Mar 11 2011

I’ve become a ChessCube Business Partner!


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, this way you can play klikkaa nähdäksesi after!

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 to get started.

ChessCube Community Manager

Feb 18 2011

ChessCube sponsors the 2011 Online Commonwealth Chess Championships



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. 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 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:
Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
Tournament website:
High Resolution Logo (PNG):

Contact information

ChessCube(Pty) Ltd.
Contact: Mark Levitt (CEO)
Office: +27 21 555 2019
[email protected]

About ChessCube

ChessCube ( 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]).


Feb 2 2011

ChessCube Community Update – February 2011


“I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.”
Blaise Pascal, 1656

Hi and welcome to my first Community Update of 2011!
To get things kicked off, I want to welcome all our new members since my last post, and to wish you well during your stay at ChessCube.

We’ve had a big past few months, launching Warzone Chess™ Tournaments, introducing our 2nd currency – ChessCube Crowns, and watching our users play 31,633,344 rated games in 2010 like Lokalavisen. We’re absolutely sure that this number will easily be doubled in 2011, check this site Tangkasnet it’s one of top rate games. As much as we’ve been updating our product with great new features, we’ve also been squashing out bugs and enhancing current functionality – ensuring we deliver the best possible chess playing experience to our users.

On the subject of the Community, we now have 1.3 million members with 145 Moderators across our 60+ live chat rooms. Should you be interested in joining the Moderator team, have a look at this forum post. We’re always looking for helpful and friendly users who are willing to join as Moderators – users who are passionate about ChessCube and its community as a whole. We’re also looking to expand our room list – so if your country currently does not have a room on ChessCube, read this post on how to secure your country room on our forum and on our live site. We also want to welcome KingsCrusher and his faithful YouTube followers to ChessCube, who are likely to be found discussing chess theory and current real world events in “KingsCrusher Cafe”, a new ChessCube chat room run by KingsCrusher himself!

The biggest announcement I would like to make in this post is about our new forum! That’s right, we’ve been hacking away and building a whole new, super awesome forum, just for you! Please drop by and introduce yourself. You’re welcome to read and post chess related messages, or chat in your own language with users in your own country via the country forums! We hope you enjoy using our new forum as much as we’ve had building it! We still have many more add-ons coming to the Forum – and remember, you can always send in your suggestions on what you features you would like to see both on and our new Forum by emailing [email protected] or by sending feedback from within the Cube.

So Cubers – for the year ahead, there are 2 words I would like you all to remember: Think Big! We’ve got some very fun and interesting projects lined up, including the much anticipated ChessCube Version 6, due out later this year. Remember, for all the latest news and product updates regarding ChessCube, be sure to join our 1800+ followers on Twitter, as well as our 30,000+ Fans on Facebook and our LinkedIn group!

I hope you enjoy our new forum and all other updates, and until the my next Community update – take care!

ChessCube Community Manager
[email protected]

Jan 22 2010

President Jacob Zuma supports South African chess


The Nkandla community in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, had a great day when SA President Jacob Zuma arrived to take part in a chess tournament between surrounding schools. Nonkulueko Sithole was thrilled to play President Zuma, even though the President checkmated her in fewer than 10 moves. “This is the best day of my life. I never thought I would ever sit this close to the President and play a game of chess with him,” said the 14 year old.

Zuma brings his Bishop into the game against Sithole

Zuma brings his Bishop into the game against Sithole

In an interview after the game with City Press, Zuma said, “Chess is very important as it makes you a better and knowledgeable human being. I like games like chess and bridge because they stretch your brain to the limit. They make you think strategically”. President Zuma also challenged local businesses to support the sport financially. “Next year we must host a fundraising dinner party for chess right in the hall,” he said.

Kwazulu Chess Association President Sandile Xulu, one of the tournament organisers, said chess gave “young people the opportunity to compete, regardless of race or social standing”. “It provides a field of ideas, concepts and strategy for young growing minds,” he said.  In an interview with ChessCube Community Manager, Sean, Xulu said that KwaZulu Chess’ aim is to take chess into all schools, as well as to introduce it as a sport. Future plans would then involve working with the Department of Education to consider it as a subject in school in Kwazulu-Natal and particularly rural areas and all of South Africa. “This is exactly what President Zuma and I shared and want to see happen.” said Xulu. Speaking of President Zumas’ desire to have all children take part in chess tournaments, Xulu noted, “This (the Nkandla tournament) was our “OPENING MOVE”, which we hope will get supported and start rolling”.

