However, handicaps also have a dark side.

Many strong players pretend to be weak – also known as “sandbagging” – so that they can gain a handicap advantage. That means they intentionally lose games in certain tournaments to lower their rating, while winning as much as possible in big prize tournaments. Even though we track and ban users for doing this it causes a negative perception of tournaments. This goes completely against the competitive spirit ChessCube wants to promote in tournaments. It also means that prizes could be going to undeserving players who abuse the system.

Enter Rating Categories.

Rating categories are a different way in which ChessCube is awarding prizes in tournaments. They are fairer and, more than ever, give anyone a chance to win. The idea is that while everyone competes together prizes are awarded to players in rating restricted categories. This means that a 1500 player is not competing against a 2500 for a prize, but against other players around 1500 strength.

How does it work?

Every tournament will have open prizes which will be awarded to the top places, no matter what the prize winner’s rating is. So even new players in their first tournament can compete for these prizes. Thereafter prizes are awarded to the top players in each rating category. For these prizes only players within the rating category will be considered. Even if you finish near the bottom of the tournament, out of contention for the open prizes, you still have a chance to win a rating category prize (depending on how the other players in your rating category performed). A player can only win one prize, so if you qualify for an open and a rating category prize you will get the biggest of the two and someone else will qualify for the other.

Let’s consider a practical example for a tournament with the following prizes:

  • Open prizes: 1st = $1000, 2nd = $750, 3rd = $500
  • Rating category 1800-2199: 1st = $400, 2nd = $350
  • Rating category 1500-1799: 1st = $200, 2nd = $150
  • Rating category 0-1499: 1st = $100, 2nd = $50

If you are a player with a rating of 1450 you have a chance to do great and win overall 1st and $1000. But even if you don’t you still have a chance to win the 0-1499 rating category prizes and get $100 or $50. On the other hand, if you are a 2500 rated player you are only competing for the open prizes (and you have a good chance to win them!). Note that you qualify for a rating category based on your start rating in the tournament.

In addition to rating categories ChessCube has also started a new initiative of verifying all prize winners in such tournaments. This assures players that the final prize winners got there fairly.

Now all players have an incentive to play and fight in every game. Enjoy playing against strong players and learn from them – get the experience which will make you a better player too. And know that whatever score you end on there is still a chance to win!

FIND A TOURNAMENT


May 25 2011

ChessCube VIP Membership

Jacques

In case you haven’t noticed, ChessCube has an exciting new membership called VIP. This replaces the previous premium membership which will no longer be for sale. Existing premium members will still receive all their current benefits but will no longer be able to extend their premium membership.

What are the benefits of VIP?

ChessCube has packaged a lot of the former premium benefits with some exciting new features:

Stand Out from the Crowd

  • Get preferential listing in rooms. This makes you more visible to your friends and other users.
  • Members-only badge & (new) player card. Show-off with some special effects.

Double XP Multiplier

  • Earn XP (experience points) at double rate. ChessCube is working on bringing additional benefits to users based on their XP level. So start earning more today!

Free Videos & Virtual Goods

  • Weekly streaming videos. Get free training videos inside the application – a new video is added every week!
  • Access to last 5 videos. Don’t worry if you’re running short of time as your videos will be available for a while.
  • Free limited edition virtual goods. Get 6 (new) exclusive free items which are not for sale anywhere else on ChessCube.

Exclusive Access & Features

  • Exclusive tournament access. Join tournaments which are only open to VIP and premium members to play.
  • Audio/video chat. Use the built in audio/video chat feature of ChessCube to interact with your friends.
  • Customized board colors. Make the board look the way you want.
  • Preset take-back & abort options. Tired of rejecting annoying requests during your game? Preset your response for all future opponents.

Valuable Game Data & Statistics

  • Full game history. Get access to all the games you have ever played on ChessCube!
  • Full game statistics. Delve deeper into your past performance.
  • (new) Get own games as email PGN. Get all your games sent to you via email in the PGN standard format.
  • (new) Daily ChessCube PGN game access. Download all the top games played on ChessCube and analyze them with your favorite program.
  • (new) Tournament report as email PGN. Get a full report and all games emailed to you after each tournament you play in (opt-in required on tournament entry).
  • (new) Other player game history. View all the games of any player on ChessCube.
  • (new) Other player game statistics. View the performance of any player on ChessCube.

You can compare all the benefits here. Last, but not least, by taking a VIP membership you are helping to support ChessCube and enabling us to keep improving and bringing you new features. Without your support this would not be possible!

What does it cost?

