– and now we are nine

by ChessBase
9/14/2010 – My, how time flies. It seems like just yesterday we launched our chess game server, with dozens of people waiting at the virtual door when we switched it on. That was September 14, 2001. Today Playchess has grown into the biggest professional chess server in the world, with hundreds of thousands of members and hundreds of millions of games played. Here are some birthday statistics.

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Happy Birthday Playchess!

On September 14, 2001, we switched on what we initially called our "Fritz Server". Insiders knew it was coming, and within a few days there were more than 50 members playing there. The number grew quickly – soon there were many hundreds of players online.

Today, nine years later, the Playchess server has moved to a new dimension. At prime time (evening in Europe) on days when there are no world championship soccer matches, and the weather is also not too paradisiacal, the number of visitors simultaneously logged on in the different playing rooms is usually around 6,000. During major events, with people following live games and GM commentary, it might rise to 10,000. You can check the current server statistics here:

Play chess online

Who is online?

The server stats displayed on the jump page are regularly updated – around every 30 minutes. The red dots on the map are players currently logged into Playchess. If you see some way out at sea it is because they have not given their geo coordinates correctly. Daylight and night is correctly displayed on the map, but there are many more features – weather, sunrise and sunset, planetary data – in the "Globe" function of the Playchess client (including Fritz, ChessBase, and other programs that give you access to the server). You can also install detailed maps to see terrain, lakes, rivers, and other details. No, you cannot zoom in to actually see your opponent playing.

Players logged in on the Playchess server. It is early morning in the US and night in the
Far East. In Europe it's a bright sunny afternoon, but still plenty of players online.

Let us take a look at some global and some recent statistics:

  • There are currently (14th September 2010, 15:00h server time) 246,565 registered users on Playchess
  • During the last 24 hours 20,494 members logged in
  • They were from 211 different countries – in the following order: Germany, undefined, USA, Turkey, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, England, Austria, Ireland, India, Switzerland, Russia, etc.
  • Their average online time was 54 minutes
  • The total number of games played so far on Playchess: 463,457,881 – i.e. we are soon going to hit half a billion games.

Who are the most persevering players on the server, the ones with the greatest standing power? How many games do you think the most diligent players have managed in sum total over the years? At the top of the server statistics list we find "Fellenberg", who's real name is Roland Bühler. He has been a member since July 31, 2004. Roland has played a total of 231,706 games on the server. Work it out: that is just over 100 games per day. As far as we can tell all were played at bullet speeds. In second place we have "TomeBrasil" (Tomé Henrique Brasil Torres Galindo), who has been a member since May 26, 2004 and has chalked up 194,611 games.

Let's look at the top players on the server. Note that players who have not logged in for a certain period of time drop out of the list (but do not lose their ratings). This may be the case if they are playing in major events, running elections or attending fashion shows.

Clicking on a player in the list and then on the "Picture" button will bring up the information the player wishes to reveal to a general public. Here is our current leader:

You can also track his progress in the "Rating" screen. Here is a section of Dmitry's recent progress:

Dmitry Andreikin also tops the Bullet Chess (one minute per game) list at 3498. Dmitry is the reigning World Junior Chess Champion, and won his title this August at the World Championships in Chotova/Czarna, Poland. If you are a chess club president please note that he is seeking to play for a European team.

One more bit of statistical information that surprised even us: on Playchess, if you see a game you like, or enjoy a comment made by a member in chat, you can click on an "Applause" button to show him or her your appreciation. Guess who tops the applause rankings:

Yes, it is GM Nigel Short, who has received over sixteen thousand applauses so far!

A birthday gift ro our readers

For the ninth birthday of Playchess we have a special gift for our readers: as it tells you on our news flash when you first log into, if you purchase anything today you will receive two weeks of Premium membership on Playchess – which means that for two weeks you can watch all lectures, play simuls, etc. free of charge. If you want to take advantage of this offer simply go to the ChessBase shop and order something you have been meaning to buy for some time now.

How to become a member of Playchess

The quickest way is to go to the home page and download the Playchess client there. You can log into the server and play informal games – see how you like the system. If you become interested you can buy full membership for a year (€ 29.90) or Premium membership for a year (€ 49.90). The latter contains a flat rate for all services, like lectures, live commentary, simuls, etc.

Alternatives: you get a full year's access to the Playchess server when you buy Fritz, Rybka or some of our other products. You can also download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which has extensive database functions and also gives you immediate access to Playchess.

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