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The Chessgames.com Challenge
 
CHESSGAMES CHALLENGE HELP PAGE
 

The Chessgames Challenge is a system for large scale consultation chess games. It can be used for exhibition games where a large group of Chessgames members plays against a grandmaster, or for consultation games in which one team of members plays against another team.

WHO CAN PLAY?

Challenges that involve a GM (grandmaster) playing against the world are open to everybody. However, challenges that pit Chessgames members against other members require a premium membership.

If you would like to participate in a game against a GM, just register a free account and you can be voting for moves immediately. Registration is quick, confidential, and free.

HOW DO MEMBERS OF A TEAM DECIDE ON THEIR MOVE?

The Chessgames members will decide on their move by the power of democracy: one member, one vote.

You will have a specific amount of time (usually 48 hours) to select your move. When the Chessgames members are on the move, a voting window will appear under the game board. When the time for voting has expired, the move receiving the most votes will be played.

You can discuss which move to make with other members of your team in the Kibitzer's Corner. The discussion area will not be visible to people who are not on your team.

To place a vote, simply type in the move that you would like to vote for and click on the 'Submit Your Move' button. Note that you must enter perfectly accurate English algebraic notation. If you enter your move incorrectly, it won't be counted! Here are some hints:

TIPS FOR ENTERING MOVES CORRECTLY
  1. Always use a "+" to indicate check, e.g. Bxh7+
  2. Always use a "x" to indicate a capture, e.g. fxe5
  3. Always use a "=" to indicate a promotion, e.g. d8=Q
  4. Castling is indicated as O-O (kingside) or O-O-O (queenside)
  5. If two pieces can make a certain move, differentiate between them, e.g. Rac1
  6. Get the capitalization right. The pieces (N, B, R, K, Q) are always capitalized.
You do not need to type the move number as part of your move.
You do not need to type "..." in front of a move by Black.

If you are not familiar with algebraic chess notation, then you will be incapable of contributing effectively. It is outside the scope of this document to teach chess notation, but you can review the Wikipedia page on chess notation to learn more.

WHAT IS OPEN/CLOSED VOTING?

There are two ways that the voting can be conducted, open voting and closed voting. Before each game begins a decision will be made as to which form of voting will be employed and this will be announced. With open voting, the current vote count is displayed at all times. For games employing closed voting, the vote count is not known until after the voting period is over. Once the voting period is over, a post will be made from a special automated account showing the final vote tally.

Note that "candidate moves" are simply the moves which have received votes. As soon as one person votes for a move, it becomes a candidate. However, only nine candidate moves will be displayed, so if there are more than nine candidate moves then only the top nine are displayed.

WHAT IF I WANT TO CHANGE MY VOTE?

Just enter a new vote and click the button. Your old vote will be retracted and your new move will be counted instead. The system will report to you "Your vote has been recorded."

If you want to retract your vote entirely and abstain from voting, you may enter a blank move. This will cancel your previous vote. The system will then indicate "Your vote has been retracted." Even if you retract your vote, you may vote again later.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A TIE VOTE FOR THE BEST MOVE?

The system will pick one of the tied moves at random.

HOW DO WE OFFER A DRAW, OR ACCEPT A DRAW OFFER?

Draw Offer Symbol Every time you vote for a move, you have the option of clicking on the "offer draw box", which will indicate your desire to offer a draw. If more than 50% of the members click on this box, then a draw will be offered along with the next move. This offer is good for the next move only, but there is no limit to the number of times you can offer a draw.

If you are being offered a draw, you will see the "peace dove" symbol (see above) underneath the game board. This lets you know that you are currently being offered a draw, and if a majority of the members choose the draw option during this move, the game will be declared drawn.

HOW CAN A TEAM RESIGN A GAME?

Vote for the move "0-1" (or "1-0" if you are Black). Resignation will be treated like any other move: if it gets the most votes, then that team resigns.

WHAT IF THE GRANDMASTER DOESN'T MAKE A MOVE IN TIME?

Up to five times per game, the Grandmaster may use an extension. During an extension, the Grandmaster may take up to one additional week (7 days) to come up with a move. The GM may choose to move before the entire week has elapsed.

If all five extensions have been used, and the Grandmaster still fails to move in time, the Grandmaster forfeits the game.

NOTE: Older Chessgames Challenges used three extensions instead of five. In all cases, the number of extensions will be negotiated and announced prior to the start of the game.

IS THERE AN ARBITER?

The Chessgames administrators will perform the role of arbiter, if necessary. The rulings of the arbiters are final.

The Chessgames administrators will sign-up to become team members, but only for the purpose of answering questions and ensuring that the game runs smoothly; the administrators will never vote for moves or participate in the analysis.

ARE WE ALLOWED TO USE CHESS COMPUTERS TO HELP US?