VIP membership is sold in two packages:

  • VIP Monthly gives you access to the above features for 1 month and costs 49 Crowns (about $5).
  • VIP Annual gives you a full year’s access and costs 399 Crowns (about $40 or $3.33 per month).

Unfortunately ChessCube can not accept Cubits as payment for VIP memberships as Cubits are gifted to users every day. You can still use your Cubits to enter tournaments, play wagering games, rent streaming videos inside the application and buy virtual goods (backgrounds, piece sets and soundpacks).

How can I become a VIP member?

You can become a member by following this link: http://www.chesscube.com/play/app/?quickBuyId=397&quickBuyType=membershipShopItem

After logging in the VIP window will show from where you can purchase a membership. Alternatively you can click on the left menu “Store” button and select “Buy VIP” in the store. If you are already a VIP member your membership expiry date will also be shown on the VIP window.

We hope you enjoy ChessCube VIP membership!


May 23 2011

The Chess.co.uk Open

Jacques

ChessCube, the world leader in online chess tournaments, is proud to bring you another great event in cooperation with our partners at Chess.co.uk.

This weekend ChessCube will host The Chess.co.uk Open tournament. A total of $1,000 in prizes will be up for grabs, with prizes awarded to winners in several rating categories.

The main event will take place on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 18:00 GMT. Anyone may enter the final directly or can play in qualifier events throughout the weekend (27-29 May) to win free entry into the final.

Prizes will be awarded as coupons, which can be redeemed at chess.co.uk for real-world chess goods which can be shipped anywhere in the world. The top 5 players in each of the following groups will receive prizes:

Open (all players qualify to win these prizes)

  1. £100
  2. £70
  3. £50
  4. £40
  5. £35

Rating 2000-2299 (only players who start the tournament in this rating range qualify to win these prizes)

  1. £30
  2. £25
  3. £20
  4. £15
  5. £10

Rating 1800-1999

  1. £25
  2. £20
  3. £15
  4. £10
  5. £5

Rating 1600-1799

  1. £20
  2. £15
  3. £10
  4. £5
  5. £5

Rating 1400-1599

  1. £15
  2. £10
  3. £5
  4. £5
  5. £5

Rating 0-1399

  1. £10
  2. £5
  3. £5
  4. £5
  5. £5

All prize winners will be verified by ChessCube. The final results will be posted and the winners notified within 24 hours of the completion of the final. Please contact [email protected] for more information or visit our forum.

Chess.co.uk is proud to sponsor tournaments on ChessCube. Based in London, chess.co.uk has been one of Europe’s leading chess suppliers since 1992. Check out our latest and greatest offers on chess books, equipment, videos and software – we ship worldwide and accept all major credit/debit cards as well as PayPal.


Apr 5 2011

Mobile payments now possible on ChessCube

Jacques

Mobile Payments by Zong

Courtesy of Zong you can now buy Cubits and Crowns with your mobile phone. Zong has been around for 10 years and operates in over 40 countries worldwide, with 100% carrier coverage in most countries. Enjoy a fast, safe & secure shopping experience using your mobile phone!

To buy using your mobile phone follow these simple steps:

1. Click on the “+ Buy” button at the top of the screen.
Buy button

2. Choose “Mobile” from the list of payment options and click on Continue.
Payment options

3. Choose the Cubit or Crown bundle you want to buy and click on Continue.
Bundle options

4. Choose your carrier and enter your mobile number to receive a secret code. When you are done click on Continue – the secret code is now being sent to your mobile phone.
Payment screen 1

5. Enter the secret code you received in the form. To complete the purchase click on Continue. The charge will appear on your mobile phone bill. (In some countries you will instead be asked to reply to the text message to confirm payment.)
Payment screen 2

For more information you can visit the Zong help page or email [email protected]


Apr 5 2011

Use your f-pawn

Jacques

We have recently added two new chess training videos, both featuring openings where White makes early use of the f-pawn. These openings are slightly unusual but have at least two advantages for the casual players. First, you’ll be more familiar with the positions than your opponents and have a good chance to outplay them. Second, a mistake in defense can quickly lead to a winning attack for White.

Grand Prix Attack

Grand Prix Attack

In the first video International Master Andrew Martin advocates playing the Grand Prix Attack against the Sicilian Defense. This puts pressure on Black from the outset and contains a lot of poison – a vicious king-side attack often defeats Black.

A great benefit is that this is an easy-to-learn opening which avoids memorizing a lot of moves to counter the Sicilian Defense. There is also something for Black players – a good defensive system is shown against the “premature” 2.f4. For users who want even more there is also the Foxy video on The f4 Sicilian by Grandmaster James Plaskett.

