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Premium Membership Help

  1. What is Premium Membership?
  2. What exactly do I get?
  3. How much does it cost?
  4. How do I sign-up?
  5. What if I don't have a credit card?
  6. How do I get to the premium area?
  7. Help! I'm being locked out of the premium areas!
  8. What is Guess-the-Move?
  9. How do I put a little graphic next to my posts?
  10. How do I download PGN files?
  11. How do I use the Opening Explorer?
  12. How do I use the Repertoire Explorer?
  13. How do I use the Sacrifice Explorer?
  14. How do I use the Endgame Explorer?
  15. How do I analyze a position with Stockfish?
  16. How do I see previous homepage Puzzles of the Day?
  17. How do I search kibitzing?
  18. How do I search for a specific position?
  19. What is a "chessforum"?
  20. What is a "favorites list"?
  21. What is "Game History"?
  22. How can I customize the menu bar?
  23. How do I turn off banner ads?
  24. Terms and Conditions
  25. My question isn't listed here.

What is Premium Membership?
You can register to for free, however we also sell Premium Memberships which provide even more powerful features and enhancements to the normal account. For a small yearly fee, you can help support our efforts of promoting chess learning worldwide, while receiving access to some special features that we reserve for Premium Members.

What exactly do I get?

Your premium membership allows you access to over a dozen special functions that make your use of Chessgames more powerful, and more fun. This includes the Opening Explorer, our chess-training tool Guess-the-Move, The Sacrifice Explorer, the ability to download PGN, and much, much more.

A complete list of features of the premium membership can be found the Chessgames Premium Membership Tour. More details about the various features can be found on this page, in the sections that follow.

How much does it cost?

Chessgames Premium Memberships cost $US 39.00 per year--that's less than 11 cents per day!

NOTE: A few extremely generous chess patrons have opted to buy a Lifetime Membership. A Lifetime Membership will give you complete access to all features for the rest of your natural life. Regardless of what new features we add, or if we raise our rates, Lifetime Members never are charged anything additional. The fee for Lifetime Chessgames Membership is $US 350.

How do I sign-up?

If you don't have a free Chessgames account:
  1. Go to the registration page and fill out the form, starting with your user-name and password.
  2. Once you finish the registration, you will see a link "UPGRADE TO PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP." Follow this link to the secure server.
  3. On the secure server, enter your credit card information.
If you already have a free Chessgames account:
  1. Be certain that you are signed-in under your username. You know are you signed-in when you see your screen name on the homepage in the upper right, where it says "Welcome..." If you are not signed-in, visit the login page and enter your username and password.
  2. Go to the Premium Membership Page and follow the link that says "CLICK HERE to sign up!" That will take you to our secure server.
  3. On our secure server, enter your credit card information. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
For your convenience, there is a link directly to our secure payment form directly from the homepage. The link reads "upgrade your account" and appears directly below the welcome message on the right-hand column. This is illustrated in the graphic to the right.

Once your registration to Premium Membership is complete, you will be activated automatically and can immediately access premium features.

COMMENT ON ONLINE SECURITY: We use the industry standard SSL to encrypt the transmission of your credit card information, so that it is virtually impossible for criminals to monitor the transaction. To provide extra security, we do not store your credit card information--we keep it in the RAM of our servers just long enough to process, then it becomes wiped out. Therefore, even in the "worst case scenario" of our business records becoming compromised, your information will still be safe. To our knowledge, this is absolutely the most secure way to conduct online business.

What if I don't have a credit card?

Checks & Money Orders - You can order your Chessgames Premium Membership by sending a check or money order, for $US 39, made out to Chessgames Services LLC. Be certain to tell us what your email and/or username is. Mail the check or money order to:
      3879 SW Inwood Pines Lane
      Palm City, FL 34990


PayPal - We also accept PayPal®. You may either directly make a payment to the account or click below:

      PayPal® Checkout Page

Rates - When purchasing a subscription, use this rate card to know how much to pay:

(US Dollars)
1 year premium membership$39.00

How do I get to the premium area?

When you are a premium member, a new link will appear for you on the homepage in the upper-right area of your screen, that reads Members' Area. This link will take you to all of the premium features:
Note that not all benefits appear on that page. Some premium features will automatically activate themselves in different areas of the Chessgames. For example, buttons that say "PGN Download" will appear above your searches, the Opening Explorer will be fully functional, and your avatar will appear next to your name.

NOTE: you cannot access Premium Membership Features if you are not logged in! The login link appears on every page of Chessgames. You know that you are logged in properly when you see your screen name where it says "Welcome" on the upper-right area of the homepage.

