Tuesday, December 18, 2007

online chess?

Just thought I'd throw this out there in case someone finds this post while doing a search for "online chess" or some other similar search string.
I've been a big fan of yahoo chess for many years, there for a while I've played a few games during lunch break on an almost daily basis. Well, I don't know if I'm just more tuned in to it now or what but yahoo chess has really gone down hill. There are two things that really drag it down... spammers and bots. For some reason yahoo is incapable of monitoring its chess rooms to weed out the bots. Bots are "users" that have a yahoo id, but in fact they are not users are all but automated programs that usually do one of two things... spam porn sites to the forums, or simply scrape user id's from the chess rooms to that later they can send spam to the user id. I mean all it would take is a yahoo employee to visit one of the chess rooms to find these guys who violate the terms of service. It's really obvious who these spam bots are. I've tried reporting them too all to no avail. Yahoo just doesn't care that a few bad apples can ruin one of there services.
The second thing (which may or may not be connected with another type of spam-bot), are users who start up a table, then just sit there and don't do anything. I spent so much time looking for a game, by dropping into a room, sitting at the table, then waiting to see if there is actually someone there or not. Why can't yahoo put some sort of timer on an empty table to force people to either join a different table, or simply click a button otherwise they get booted from the game. Oh, and again, maybe it's me, but it seems yahoo chess really brings out the worst in people. I've met some REAL JERKS on there on what seems to be a regular basis. It always amazes me too, because I would have assumed that chess attracts people of lets say a certain mindset (It's called the game of kings) but there are some real ignorant people on there. Really frustrating.
So I've been searching for a new home to play online chess. The best one I've found so far (which also has a few downsides) is a place called gameknot.com. It's designed more for people who wish to play long term games via email. They also offer something called "blitz chess" which is for people like myself. We just want to sign on, play a quick game or two then leave. But gameknot has a few flaws... no ratings! No option to set a different time limit, each game is 10 minutes. No option for a rematch (I've met a few players who are nice, and wanted to replay them in a rematch, but there is no option to do that). Perhaps worse of all, no ability to force a draw by the three move rule.
But at this point, I'm enjoying gameknot much more than Yahoo at this point.
But the main reason I'm posting this is to see if anyone out there on the intertubes can leave me a comment for other online chess websites they recommend. Key point... it must be FREE.

[ UPDATE (8/29/08): Someone Anon posted a comment to my post here today (thanks!) about yahoo chess continuing to be a muck of spammers and bots... I thought I should update this post to let others know I've found a MUCH better alternative... Chess.com! It is free to join, though there are paid subscriptions available, so far, I see no need to pay at this point. Their 'blitz chess' is still in beta so some are having problems with disconnects, but (knock on silicon) I've not had one disconnect. I've met a few jerks already, but most of the time, people are either friendly or civil. It looks like a really good website as well. Lots of learning stuff, blogs, news updates in the chess world, videos, tournaments, etc... I have been enjoying the daily 'puzzle' as well. So, if you have not found a place online yet for chess, I highly recommend chess.com.
OH AND... Their chat rooms are MODERATED! ]


Anonymous said...

Good post. EVERY SINGLE ROOM on Yahoo Chess is filled with spam... here's what's playing right now

"brantgoodman99: hey guys come watch me on my Webcam jennysboobs com
brantgoodman99: hey guys come watch me on my Webcam jennysboobs com
brantgoodman99: hey guys come watch me on my Webcam jennysboobs com
arzt_faust: table 65
arzt_faust: table 124
brantgoodman99: hey guys come watch me on my Webcam jennysboobs com"

And yes, there are a lot of jerks on Yahoo chess. Most are probably kids finding their way, or adults with issues.

tom said...

One should go on yahoo for the chess not that chat.As for the jerks they seem to have subsided. I see a jerk maybe once a month. It used to be twice a week.