Bird's Opening

Bird's Opening

Next International Master Andrew Martin presents coverage on the unusual Bird’s Opening, which starts with 1.f4. This will appeal to original players who like positions with little theory from where they can outplay their opponent.

Arguably the openings greatest exponent was Grandmaster Bent Larsen, one of the strongest players of his generation. This video will show you how to handle the unusual positions and play an interesting game with good chances of a win.

These videos can be purchased in our web shop for download and offline viewing using our free ChessCube Cinema application. Remember that you also get some great free videos with your ChessCube Cinema download!

Alternatively you can rent them inside ChessCube for instant streaming video and a great deal on the price. After logging in just click on the store menu icon and jump to the video tab.

More info:
General Guide to the Opening: f4 against the Sicilian by IM Andrew Martin
General Guide to the Opening: Bird’s Opening by IM Andrew Martin


Mar 14 2011

Warzone Chess tournaments: Anyone can win

Jacques

Warzone Chess™ ushers in a new era of chess tournaments. Instead of the normal slow and steady round-based tournaments, Warzone Chess is fast paced and action-packed, with a new game starting as soon the previous game ends. The aim is to score as many points as quickly as possible, with the highest overall score winning.

It is generally accepted that stronger players win tournaments, however in Warzone Chess it’s a free-for-all, where anyone can win. How is this possible you ask? Well there is a unique live handicap system which is in place for every tournament. The handicap system gives lower-rated players an advantage over higher-rated ones, with chess ratings used to calculate how much of a handicap will be given.

Each Warzone Chess tournament has the option of having handicaps enabled, which evens-up the rating gap between players:

  • Time handicap. A lower-rated player will start with a larger amount of the total game time, while a higher-rated player will have less time at the start of the game.
  • Position handicap. A lower-rated player will be given a positional advantage at the start of the game. For example, the stronger player may have to start the game without their queen.
  • Points handicap. Lower-rated players will be rewarded with more points if they win against a higher-rated player.  For example: a lower-rated player may gain 100 points for beating a stronger player, while not losing any points for being defeated. This gives you every reason to fight for the win.

You can see which handicaps have been enabled in a Warzone Chess tournament by looking at the tournament info on the right of the tournament window. Hover over the info icon to the right for additional information.

Warzone Chess handicaps


Mar 11 2011

I’ve become a ChessCube Business Partner!

Sean

ChessCube has launched a great new service that offers you as a chess player, chess blogger, coach, retailer, club operator and so forth the ability to have their own branded chess application on their website, for free. As ChessCube’s Community Manager, I’ve been watching the project develop and grow over time, and was massively excited when the email announcing the ChessCube Business Partner offer was sent to our user base as well as external coaches. From all accounts the feedback and interest has been wonderful thus far!

Wanting a piece of the action myself, I went ahead and signed up to become a Business Partner. Setting ChessCube up on my private blog was extremely easy. Even as an end-user with fairly minimal knowledge of HTML coding, I was able to embed the website onto my own private site in less than 3 minutes. Registration with ChessCube took less than 1 minute, pasting the code given to me by ChessCube into my webpage took seconds, and uploading the new web page to my server took all of 1 minute. And that’s it, I refreshed my page, and there it was – a great chess site running on my own personal blog. Installing ChessCube vs writing a blog post on my site: Writing a blog post with Tumblr is harder, and takes longer. ChessCube makes setting their site up easy, and can be done in quicker than most can finish a blitz chess game!

ChessCube running on my own private blog

The features of the ‘Powered by ChessCube’ solution:

  • A branded chess application for your website
  • Offer private rooms for your users to meet & chat
  • Run your own private or public online tournaments
  • Generate ongoing revenue

Find out how easy becoming a ChessCube Business Partner is for yourself. Head over to http://www.chesscube.com/b2b to get started.

Regards,
Sean
ChessCube Community Manager


Feb 24 2011

Flash Player 10.2 Bug Resolved by ChessCube

Sean

Flash 10.2 is a key part of the Adobe move towards a faster lightweight flash that leverages hardware acceleration. Early indications are that performance is massively enhanced. Flash is also on a critical path to get onto Android and other devices. This is something we at ChessCube are very excited about and support.

Immediately after the release of Flash Player 10.2, ChessCube noticed that users’ Adobe plug-in was crashing. It was particularly bad for our Chrome browser customers as Chrome automatically updates users to the latest version of Flash under the hood.