NO COMPUTERS Some games will allow the use of computers, while others prohibit them. This will be decided before the game begins. If computers are not allowed, a bold statement to that effect will appear near the voting window. A graphic (shown to the right) will be visible where computers are prohibited. If you see no such statement, and see no such graphic, you should assume that computer analysis is permitted.

  • For games that allow computers:
    Feel free to use computers in any manner to help you decide on a move. You may contribute by posting raw computer analysis, but if you do so, it is suggested that you declare what software and the depth of calculation (measured in ply or number of nodes).

  • For games that prohibit computers:
    Please respect the game and do not succumb to temptation. Anybody who posts computer analysis or evaluations to a game where it is prohibited will be barred from the Chessgames Challenge.

  • Note regarding Tablebase:
    The use of endgame tablebases is prohibited if computer analysis is prohibited. It is allowed if computer analysis is allowed.
Whether or not computers are prohibited, you may always use books (either paper or electronic), computer databases (such as the chessgames.com database), database lookup tools like the Opening Explorer, etc.

ARE WE ALLOWED TO USE CHESS BOOKS OR DATABASES?

Absolutely. If you need to research a certain opening, or brush up on your endgame technique, you may consult books or chess databases. The Opening Explorer may prove to be very helpful for the early part of the game. The Endgame Explorer may prove useful at the end. This is true whether the game you are playing allows or prohibits computers.

You are also free to set up an analysis board and move the pieces.

HOW CAN I REVIEW THE ENTIRE GAME?

A link beneath the game says "Review Game." If you click on this, you will see the game in a normal game page, where you can go through the moves one at a time.

HOW CAN I FLIP THE DIAGRAM?

If you click the link below the diagram that says "flip board" you will rotate the position. Note that if you are on the black team, the default view places Black at the bottom.

CAN THE GRANDMASTER READ THE DISCUSSION AREA?

No. The only people who can read the game discussion area are people who have registered on the World Team. While it's always theoretically possible to spy, we trust the integrity of the grandmasters who participate in the Chessgames Challenge, and do not believe that they would even consider this. Unfounded accusations that question the grandmaster's honesty will be deleted, and repeat offenses may result in explusion from the team.

WHEN A TEAM-VS-TEAM GAME ENDS, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HIDDEN DISCUSSION AREAS?

When a Team-vs-Team game ends, the hidden discussion areas will be combined chronologically and revealed for all to see. New messages may be posted to this thread by anybody. Messages that were posted while the game was in progress include a small graphic of a chess king. A white king indicates that the poster was a member of the White Team; a black king, the Black Team.

WHAT IS A STICKY?

During all Chessgames Challenges, a special page exists for each team called the Sticky. The Sticky is a communal list where you can leave notes and links for other players. The Sticky can be read by anybody on the team; and it can be edited by any premium member of the team. To view the Sticky, just click on the View Sticky graphic (shown on right) and the Sticky will pop-up in a small window. From that window, a link that reads "edit" will take you to an editor.

Each note/link on a Sticky is called a "Sticky entry." Ideas for Sticky entries include important chessgames.com searches, pages of the Opening Explorer, and chessforums that are hosting analysis workshops. A Sticky entry consists of one or more of the following fields: title, link, and description.

Stickies should be treated with respect: do not use this feature for jokes or vanity. Similar to Wikipedia, every user is an editor, so you will be able to change or delete each other's work. All editing to the Stickies is logged for administrator review; in cases of abuse, a user's editing privileges may be revoked.

CAN I DISCUSS GAMES OUTSIDE OF THE PRIVATE AREA?

The short answer is "No" -- however, there are some exceptions. Here is a more detailed description:

  1. If you are not a member of a Team-vs-Team game:

    You are prohibited from discussing the game until it is over. Although Chessgames.com is founded on the idea of "kibitzing", it is very disrespectful to discuss a game that is currently in progress when such discussion might be useful to the players involved.

  2. If you are a member of a Team-vs-Team game:

    In this case, it is strongly suggested that you confine discussion to the private area, as otherwise it might be viewed by the members of the opposing team. If the game is mentioned outside of the private area, you can make friendly small-talk, but never discuss a specific game position, variations, motivations for moves, strategies, vote counts, or anything that might be considered privileged information. Of course, once the game is over, feel free to say anything you like.

  3. If you are a member of the "World Team" in a GM challenge:

    Premium users are allowed to configure their chessforum so that the GM involved in the Challenge will not see the page if he or she happens to go to that page. (The GM receives a special error message which turns them away from the page.) Use the Chessforum Configuration Page to enable this option. Some players do this to create "analysis workshops" to test variations and ideas with team mates. Other than this exception, you should confine your discussion of the game to the private discussion area.

    (NOTE: For more information on chessforums, see Premium Membership FAQ.)

Once a Chessgames Challenge game is over, the discussion area(s) will no longer be hidden. A regular kibitzing area will open up under the game which anybody can read, and discussion about the game is encouraged.
 


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