Update for 2014: No recent FICS problems that I know of. I now use this account primarily as a supplement to FICS' scattershot online help system.
Update for November 15, 2013: Gameplay still works fine, but the site www.freechess.org is down again (status.freechess.org is still up). News notice 1525 gives more info:
Due to a hardware failure, some of our services are malfunctioning or not running at all. This includes registration of new accounts, relaying of over-the-board tournaments, support service, and others. We'll do our best to minimize the inconvenience and to take care of the urgencies; we'll also find a way to bring you the next games of the Anand-Carlsen World Championship match. More information about the recovery will be posted as soon as possible.
Update for September 26, 2013: FICS has recovered more of the functionality lost in July's hacker attack. The site www.freechess.org is now up with current status information. In addition, a second web site, status.freechess.org, has been created on a separate server. If and when www.freechess.org is brought down by another hacker attack, status.freechess.org should still be available with the current status.
It appears that game relays may be working again as well, although at the moment no relays are scheduled. "tell relay listgames" (rather than the older "tell relay list -a") should give a list of games currently being relayed.
Update for August 29, 2013: FICS is up and running fine. However, the website www.fics.org remains down ever since last month's outage. In addition, the relay server appears to be down; even though "tell relay list -a" still lists events to be relayed, none of the other commands work. There is no projected recovery date for either the webpage or the relay server, as far as I know.
I haven't tried a "Use External Timeseal" with Babaschess lately, if anyone has any new info please put an update in my forum (User: Caissanist) and I will put an update in here.
As of Monday, July 29, 2013, the FICS server is up and running. However, I use Babaschess to connect to it, and found that now, when I try to do so, it doesn't work when I have "Use External Timeseal" for the value in the "Connection Type" box. Changing it to either "Use Integrated Timeseal" or "Do Not Use Timeseal" appears to fix the problem. Here are the three most recent status updates (from Chessty) from July 28:
<1508 (Sun, Jul 28) Interface issues resolved
We recompiled and restarted the server and the issues with the interfaces, especially babaschess, have been resolved. The Jin applet still is not working so you should download an interface, if you haven't done so already.>
<1507 (Sun, Jul 28) hack, continued
We apologize for the downtime but we are doing what we can as quickly as possible. We will still be working on the server and more changes may yet need to be made. We will keep you posted as to our continuing progress. While we were down, the hacker or hackers were still attempting to get back in by attempting to steal other accounts on a daily basis. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to ensure your passwords are as secure as you can make them. Please use upper and lower case alphabet, numbers and symbols in your password. If you need help or ideas on creating a secure password, try going to: <http://www.cs.umd.edu/faq/Passwords...>>
<1506 (Sun, Jul 28) FICS downtime due to hack
As you all know, FICS was hacked on July 18, 2013 and suffered severe damage. There were several complications which contributed to our lengthy downtime. First of which was that foxbat was out of state on vacation when the hack occured. It took some time before he could get back to start working on the server. Second, while we were working on correcting all the damage from the hack, we received word that we would lose our hosting sometime "soon". This necessitated looking for a new host. We are giving OVH a trial run and possibly may switch if it proves to be able to meet our needs. Third, in loading up the server, we have discovered that babaschess now has issues that cause errors. Removing timeseal helps but a fix will have to be made.>
This account is maintained by User: Caissanist (aka TyroLoco on FICS). I have created this account for two reasons: to have a fairly visible place to put any updates to the FICS (aka freechess.org) status, and to keep my FICS/BabasChess "cheat sheet", which was getting so large that it was taking over my profile!
ChessBookForum Biographer Bistro: Biographer Bistro
<Frechess.org cheat sheet>
<<examine> <playername> <XX>> examine history or journal game # XX for player <playername>, e.g. <ex WGMWenjunJu 11>
<<history <playername>>: see a list of games in a player's history. Use this not only to see games played on FICS, but relayed through there, e.g. "history GMMcShane" or "history WGMWenjunJu".
+noplay - command to keep someone from seeing your seeks
notify - command to add someone to your friends list, so you get a notification when they log on. Unfortunately left off the list of commands returned by "help commands".
"observe [game#]" to see completed results for a tourney in progress. For example, you can do "tell relay listgames" and then "observe [game#]" using the list of game #s displayed.
ex[amine]: examines a recently played game of your own or someone else's. Use a negative number for relative numbering (i.e. -1 is most recent, -2 2nd most recent, etc.), positive number for absolute numbers given in a player's history.
tell analysisbot: analysisbot will analyze a game for you, I usually use it to analyze the game I'm currently observing. For example,
ex TyroLoco -1
tell analysisbot obsme
will let me run through my most recently played game with computer evaluations of all my moves.
tell analysisbot help
tell relay help
tell statbot help
tell mastergamebot mcshane (followed by "examine GMMcShane 85)
tell relayinfo schedule (formerly "tell relayschedulebot schedule") - show list of upcoming relays tell relay listtourney - list tournaments currently being relayed tell relay listgames - list games currently being relayed
tell endgamebot help - list options for endgame practice (e.g. "tell endgamebot kbnk to practice K+B+N vs. K)
help variables: information on the configurable UI settings (e.g. "help v_seek" to see how to hide seeks)
jsave: journal save function to save some of your favorite games. To save the game I just played, first type "journal" to see which slots are used, type "history", get the number of the most recently saved game, then type "jsave [slot] TyroLoco [history game #}", e.g. "jsave D TyroLoco 66".
For the time being, I still use Babaschess, FAQ/help at http://www.babaschess.net/support.asp. However, I am actively looking for an alternative; Babaschess has not been updated in seven years (since January 2007), the author(s) is totally anonymous and the source code is not available. Stuff like this makes me nervous; I will move to a new interface when I can.
FICS games history and statistics: http://www.ficsgames.org/
For those having problems with long lags and/or frequent disconnects, the following page offers some help: http://fics.site90.net/lag_1.html .