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]).

###


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]


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


Sep 6 2010

In-Application Store launched in ChessCube V5.06

Sean

Hi Cubers!

Exciting news coming out of the ChessCube Labs today! With today’s launch of v5.06, you will now find our new in-application store – containing even more backgrounds to make your ChessCube interface more vibrant, plus fantastic chess piece sets to make your playing experience even more exciting.

ChessCube's in-application store

Together with the in-application store, you can also purchase Cubit bundles from within ChessCube. It’s now even simpler and easier to top up your Cubits balance, right from within ChessCube!

Get Cubits from within ChessCube!

We’re really excited to welcome you into the new in-application store, and hope you have fun personalizing your ChessCube experience.

See you soon!
The ChessCube Team


Aug 18 2010

ChessCube 5.04 update launched!

Sean

Hi Cubers!

We’re excited to let you know that ChessCube V5.04 has been launched, and with it comes a a few great updates:

Minimize your Friends Bar:

The Friends Bar can now be minimized at any time while on ChessCube. With the Friends Bar minimized, you still have access to the Tournaments, Watch, Play, Chat, Shop and Leaderboard buttons. You can also show the friends bar in its normal size at any time to see how your friends are progressing through the levels and ratings.

Choose to hide or show your Friends Bar

Bigger chessboard:

With your Friends Bar minimized, you can now play on the biggest chessboard we’ve ever had on ChessCube. When watching a live game in progress, sit back and enjoy an even bigger board in full screen mode!

Unified user and profile settings:

We’ve unified all your profile, interface, playing, and community settings in the new “Settings” box. To find this box, simply click on the cogwheel above the Tournament and Watch button.

We hope you enjoy this release!

Regards,
The ChessCube Team