Sandile Xulu, President of the KZChess Association

Sandile Xulu, President of the KZChess Association

ChessCube supports President Zuma’s vision, and will be launching an online schools chess initiative in South Africa and other countries from early 2010. The South African government, a number of NGOs and large corporations are doing a great deal to improve Internet and computer services in schools. ChessCube will be working with all providers to ensure that schools in South Africa can connect to ChessCube’s classroom service.

“ChessCube will provide facilities for children to play chess online and to receive online video training”, explained Mark Levitt, ChessCube CEO. “The basic service will be free to all schools in South Africa, and we will be working with big business to sponsor additional opportunities for South African youth.”

ChessCube’s classroom service will be at the forefront of a modern trend to popularise chess. Along with Venezuela, which has recently included chess in it’s official school curriculum, ChessCube considers the personal and societal benefits of chess to be of immense value. What are these benefits precisely? David MacEnulty, a famed chess teacher (the subject of a movie “The Knights of the South Bronx”) had this to say in a recent exclusive interview with ChessCube:

“One of the things you learn from playing chess is how to control yourself. You learn to have delayed gratification. You learn tremendous discipline and above all you learn to trust your own judgment. Once a child learns that he or she is smart enough to play chess, there’s not going to be any holding them back from anything else.”

“The biggest benefits come when children actually sit down and play tournament chess. Once you’ve played tournament chess for a couple of years, major transformations take place in a child. The question of relying on your own judgment really comes out.”

“When the children on my chess team in the Bronx went to junior high school they were much better prepared than many of their peers. In fact, the Principal of the junior high school once told me that the chess kids seemed to be a different breed altogether. You can tell the chess kids from the way they walk down the hall – there’s just more confidence in the way they walk. There’s more confidence in the way they interact with the teachers in the classroom. They don’t get into trouble because one of things that chess teaches us is to see danger ahead of time.

“One of the things that’s overlooked frequently is the social component of being on a chess team or just learning to play chess. When children work together on a team, even though chess is one person against one person, whatever is good for anybody on the team is good for everybody on the team.”

“Now when one of the kids from a place such as where I taught in the South Bronx wins a game against a very privileged child, that changes everybody’s attitudes. The recognition, that there, on the other side of the board, is my intellectual equal, that’s an amazing transformation that happens on both sides of the board. I think that’s a really critical thing that we should introduce to society everywhere, not just South Africa.”

President Jacob Zuma contemplates his next move

President Jacob Zuma contemplates his next move


Times Live (Article)
City Press, 27 December 2009

Useful links
ChessCube Facebook Application:
ChessCube website:

Dec 23 2009

ChessCube Supports Chess Education in South Africa



ChessCube Supports Chess Education in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa – 23 December 2009. ChessCube, a South African based Internet Chess Company with an 800,000 membership, offers support to President Zuma’s recent initiatives to encourage South African youth to play chess.

Playing chess at school could lead to job creation. Mark Levitt, CEO and founder of ChessCube, says, “President Zuma noted that the sport of chess develops strategic thinking for school going children. It also aids the development of mathematic and languages skills. David Macenulty, a US-based chess coach, proved that inner city New York learners who studied chess at primary school went onto tertiary education far more than their peers. So great was his contribution to chess in schools that it inspired the Ted Danson film ‘Knights of the South Bronx’.”

Levitt explains the impact of chess now on the future jobs of South Africa’s youth: “Kids who play chess at primary school level tend to go onto tertiary education to secure and create employment for themselves and others. Chess plays an important role as one of the many initiatives to create a prosperous South Africa of growth, starting with the youth.”

ChessCube is launching an online schools chess initiative in South Africa and other countries from early 2010. The South African government, a number of NGOs and large corporates are doing a great deal to improve Internet and computer services in schools. ChessCube will be working with all providers to ensure that schools in South Africa can connect to ChessCube’s classroom service.

