Monstra mihi pecuniam!

5/23/2003 – That's Latin for Show me the money! We are talking about "Ducats", the virtual currency used on the Playchess.com server. You can get ducats in the ChessBase shop or win them in games and tournaments. Then you can use them to buy ChessBase products or pay for grandmaster training. Read all about the exciting new possibilities for online chess players.

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Ducats for Chess

There are a number of monetary transactions that you can undertake on the Playchess.com server. For instance you may pay for the privilege of playing against a grandmaster, or in a simultaneous exhibition, or for a private lesson by a chess trainer.

"Ducats" are the currency of the Playchess server. The word is pronounced "Duck-it" (click to hear), and it rhymes approximately with "bucket". You can purchase ducats in the ChessBase Shop, or you can earn them from other visitors. It is even possible to win ducats in tournaments or other events on the server.

You can also get to the ducats filling station directly from your Fritz program, using the Menu Edit – Payments – Fill up account. For 10 Euros or $11.50 you can buy 100 ducats. Another way of getting ducats is to take part in tournaments on the Playchess.com server. All prizes there are paid out in ducats.

You can always check your ducat account by clicking Edit – Payments – View account. Your account is maintained on the Playchess server, and every time you gain or spend ducats you will see that the amount changes in the above display.

How do you play for ducats in normal games on the Playchess.com server? This is done in the regular "Challenge" menu. Click on the "Ducats" tab and you will get the offer screen. It will take you a few seconds to understand how it works, but you will soon discover that it is wonderfully flexible.

In the above example a (presumably strong) player is asking for a flat fee of 10 ducats for a game. At the same time the stake is 5 ducats. The Fritz client automatically displays what the challenger will get for winning (flat fee plus stake = 15 ducats), drawing (just the flat fee = 10 ducats) and losing (flat fee minus stake = 5 ducats).

Naturally normal players will not ask for a flat fee but simply play for the stake. Note that this is restricted to a maximum 5 ducats per game. Also please note that you may only play for ducats if the laws of your country or state do not forbid playing for prize money.

What do you make of the following offer?

Looks mysterious at first, doesn't it – asking for a flat fee of minus 20 ducats. But it makes a lot of sense when you consider that this may be a normal player offering to pay for a game. Naturally the challenge will have to be defined in the "Formula" which is at the bottom of the "Challenges" section:

When you click "Formula" you get the following dialog:

Note that the challenger here wants to play only against opponents who have the rank of King, i.e. they must be certified Grandmasters, with a Playchess rating of over 2500. The time controls are 5 – 10 minutes per game. Note that the "Ducats" checkbox must be active for a ducat challenge to be issued.

Now you should understand what the player with the negative flat fee is doing. With the formula defined as above he is requesting a game against a grandmaster and is willing to pay a flat fee of 20 ducats ($2.30). If a certified GM takes up the challenge he stands to win 25 ducats, or at least get 15 if he loses to the amateur.

People can also actively offer services in return for ducats on the Playchess server. In the above example a GM is offering to play for ducats or give personal online lessons at a rate of 250 Ducats an hour.

So what else can you do with ducats, the ones you have bought or won in games and tournaments? Well, simply purchase software or other products in the ChessBase Shop.

If you pay for software in ducats you will still have to give your credit card number to cover the amount (in case you lose it all on the server before the order can be completed). However if your ducat account has enough to cover the bill nothing will be deducted from your credit card.

So, if you plan to use our products, and if you are a regular visitor to the Playchess server, why don't you go to the ChessBase Shop and fill up on some ducats. There are loads of nice things you can do with them.

To be continued...


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