European Championship – without the expense

10/29/2003 – You are a grandmaster and want to win $2,400 – but without leaving your house? Do you want to play in an exciting chess tournament without the hotel and travel expenses? Meet interesting new people? This is exactly what the First European Internet Championship has to offer. We bring you all the necessary intructions in an open letter to enterprising European GMs...

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Dear Grandmaster

We would like to help you configure a Playchess.com (Fritz server) account, step by step. This is how you go about it:

  1. First of all you should install Fritz 8 or one of the "compatibles" (Shredder 7, Junior 8, Hiarcs 9). If you do not have any of these you can download a free access client at the Playchess.com page.

  2. When you enter the playchess.com server you may be prompted to upgrade your Playchess client. If you are, simply allow the program to upgrade itself.

  3. In order to log in to the Playchess.com server properly you will need a "handle" (you can also explore a little as a "guest", but you will have no privileges). Choose your handle carefully, you have to live with it for a long time. It is best to use your real name, because you may want to play paid simultaneous exhibitions, give lessons and training or otherwise offer services in the future.

  4. If you have an official FIDE GM or WGM title please contact us, so we can set your status to "GM". After this a king symbol will appear before the name in the lists, and you will have a lot of additional privileges. To prove that you are a GM you can phone someone at ChessBase who knows you personally or fax us a copy of your passport or ID. This measure is necessary to prevent amateurs from pretending to be a GMs.

If you need instructions setting up an account you can get it by pressing F1 (Help) and going through the instructions for the Playchess server:

Playing your first games

When you enter the server you will probably be taken to the to the beginners’ room, because your Elo is still non-existent. Click on “Main playing hall” to get to the big boys. Click on the “Players” tab at the top of the window to the left. Click on "Blitz" to find the strongest blitz players present in the room.

When you play on the server you should avoid strong players who have a pawn ranking. In the above picture, for example, you can against zayats, AlexanderG, Magnum, Schurick or Fedkopv. Maybe even hawkeye, but at your own risk: this man is the world's strongest bullet chess player!

However you should be careful about playing against Killerboy. Strong pawns are suspicious: why have they not progressed to a higher rank in spite of their rating? Rooks and higher have spent a lot of time earning their credentials. They will generally be fair and polite because they are afraid of spoiling their status.

Chat filters

When you start playing on the server as a GM you will probably be addressed and challenged quite frequently. Before you start playing you should do a couple of important things, to make your life easier. The first is to set an auto response for the chat. You do this by clicking “Tools – Options – Chat”. This is what you should approximately enter:

Note that the first option should only be activated if you plan to leave the computer for a while, or if you are chatting with somebody and don’t want anyone else to butt in. The second is standard for a game.

The third option is the most important. The above setting makes it impossible for lower-ranked visitors (below bishop) to address you directly. If too many people talk to you set it to Rook, if you get totally ignored and are feeling lonely go down to Knight.

Ignore, evaluate

If someone annoys you (which is much more seldom than on other servers) simply right-click his name in the players list and use "Edit – Ignore" to prevent him from talking to you again. You can also use "Edit – Evaluate player" and give him good or bad karma points. If someone is misbehaving in the chat window right-click that and use "Report" to send it to the admins.

Formula

The next thing to do before starting is to set the “Formula” at the bottom of the Challenge window.

Here you have some interesting options, but you will have to pay attention for a moment.

In the above example you have specified that you only want to play rated games against players (but not computers or "Centaur" man + machine teams) of 2200 or higher, at a rate of 3-5 minutes with up to 10 seconds of increment. You are only willing to play against someone who has the rank of Bishop or higher. The formula will filter incoming challenges.

  • “Min. Ducats to override Elo” specifies how many ducats someone below Elo 2200 must pay for the privilege of playing against you.

  • “Activate” is used to switch the formula filter on or off.

Once you have done all of the above you are set to go. You may also want to read about the ducat payment system.

Payment system for GMs and VIPs

In general GMs or VIPs will automatically receive payments from the Playchess.com server. The ducats are transferred to your account whenever you play a game on the server. The exact amount depends on your strength, that of your opponent, the number of spectators and whether you win, draw or lose. The higher the rating of your opponent, the more ducats you will get. Winning will earn you more ducats than drawing or losing. However the game must be at least 15 moves long. You will also receive a premium if you play another GM or there are many spectators in your game.

Note that these automatic payments by the server will be made independent of what you may have wagered or negotiated with your opponent. The exact amount may vary, but it will be announced in the chat window after each game. You can also use Edit – Payments – View account to see how much you have earned so far.

Have fun, take the plunge, play in the First European Internet Championship!


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