“ChessCube will provide facilities for children to play chess online and to receive online video training”, explained Levitt. “The basic service will be free to all schools in South Africa, and we will be working with big business to sponsor additional opportunities for South African youth.”

ChessCube recently raised R10m from Invenfin, the Venture Capital subsidiary of Remgro Ltd, a listed South African Company.

Useful links

ChessCube Facebook Application:
ChessCube website:

Contact information
ChessCube(Pty) Ltd.
Contact: Mark Levitt (CEO)
+27 82 389 3637
+27 21 555 2019
[email protected]

About ChessCube
ChessCube ( was launched in June 2007 from Cape Town headquarters. It has since grown to a community of over 800,000 avid chess players, and continues to grow. ChessCube is an innovative, and award-winning, live chess platform. Mark Levitt, founder and CEO of ChessCube, is four times South African Chess Champion, and many of ChessCube’s board members are avid, strong chess players themselves. ChessCube’s investors include Invenfin (the venture capital subsidiary of the Remgro Limited group) Vinny Lingham and Michael Leeman.

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

Nov 30 2009

Why the Internet is good for chess


As the London Chess Classic prepares to get underway, there is a growing interest in Chess in the UK. A recent article in the Telegraph (read it here: London Chess Classic: the chess set come to Britain – it’s worth it) comments on the stirrings of a growing popularity of chess clubs at schools around the UK, and renewed interest in chess in the UK in general.

As Marie Gallagher comments in the article: “there is a growing recognition that chess has an invaluable role to play in education. It is a brain-accelerator, like music.”

We couldn’t agree more, and were even more pleased to read the following in the article:

“Far from killing chess, the internet has given it a shot in the arm. As a spectator sport, chess has never made great television: the time taken between moves is too long. But on the internet, with chess fans around the world able to follow a match through online forums, a slow sport has suddenly become lightning-fast, with the merits of different moves sparking feverish debate.”

This seems almost like a description of ChessCube itself, with popular short games taking place between players from around the world, complete with frequent spectators and energetic comment from the ChessCube community. Chess may be a game of war, but it’s a game that pulls people together.

Image credit: hugrakka on Flickr

Nov 23 2009

ChessCube Launches Live Chess Application in Facebook


Cape Town, South Africa – 24 November 2009. ChessCube, the popular live chess platform, launches a live chess application in Facebook. Facebook users can add the application to their profile, and play with Facebook friends, ChessCube friends or any player on ChessCube.

ChessCube’s live chess application allows users to connect with even more players, and play live chess from within Facebook. With about 2,000 players online at any given time, anyone will be able to find a game at the right skill level.

There are several chess playing applications on Facebook, but very few of them offer live chess. The ones that offer live chess tend to have very few players online. ChessCube offers chess players of all levels a superlative experience with about 2,000 players online and a strong chess community. ChessCube also allows games to be played between all players, no matter whether they are using the Facebook application, or the website.

Mark Levitt, ChessCube CEO says: “We are very excited to launch our first Facebook Application. Facebook is a new way for chess players to connect with the vibrant ChessCube community.”

The ChessCube chess application may be found in Facebook’s app directory, or logged-in Facebook users can go to Existing ChessCube members can link their Facebook profile to their ChessCube profile, while new members can register with ChessCube.

ChessCube expects that this new application will add to their considerable user growth.

Useful links

ChessCube Facebook Application:
ChessCube website:
ChessCube blog:

Download News Release (pdf): ChessCube Launches Live Chess in Facebook

Oct 14 2009

ChessCube SA Open 2009 Report


In July 2009, ChessCube and CHESSA announced the first FIDE rated online matches. These were matches were played in the 2009 SA Open between players based in Melbourne, Australia and players based in Cape Town, South Africa. GM Amon Simutowe won the tournament.

ChessCube has recently released a report on the event for FIDE. The report summarises the key challenges and lessons from this chess world first, with the aim of encouraging increased online participation in chess tournaments. FIDE’s support for this venture, and in particular in rating these matches, demonstrates exciting possibilities in the world of chess.

This report and the player agreement are available for download. Click on the following links to download pdf versions of the report and player agreement. ChessCube SA Open 2009 Report (pdf). ChessCube SA Open 2009 Player Agreement for online matches (pdf).