Help! I'm being locked out of the premium areas!

If you have a premium account and you still cannot access premium features, there are several possible explanations.

  1. You're not signed-in. The first thing to check is that you are actually signed-in. One way to find out if you are signed-in is to visit the homepage. If you are signed-in, the upper-right corner of the homepage will read "Welcome, ______" and display the name of your account.

    REMEDY: If you find that you are not signed-in, please visit the login page. If you don't know your password, you can have it emailed to you from our Password Recovery Page.

  2. You're signed-in under the wrong account. Some people, perhaps by accident, register more than once to Whatever account you were signed-in as when you paid for premium service is the account which will be activated. If you sign-in under a different account than the one you activated for premium service, you will not be able to access premium services.

    REMEDY: Sign-in under your premium account, and stop using your non-premium account. If you are not sure what the username of your premium account is, consult the email that we sent you when you first signed-up for premium services.

  3. Your premium membership has expired.

    REMEDY: You can add more time to your account by visiting our membership page. As always, be sure you are signed-in to your account.

  4. There was a problem with the payment. If a member cancels the charge for premium service it is our policy to deactivate the account until we communicate with the account holder.

    REMEDY: Contact and we will do our best to identify and rectify the problem. The simplest method to correct a canceled-charge is simply to sign-up again.

  5. There is a technical problem with your browser. Some browsers are configured to show you old versions of pages instead of new ones. This is done through a mechanism called a cache. Some web browsers are "broken" in the sense that they show old versions of pages when new ones are in fact online.

    REMEDY: Before all else, press the "reload" button on your browser (some browsers require "shift-reload") when you receive an error message to see if that fixes the problem. If this doesn't work, you may want to venture into the "options" area of your browser, or even consider using a different web browser.

If none of these remedies solve your problem, please contact us at Be certain to include your username in your email.

What is Guess-the-Move?

Guess-the-Move is a chess-training tool that allows you to review some of the greatest chess games in history, move by move, and try to guess what move the winner played each step of the way. It's a fun, challenging, and competitive way to improve your chess.

To use Guess-the-Move, just visit the Guess-the-Move Main Page. (There is a link to this feature found at the bottom of every page.) It will automatically pick a random game for you to play, or you can use the search engine if there is a specific game or kind of game that you are looking for.

Here is a preview of what Guess-the-Move looks like while you are playing:

If you want to learn more about Guess-the-Move and how to play, consult the Guess-the-Move Help Page.

NOTE: Like all premium features, you can access Guess-the-Move from your Premium Membership Page. Anytime you are on the game page for a game that is the Guess-the-Move database, a special link will appear underneath the board which will start a round of Guess-the-Move with that game.

How do I put a little graphic next to my posts?

Those little graphics next to your posts are called "avatars". Their purpose is make your posts be distinguished from other users, and to help personalize your chessgames identity. Think of them like the little tokens that you pick before you play a game of Monopoly: it's just a symbol to represent you and make your posts more recognizable.

Here are some examples of avatars:


To change your avatar, visit our Avatar Page and click on one that suits your tastes. Be sure you look at the different pages; there are a lot to choose from!

HOT TIP: If you are a premium member and you have your own graphic that you'd like to submit to our avatar library, send a 48x48 pixel GIF (non-animated) to

HOT TIP: You can change your avatar whenever you feel like it. This will not only change your symbol on future posts, but will retroactively change every post you've made in the past.

How do I download PGN files?

Free members of chessgames can download the PGN of any single game by using the "download PGN" link that appears below each game. However, it's much more useful to download large files of PGN, in bulk, for you to import into a variety of PC software.

Premium Members have two ways to download PGN files in bulk:

  1. Zip-File Archive: One of the easiest ways to download large numbers of games in bulk is our Zip-File Archive. The archive separates the games in categories of endings, openings, players, tournaments, and years. Because these files are compressed, you'll probably need a common utility such as WinZip to decompress them once you receive them.

    The link to the Zip-File archive, like all premium features, is always available at the Premium Membership Page.

  2. PGN Download button: Premium users will soon notice a new button appearing on various pages (players, search results, etc.) that reads "PGN Download." When you press this button, you will download all games resulting from the search you are on. For example, if you are on a page for a certain opening, or a certain player, or tournament, this button will give you all of those games. Due to server limitations we only allow this operation to be performed when the number of games is 3000 or less. If you want to download more games than that at one time, use the Zip-File Archive.

