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]).

###


Feb 2 2011

ChessCube Community Update – February 2011

Sean

“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. We’re absolutely sure that this number will easily be doubled in 2011. 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 ChessCube.com 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!

Sean
ChessCube Community Manager
[email protected]


Aug 11 2010

ChessCube launches Version 5!

admin

Dear Cubers,

Today we launched the brand new ChessCube Version 5, which keeps all your old favourite features – but adds a whole lot more:

A faster snappier simpler ChessCube with better server performance:

  • Version 5 uses less system memory and speeds up all the controls to make it snappier and zippier.
  • The menu items have moved from the top left to the bottom right of the ‘Friends bar’.
  • The ‘Draw’, ‘Resign’, ‘Abort’, ‘Flip-board’ and ‘Copy-PGN’ buttons have all changed to simpler mini-buttons, now located below the material balance section on the left.

ChessCube V5

Earn experience points (XP)

You get XP for actions, such as playing rated games or tournaments, beating stronger players, inviting friends to ChessCube, and many more. At certain XP values you move to new levels to unlock more features. See our Forum for more details.

Making ChessCube more fun and social, to grow our community:

See all your ChessCube friends in a new control at the bottom of the screen. You can sort by ‘General rating’, ‘Tournament rating’, or ‘ChessCube level’ to compare yourself to your friends.

The ‘Friends bar’ also makes it easier to add friends from Facebook, or sending them an email invite. Spread the word – and in fact you can earn a whole lot of extra cubits for doing just that!

In-application Cubit store (coming in a few days):

Our old website store was hard to find, but now you can buy fun items with your Cubits at the click of a button directly inside our new in-application store.

Have fun with ChessCube version 5 and let us know what you think!

All the best,

Mark Levitt
CEO ChessCube


Jan 22 2010

President Jacob Zuma supports South African chess

Sean

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

Sources:

Times Live (Article)
City Press, 27 December 2009

Useful links
ChessCube Facebook Application: http://apps.facebook.com/chesscube/
ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com


Dec 23 2009

ChessCube Supports Chess Education in South Africa

admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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: http://apps.facebook.com/chesscube/
ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com

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

About ChessCube
ChessCube (www.chesscube.com) 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]).


Dec 7 2009

ChessCube CEO Mark Levitt in Entrepreneur Magazine

admin

Mark Levitt, founder and CEO of ChessCube, is in December issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. Go get your copy and turn right away to page 15!

Or, take a quick read of the scanned version included with this post.

Some highlights:

  • ChessCube now has over 750,00 users!
  • Mark has over 100 chess titles (which is why I don’t ever challenge him)
  • ChessCube Premium tracks a player’s online activity and provides detailed feedback

Mark Levitt of ChessCube in Entrepreneur Magazine

Mark Levitt of ChessCube in Entrepreneur Magazine


Nov 23 2009

ChessCube Launches Live Chess Application in Facebook

admin

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 http://apps.facebook.com/chesscube/. 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: http://apps.facebook.com/chesscube/
ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com
ChessCube blog: www.www.chesscube.com/blog

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


Oct 14 2009

ChessCube SA Open 2009 Report

admin

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).


Aug 10 2009

Online Chess Business ChessCube Receives VC Funding

admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Online Chess Business ChessCube Receives VC Funding

Cape Town, South Africa – 10 August 2009.  ChessCube has concluded a US$1.25m funding agreement with Venture Capital fund, InVenFin (Pty) Ltd. InVenFin, the VC-focused subsidiary of VenFin Limited, invests in intellectual property-based start-ups with global potential. This transaction brings ChessCube’s total funding to date to US$1.8m.

ChessCube is an online chess site, which allows players of all skill levels to compete and learn chess, while socializing with others. With a potential market of over fifty million active chess players in the world, ChessCube.com has already attracted over 650,000 registered users across 207 countries – making it one of the leaders in the growing online chess market.

Mark Levitt, CEO and founder of ChessCube says, “We are delighted to have InVenFin on board as our partner. Over and above the valuable capital injection, InVenFin gives us access to an international business network, and their team of experts in branding, product strategy, intellectual property management and corporate structuring. This investment allows ChessCube to focus on establishing itself as the world leader in online chess.”

InVenFin’s Stuart Gast says, “ChessCube’s innovative product offering has impressed us, along with the strong team led by Mark.  The social gaming space is growing rapidly worldwide, and we believe ChessCube represents an excellent entrance for us into this world.  We look forward to assisting ChessCube achieve its aspirations.”

Vinny Lingham, CEO of San Francisco-based Yola.com, was an early investor in ChessCube. “As a keen chess player myself, it is particularly exciting to be part of an innovative chess venture,” said Lingham. “This investment by InVenFin further highlights the potential of Cape Town as the technology hub of Africa – which I like to dub Silicon Cape. ChessCube has enormous potential to dominate the massive global chess players’ market.”

The partnership between ChessCube.com and InVenfin will allow ChessCube.com to become the most recognized and loved online brand for chess enthusiasts.

ChessCube enables all levels of chess players to play live chess against other like-minded players, in various forms of the game. The focus at ChessCube.com is enjoying the game of chess in a positive and fun environment.

ChessCube.com also offers interactive chess videos written by international grandmasters. Unlike DVDs, these videos interact with each user, offering them personalised instruction – an outstanding innovation that earned ChessCube a Semi-final placing in the 2008 Adobe Max Awards in San Francisco.

World history was recently made by ChessCube when, during its recent sponsorship of the 2009 South African Open, along with the 400 participants at a Cape Town venue, for the first time in history three grandmasters and masters participated from a second venue in Melbourne, Australia. FIDE, the world chess federation, worked with ChessCube to ensure that the games, which were played across the Internet, were officially rated, setting a new precedent that could see tournaments using this technology in the future.

ChessCube continues to innovate and build on its award-winning chess playing platform from its Cape Town headquarters.

Useful links

ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com
ChessCube blog: www.www.chesscube.com/blog

Downloads

Download .doc version of release
Download ChessCube logo (.png)

Contact information

ChessCube(Pty) Ltd.
Contact: Mark Levitt (CEO)
+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 650,000 avid chess players, and continues to grow at a rapid pace. ChessCube is an innovative, live chess platform, allowing competition and education 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]) or Sarah Blake ([email protected]).