Oct 5 2009

A commemoration of Karel Treybal


First, my profound apologies for the mispelling of Radjabov’s name in last week’s blog. Note to self -  haste makes waste.

Karel Treybal,

Karel Treybal,

On October 2, 1941, the Czech player and grandmaster Karel Treybal was shot in occupied Czechoslovakia as a suspected subversive for illegally stockpiling weapons. Considered one of the great Czech players from the turn of the century, he was executed by German occupation forces.

In the game below, Treybal defeats the reknowned grandmaster and raconteur Saviely Tartakower from the black side of a Scotch Game.

[Event "Teplitz Schoenau"]
[Site "Teplitz Schoenau"]
[Date "1922.10.09"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Tartakower, Saviely"]
[Black "Treybal, Karel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C45"]
[Annotator "Rybka 3 (30s)"]
[PlyCount "158"]
[EventDate "1922.10.02"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "CSR"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{C45: Scotch Game} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Be3 Qf6 6. c3  Nge7 7. Nc2 Bxe3 8. Nxe3 O-O 9. Be2 d6 (9… Qh4 10. Nd2 d6 11. O-O Kh8 12. g3 Qh6 13. f4 f5 14. Nd5 Nxd5 15. exd5 Ne7 16. Bf3 Bd7 17. Re1 Rfe8 18. Nc4 b5 19. Na5 Qf6 20. Qd3 Rab8 21. Re2 Ng8 22. Rae1 Rxe2 23. Rxe2 a6 24. Nb3 {Gosztola,I (2265)-Papagorasz,T (2255)/Hungary 1993/TD/1-0 (62)}) (9… Qg6 10. Bf3 d6 11. O-O Be6 12. Na3 a6 13. Nac2 Ne5 14. Nd4 Rad8 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Rfe8 17. Re1 Nxf3+ 18. Qxf3 Qg5 19. c4 Ng6 20. Qd3 Qxg2+ 21. Kxg2 Nf4+ 22. Kg3 Nxd3 23. Re2 Rxe2 24. Nxe2 {Chernova,M (2074)-Pokorna,R (2372)/Germany 2004/EXT 2006/0-1 (42)}) 10. O-O Qh6 $146 (10… Qg6 11. Nd2 Be6 (11… f5 12. exf5 Bxf5 13. Nf3 Be6 14. Nd4 Nxd4 15. Qxd4 Nf5 16. Nxf5 Qxf5 17. Bf3 d5 18. Rae1 c6 19. Re5 Qg6 20. Qe3 Bg4 21. Rg5 Rxf3 22. gxf3 {1-0 Dieckmann,D-Harder,A/Germany 1998/EXT 2001}) 12. f4 f5 13. Bd3 Rae8 14. Qc2 fxe4 15. Nxe4 Nf5 16. Ng5 Nxe3 17. Bxg6 Nxc2 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 19. Bxc2 Bf5 20. Bxf5 Rxf5 21. Rae1 Ref8 22. Ne6 R8f7 23. g4 Rd5 24. g5 g6 25. Rf2 {Brinckmann,A-Junge,K/Poland 1942/EXT 2001/1-0 (41)}) 11. Nd2 Kh8 12. f4 f5 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Ne7 15. Qb3 c5 16. Rae1 Ng8 17. Bd3 Rb8 18. a4 Nf6 19. Bb5 Qg6 20. Re3 Qf7 21. Rfe1 Qc7 22. Re7 Qd8 23. R7e3 a6 24. Bxa6 Ng4 25. R3e2 Bd7 26. Bb5 Bxb5 27. Qxb5 Nf6 28. Re6 Nxd5 29. Qc4 Nf6 30. Qd3 d5 31. R1e5 Ra8 32. b3 c4 33. Qd4 cxb3 34. Nxb3 Rc8 35. Rxf5 Rc4 36. Qe5 Re4 37. Qd6 Re1+ 38. Kf2 Ne4+ 39. Rxe4 Qxd6 40. Rxf8+ Qxf8 41. Rxe1 Qxf4+ 42. Kg1 h6 43. Nd4 Qd2 44. Nf3 Qxc3 45. Rd1 Qb3 46. Rd4 Kg8 47. h4 Kf7 48. Kh2 Ke6 49. h5 Kd6 50. Rg4 Qc3 51. Kg3 Kc5 52. Rf4 Qb2 53. Rg4 b6 54. Rf4 Qe2 55. Rg4 Qe8 56. Rh4 Qf7 57. Kh3 Qd7+ 58. Kg3 Qf5 59. Kh2 Qf7 60. Kg3 Qc7+ 61. Kh3 Qf7 62. Kg3 Qf5 63. Kh2 Kd6 64. Kg3 Kc7 65. Kh2 Kb7 66. Kg3 Ka6 67. Kh2 Ka5 68. Kg3 Qf7 69. Kh3 d4 70. Rxd4 Qxh5+ 71. Kg3 Qf5 72. Kf2 h5 73. Ke3 g5 74. Nd2 Qe5+ 75. Ne4 Qf4+ 76. Ke2 h4 77. Nd2 Qg3 78. Nc4+ Kxa4 79. Nxb6+ Kb5 (79… Kb5 $19) 0-1