  3. One Game at a Time: Anytime you are on a game page, there is a link that reads "PGN: download". Clicking on that will trigger a download of a PGN file containing the game you are on.
Depending on how your computer is configured, this button will either ask you where to save the file, or it will automatically start up PGN software that your web browser is aware of.

HOT TIP: The PGN Download button is especially useful in conjunction with the Opening Explorer. Follow an opening to find the position you are interested in then click the link that reads "search database for this position." On the resulting page, use the PGN Download button to grab all games which contain that position.

How do I use the Opening Explorer?

On the Membership Page, and at the bottom of nearly every page, there is a link to one our most powerful features, The Opening Explorer. This tool allows you to study openings one move at a time, with complete links to all relevant games. We have a special Opening Explorer Help Page to explain how to use it.

How do I use the Repertoire Explorer?

The Repertoire Explorer is a feature of the Opening Explorer which allows you to study the openings played by a specific player. To access it, first find the player page that you are interested in, and at the top of the page you will see a graphic like the one shown to the right. Simply click on the white pawn to see that player's repertoire with the white pieces, or the black pawn for the repertoire with the black pieces.

For more information, see the Opening Explorer Help Page under "What is the Repertoire Explorer?"

How do I use the Sacrifice Explorer?

On the Membership Page you will find a link to the Sacrifice Explorer, our fun tool which allows you to search for sacrifices by opening, player, tournament, and more. To learn more, please read the Sacrifice Explorer Help Page.

How do I use the Endgame Explorer?

On the Membership Page you will find a link to the Endgame Explorer, our unique tool which allows you to search the database based on the material remaining on the board. For example, if you want to study king and pawn endings, or brush up on your bishop/knight mate, you can select the desired material and find relevant games. You can also select the result of the game, e.g. if you search for "two pawns vs a rook" you can search for cases where the superior side (the rook) wins, and cases where the inferior side (the pawns) win, or you can search for draws.

More information is available on the Endgame Explorer page.

How do I analyze a position with Stockfish®?
Your premium membership allows you to utilize the powerful Analysis Laboratory — a playground of features built around the ultra-strong Stockfish Chess Engine, developed by Marco Costalba, Joona Kiiski, Gary Linscott and Tord Romstad. It was the winner of the World Computer Chess Championship in 2014 and 2016. The software runs on a dedicated high-end server for the strongest computer analysis available.
  1. Game Pages - On any game page, under the diagram you will see a green box labeled "COMPUTER MOVE ANALYSIS." When you click on it, a panel opens that looks like this:

    In the field marked "Move" you can type whatever move you'd like to try. For example if you are curious what happens if 12.Nxa4 was tried in Byrne-Fischer, 1956, just go to that game and type "12.Nxa4" into the field and push the ANALYZE button. You can only spend Fuel on the analysis to make it run longer (1 Fuel = 15 seconds), but the default setting ("fumes") will usually give you a very accurate assessment.

    You can also enter an entire variation, for example "9.Bxh7+ Kh8 10.Qh5 Nf6" -- the engine will start to compute the position resulting after those played moves.

    If the game you are viewing is in the form of a puzzle (e.g. our daily homepage puzzle) the move directly prior to the key move will be provided, so you only need click the ANALYZE button to see Stockfish's solution to the puzzle.

    Often members don't understand why a grandmaster resigned when he or she did. If you leave the "Move" field blank, and click "Request Analysis", it will analyze the final position of the game (to learn how the play might have proceeded if there was no resignation or draw acceptance.)

    Note that you must enter correct standard English algebraic notation as the software doesn't have much tolerance for bad capitalization, missing or extra symbols, etc. Entering incorrect data will result in curt erorr responses.

    You can also analyze the entire game by clicking "COMPUTER GAME ANALYSIS", which will present you with a panel that looks like this:

    Here you decide how much Fuel to spend per move, e.g. "1" means it will spend 7.5 seconds on each move. Some moves will be given especially long treatment (8 times longer than the other moves) — these moves are determined by the software as probable points of importance in the game. You can also specify which moves it should ponder on in the field that says "Pay extra attention to:". Because game analyses tend to take a long time, once you make the request you'll have to come back later for the results. To monitor its progress you can go to your Analysis Laboratory and it will display the position it is currently calculating.

  2. Opening Explorer - For most pages on the Opening Explorer you will see a small icon reading "Engine" with an evaluation next to it. For example, if it says 5.dxc5 +0.41 (30 ply) that means that Stockfish regards 5.dxc5 as the best move, and the evaluation (in pawns) is +0.41, and it probed 30 ply (15 moves) deep in all variations. Positive numbers mean that White is better; negative evaluations mean that Black is better. You can click on the "Engine" button to see a complete evaluation of the position, with variations. This feature also operates in the Repertoire Explorer.