The diagram below shows the time online of people on our website. Some of our users play online and that is the part that uses Flash.

Just after the first week we can see a divergence of Chrome users as they start to spend less and less time on our site compared to the other browsers, who are, we are certain, on Flash 10.1.

The diagram above shows the length of time users spend online within specific versions of Adobe.

At first we assumed that there were changes to the Adobe system that were not backward compatible. Comprehensive searching on the Internet uncovered that other sites were having issues, but most were not. There were some who advised switching off hardware acceleration on the client – although this has no effect for our users.

The ChessCube tech team embarked on an internal project to replicate the crashed browser in the smallest amount of code and then to see if we could work around the error in Flash 10.2. Download the code here.

Ultimately our team realized that the cause of our crashing was very obscure. It is related to the use of a specific combination of rest arguments and the switch-case statement.

We added a simple try-catch element and, for magical reasons, this prevents the Adobe Plug-in Crash. We released our new version on 23 February, and immediately we see that Flash 10.2 is now working beautifully for ChessCube users.

Feel free to distribute our code to any website that is having a similar problem.


Feb 18 2011

ChessCube sponsors the 2011 Online Commonwealth Chess Championships

Sean

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ChessCube sponsors the 2011 Online Commonwealth Chess Championships

Cape Town, South Africa – 18 February 2011

ChessCube, the world leader in online chess tournaments, with over 20,000 tournaments and 5 million games played per month, will partner with the organizers of the 2011 Commonwealth Chess Championships. ChessCube.com will run an online pre-event where three lucky winners will gain free entry, free accommodation at the venue’s Peermont Mondior hotel, as well as $1,500 in cash towards their flights and other expenses.

Graham Jurgensen, the convenor of the 2011 Commonwealth & South African Open Chess Championships, which will be held in Johannesburg South Africa from June 25th through July 3rd, said: “We are very excited to be partnering with ChessCube on this world-first online event. The real-world event will be held at the beautiful Emperors Palace Hotel Casino & Convention Resort, and the online event will give three lucky participants free entry and accommodation as well as expenses.”

The online tournament series is aimed at three groups: above 2000 players, 1700 to 2000 and below 1700 rated players. Each series will have a round robin final with eight finalists in each.

“Anyone in the world can enter the online event”, said ChessCube CEO Mark Levitt. “The Commonwealth Championships will be held in conjunction with the South African Open – and players who are not from commonwealth countries are still eligible for all cash prizes”. We are expecting a massive turnout for this online event and we would not be surprised if this breaks all known online tournament world records.”

ChessCube also sponsored the 2009 South African Open, where titled players participated from a second venue in Melbourne, Australia via www.ChessCube.com. This event made world chess history when FIDE, the world chess federation, worked with ChessCube to ensure that the Internet games, were officially rated, setting a precedent that could see tournaments using this technology in the future.

Useful links

ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChessCube
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ChessCube
Tournament website: http://www.chessa.co.za/tournament_websites/CWCC2011/index.html
High Resolution Logo (PNG): http://www.chesscube.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ChessCubeLogo.png

Contact information

ChessCube(Pty) Ltd.
Contact: Mark Levitt (CEO)
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=7230957&trk=tab_pro
Office: +27 21 555 2019
[email protected]

About ChessCube

ChessCube (www.chesscube.com) was launched in May 2007 from its Cape Town headquarters. It has since grown into a community of over 1.4m avid chess players, and continues to grow at a rapid pace. ChessCube is an innovative, live chess platform, focused on online tournaments and live playing within a social community. Mark Levitt, founder and CEO of ChessCube, is four times South African Chess Champion. ChessCube’s investors include InVenfin, Vinny Lingham and Michael Leeman.

For more information or images, please contact Mark Levitt ([email protected]).

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Oct 1 2010

Great New Improvements in ChessCube V5.09

Sean

Hi Cubers!

We’ve launched ChessCube V5.09, and we have been listening to the feedback from our community – and this release offers great improvements:

  • ‘Sit & Go’ tournaments: These start as soon as enough people have entered – no more waiting around!
  • New tournament list: This makes it even easier to find an exciting event to play.
  • Play rated games for 0 Cubits: That’s right – rated games are now free!
  • Wagering amounts: These have been amended to reflect the most popular values.
  • Improved level system: It’s now even easier to unlock the full ChessCube experience. More Info

The all new Tournament List out with ChessCube V5.09, including Sit & Go Tournaments

We hope you enjoy these great improvements, and look forward to hearing your feedback.

Best Regards,
The ChessCube Team