“Lest we forget.”

Oct 2 2009

Carlsen – Radjabov Match Analysis


[Ed's note: we'll do a proper welcome soon, but we are very pleased to have John Jurgens blogging for us! This is his first post.]

The Carlsen vs Radjabov game bears a strong resemblance to a French Defence structure Kopec anti-Sicilian System. My friend and colleague Lefu Ntho has been scoring heavily with this system which is unfamiliar and very disconcerting to most Sicilian players. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of IM Danny Kopec’s discussion of the system (which can be found in ChessCube’s Shop).

I ran the recent Carlsen victory through Deep Rybka 3 (64 bit) and here is the analysis.

Carlsen – Radjabov

Pearl Spring

[Rybka 3 (30s)]

B30: Sicilian: 2…Nc6 3 Bb5, lines without …g6

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0–0 Nge7 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 Bb7 8.Qe2 d5 9.e5 d4 10.Be4 Qb6 11.d3 Rd8 12.a4 Nd5 13.axb5 axb5 14.cxd4 cxd4 15.Nbd2 Nf4 16.Qd1 Nb4N

Black threatens to win material: Nb4xd3

[16...Nd5 17.Nb3 Be7 18.Bd2 Ndb4 19.Qe2 0–0 20.Ng5 g6 21.Nxh7 Kxh7 22.Qh5+ Kg8 23.Bxg6 fxg6 24.Qxg6+ Kh8 25.Qh6+ Kg8 26.Qg6+ Kh8 27.Qh6+ Kg8 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Qh6+ ½–½ Pahud,C (2185)-Carron,J (2300)/Lausanne 2003/EXT 2004; 16...Ng6!?=]

17.Nb3² Bxe4 18.dxe4

d4 becomes the focus of attention


[18...Ng6 19.Nbxd4 Be7 20.Be3²]

19.Bg5 White threatens to win material: Bg5xd8

19…Rc8 20.Nfxd4 [Worse is 20.Nbxd4 Bc5 21.Bd2 Bxd4 (‹21...Nxb2 22.Qb3 N2d3 23.Be3±) 22.Nxd4 Qxd4 (‹22...Nxb2 23.Qb3 N4d3 24.Bc3±) 23.Bxb4 Qxb4 24.Qxd3 0–0=]

20…Nxb2 White has an active position. Black has a new passed pawn: b5

21.Qe2 Exerts pressure on the isolated pawn. White threatens to win material: Qe2xb2

21…Nc4 22.Rfc1 Bc5 [22...Qb8 23.Nxb5! Decoy: b5 23...Qxb5 24.Nd4 Qxe5 25.Rxc4±]

23.Nxb5 White has a strong king attack. [¹23.Nxc5 Qxc5 24.Be3±]

23…0–0?? [¹23...Bxf2+ was a good chance to save the game 24.Qxf2 Qxb5±]

24.Nxc5+- [24.Rxc4?! is clearly weaker 24...Qxb5 25.Kf1 Bb6 26.Rxc8 Qxe2+ 27.Kxe2 Rxc8±]

24…Nxe5 [24...Rxc5 is the last straw 25.Be7 Qxb5 26.Bxc5 Qxc5 27.Qxc4 Qxc4 28.Rxc4 Nd3+-]

25.Be7 1-0

[Updated to correct spelling - 5 October - Ed]