  3. What is "Fuel"? - As our dedicated Stockfish server is a finite resource, we can't let all users demand any amount of engine time they desire. To solve this problem, we've come up with a fair way to distribute computing power to our customers: we call it Fuel. One unit of Fuel is equal to 15 seconds of CPU time on our dedicated chess server. For example, 4 Fuel = 1 minute; 20 Fuel = 5 minutes; 240 Fuel = 1 hour.

    It's tempting to request long evaluations, but for most positions, 1 Fuel is plenty. For example, it only takes 1 Fuel (15 seconds) for the computer to see Bobby Fischer's famous move, 17...Be6!! from the "Game of the Century."

    When requesting analysis, you need not spend any Fuel--you can leave the setting on "fumes" which will provide a quick 6 second evaluation. (That doesn't sound like much, but it can spot very difficult tactics in fractions of a second.) However, if you seek a more in-depth evaluation, you can spend your accumulated Fuel to have the server spend more time on the position. Don't worry about running out: each day you'll receive more units of Fuel. We will vary the amount of Fuel added daily, the exact amount depending on the overall usage of the server.

    FINE PRINT: All new premium accounts are given 1,000 Fuel to start. At no time may a user accumulate more than 2,000 units of Fuel (that's over 8 hours of CPU time). Units of Fuel are non-transferable. If you let your premium membership lapse, your accumulated Fuel will be waiting for you when you renew (or be boosted to 1000 if it was lower). If you schedule an evaluation that is already in the database, and equal or greater than your request, no Fuel will be deducted.

  4. Similar Games Pages - On any game page, there is a link under the diagram called "Find Similar Games". It will display the opening diagrams of the game. Beside each diagram will be a Stockfish "Engine" button just like the Opening Explorer. You'l find many positions are analyzed with hours of computing time. If you come across positions without analysis, click on the "Engine" button and you can request an evaluation. This analysis will be archived for future members to use and perhaps improve upon.

  5. Shared Analysis - One of the benefits of sharing a chess evaluation server is that the results of its findings are cached so that future chess players can benefit from analysis done long ago. You will often find that the evaluation you seek has already been computed and will present itself to you almost instantly. (You won't be charged Fuel if that happens.) This is especially true for games that attract a lof of attention, like recent brilliancies or the daily puzzle.
HOT TIP: If you prefer to read your output in figurine notation (e.g. ♔ ♖ etc.) there is an option on your Preference Page called "Use figurine notation where possible". This will affect output from the analysis server and some other facets of Chessgames.

HOT TIP: Our Stockfish Statistics Page has an up-to-date table of the number of positions in our shared analysis database, the average depth, and more.

How do I see previous homepage Puzzles of the Day?
On the Membership Page you will find a link to the Tactical Exercise Archive, a collection of over a month of previous homepage puzzles.
How do I search kibitzing?
On the Membership Page you will find a link to the Search Kibitzing form. The form also appears at the bottom of the "New Kibitzing" page that you get when you click on the Kibitz button in the upper right.

This handy tool allows you to search the entire database of kibitzing. Using this feature is very simple: just type one or more words and see what comes up.

HOT TIP: Looking for the posts of a certain user? Type their username.

HOT TIP: You can find games that deal with a certain tactical theme by typing in words like interference or underpromotion.

How do I search for a specific position?

To search for a specific position, use one of these two methods:
  1. Know the sequence of opening moves that produces the position, e.g. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 and type this string into our Move Lookup Page. This form can be accessed from the first page of the Opening Explorer.

    You will then go to the Opening Explorer page which covers all games with that position (regardless of whether the moves were played in the same order). From there you can click on the "search database for this position" link to see all of the games.

    HOT TIP: You don't have to be a perfectionist when typing in your moves. The software will interpret your moves correctly even if you omit move numbers and ignore capitalization. For example, If you type "d4 nf6 e6 nc3 d5" it will work just as well as if you followed the formal rules of algebraic notation.

  2. Know the FEN code for the position, e.g. rnbqkb1r/ppp2ppp/4pn2/3p4/2PP4/2N5/PP2PPPP/R1BQKBNR w KQkq d6 and type this string into our FEN Lookup Page. This form can be accessed from the first page of the Opening Explorer.
DOWNLOADING PGN: If you want to download a PGN file of all games which contain an opening position, it's as easy as clicking on the link "search database for this position" then using the "PGN Download" button. (See illustation to right). Note that there is a limit of the number of games that can be downloaded at one time in this fashion. (See How do I download PGN files? for more information.)

