Time to get started – with Playchess version 5

5/3/2010 – It’s here, and it’s better than ever: the new, free-for-download Playchess program brings all the special perks that only owners of the latest Fritz 12 previously enjoyed, as well as access to the numerous special options. Today we show you how to watch and play games. Download the Playchess software now and go through part two of our introductory instructions.

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Playchess Version 5

Once you have created your account and logged in, you'll want no doubt want to immediately jump in to the action and check out the main features or simply play a game. This tutorial will give a quick overview of how to watch or play a game. Bear in mind this is only intended to be a quick-start guide, and not a full manual.

Upon entering Playchess with your account for the first time, you'll be presented with a view of the main lobby that may seem a tad confusing at first, but one that will soon become second-nature.

1. Playchess layout

At the top you of the new Playchess software, you have the significantly improved toolbar, with notably a few new buttons: Best Game, Real World Games, and Listen to Radio.

Best Game is a neat new feature, so that if instead of playing you would rather just watch a top blitz game, clicking on it will immediately open the strongest game currently being played.
Real World Games will instead take you to the Broadcast room to open up the latest top game being broadcast live, or the most recently played, if there are none.
Listen to Radio (only for Premium subscribers) will instantly take you to the latest mutimedia broadcast, whether live or previously recorded.

The next important thing to know about the layout of Playchess, if you are new to it, is the room system. At the bottom right, there is a list of names with numbers in parentheses. The names are the specific rooms, and the numbers are the number of users actually in that specific area.

For example, within the Play and Watch area at the top, there are four separate playing areas, and this is where you would play a game against another player or watch a game being played. If you were to click on Broadcasts, you would be able to see the latest games being played in events around the world, matches, international tournaments or top league play which can include the very best players. This particular tutorial will focus on playing or watching games.

The Main Playing Hall is where the bulk of the action takes place, though if you are just starting in chess and would prefer a less bloodthirsty area, you may want to go to the Café, or even the Beginners room.

2. Who is online

If you click on the Players tab, you can then see who is connected at that moment, and if one clicks on the little Blitz column, it will reorder it to show the players in by order of rating. At this particular moment, one can see that Snoop Dogg, a GM, is online and currently in a game (Status: Playing).

Before seeing his game, let's see who Snoop Dogg really is. By right-clicking his name, and then selecting Picture...

we open his profile and learn that this is in fact GM Giorgi Margvelashvili, who is not only a fan of the rapper Snoop Dogg, but also a fan of Chloe, from the TV series 24.

Excellent, now let's see him in action.

3. Watching a game

To see his game, all we need to do is double-click on his name. In fact, after we do this, once his game is over, if he starts another, we'll automatically see it, so you don't need to keep on doing this after each game. This will continue until we manually close the game, effectively telling the Playchess server 'thanks, but no thanks'.

4. Customizing the board

If you are going to configure the board colors and pieces, it is best to do it while watching a game (as in 3. above). Your settings there will also be the ones when you play.

If you want to change the board pieces, or color, click on the Board tab at the top, and click on what it is you want to change. You can even turn the board sounds on or off here.

If you accidentally close one of the panes such as the notation or even the clocks, don't panic. Just go to the View pane at the top, and put a check in the pane you want to open.

5. Seeking a game

While watching a good game is fun, playing is even more. The first thing to do is to send out a 'seek', meaning you are seeking a game. In the Challenge pane at the bottom left, simply press the Seek button...

and a small window will open, displaying the game settings you want.

Once chosen, click OK, and your offer is sent.

Tip: Instead of trying to double-click on a name in a constantly shifting list, it is easier to send your own seek. If your choices match someone else's, the server will automatically start a game between the both of you.

Suppose you are rated 1800, and don't want the server matching you up with someone rated 1250 simply because there was no one else available at the moment. In that case, press the Formula button

And the Formula window will open, to set up an automatic filter for your game preferences.

Once you have made you choice, be sure to put a check in the Activate square, before clicking OK. Note that once the Formula is activated, the types of challenges that appear in the list will also be filtered.

6. Playing a game

Once a game is started, your options at the top will change. You can now resign a game, offer or accept a draw, or even abort a game.

This last is useful if you accidentally find yourself in a game you didn't mean to, such as a misclick in the challenge pane, or anything else. So long as only one side has made a move at most, the game can be simply aborted by one side. If not your opponent must agree to it. Resigning with only one side having moves also works, as the game will not be rated.

Tip: Playchess also has a feature called 'pre-move'. This allows you to choose/play a move while your opponent is still thinking, and have it played instantly when he makes a move. If your move is illegal (i.e. the move you played leaves your king in check), the pre-move is canceled and you must play a move. While this can be a boon when very short of time, the danger is that it can lead to disaster if your opponent plays something unexpected. So if your pre-move leaves your queen en prise, don't say you weren't warned.

Finally, if your opponent played a good game, show your sportsmanship by pressing the Applaud Opponent button. Applause received is counted in a player's profile.

Albert Silver

Previous articles on Playchess Version 5

Time to get started – with Playchess version 5
26.04.2010 – Get ready, because it’s here, and it’s better than ever. The new, free-for-download Playchess program is available, bringing with it all the special perks that only owners of the latest Fritz 12 previously enjoyed, as well as access to the numerous special options for Premium accounts. You can download the Playchess software now and go through part one of our introductory instructions.


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