LIMITATIONS: Position searching is a feature directly related to the Opening Explorer, therefore it is limited to opening positions. You cannot search for endgame or advanced middlegame positions; only the first 20 moves or so are indexed into our position database.

HOT TIP: For more information on FEN codes, see our FEN Made Easy article.

What is a "chessforum"?

What a chessforum is: A "chessforum" is a personal discussion forum operated by a premium Chessgames member. Unlike most forums at chessgames, the topic of discussion on a chessforum is not necessarily tied to a specific player, opening, game, tournament, etc., but instead can be under the guidance of the chessforum owner. If you want to analyze your personal chess games, or hold some sort of chess related contest, this would be the perfect place to do so. You can even conduct a correspondence game on your chessforum! It's ideal for any chess discussion which would not have a wide enough appeal to be posted in the Kibitzer's Café.

What a chessforum is not: It's not a blog where you are free to discuss anything you like. It's not a political soapbox. It's not a place where obscenity is tolerated, nor is it to be used for advertising commercial services. It's not a place to be used for badmouthing other Chessgames users. In short, our normal posting policy applies to chessforums.

Starting your own chessforum: To active your chessforum, visit your Preferences Page and check the selection Activate your chessforum, then click the "Update Profile" button. That's all there is to it! Now, when you visit your Profile Page, your forum will appear at the bottom. Now that you have a forum, you may wish to visit your Chessforum Configuration Page to customize some settings.

Unlike the other forums on, you can exert a certain degree of administrative control over your chessforum:

  • Customize Your Forum - If you visit the Chessforum Configuration Page you can change certain settings, such as a name for your forum, and the graphic that appears as a header above the kibitzing.
  • Moderate Your Forum - Did somebody post something on your chessforum that you don't want there? You can remove it simply by clicking the "delete" link found to the left of the message. In this way you can moderate your own forum in whatever way best suits your intentions.
  • Lock out Unwanted Guests - If somebody is on your ignore list, they will not be permitted to post on your chessforum. (They can, however, read your forum.)
  • Disable your Chessforum - Just like you activated your chessforum by checking the box on your Profile Page, you can deactivate it by unchecking this box. Should you ever change your mind, just check the box again and the chessforum will return, along with all of the messages posted to it.
We hope that you find fun and useful purposes for your personal space on!

HOT TIP: If your premium membership expires, your Chessforum will become deactivated (invisible). If you renew your membership within one year, your chessforum will reappear with all of the messages intact. Renew your membership early to avoid getting your personal Chessforum temporarily locked.

What is a "favorites list"?

Adding to your Chessgames Favorites List Your favorites list is a list of users on chessgames who you enjoy reading the most. You are not required to make a favorites list, but if you do, some powerful features will become available.

At the bottom of each users page, you will see a "thumbs up" and a "thumbs down" graphic next to some buttons. The thumbs-down section is used to add people to your ignore-list [what is this?] and the thumbs-up section is used to add people to your favorites list.

Once you have people on your favorites-list, the following features become available:

  • All kibitzes by users on your favorites-list will appear to you in a highlighted color (gold by default).
  • You have access to a special page called My Favorites which shows you all of your favorite users, what they posted last, and when they were on last. It also shows you which users are on right now.
  • The bottom of all kibitzing sections will have an option that reads "FAVORITES-MODE: [ON] [OFF]". When you click [ON] you will view the discussion so that only the people in your favorites list are visible. (This only lasts as long as you peruse this single kibitzing area, or until you click the "OFF" link.)
  • The Search Kibitzing page has an option that reads "Only search users in your favorites list." Select this to search only posts made by users in your list.

NOTE: Your favorites-list is 100% confidential. If you add somebody to your favorites, they will have no way of knowing.

HOT TIP: You are expected to add to your favorites list the posters you like to read the most, but there are other clever approaches. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. The administrative accounts and Administrator are popular choices, as these accounts almost always post announcements and helpful advice to use Chessgames.
  2. The account Chessgames Challenge which is an automated process for posting move results in team games. If you play in the team games, it's helpful to see at a glance what the latest action by the "ChallengeBot" has been.
  3. Grandmasters such as Ray Keene, Arno Nickel, and Nigel Short. If a grandmaster is using Chessgames, wouldn't you like to know? (NOTE: We cannot possibly list all of the notable players and chess figures here; you'll have to learn that for yourself as you use our site.)
  4. Yourself! Adding yourself to your own favorites list conveys various benefits, such as the ability to quickly search for your own posts.

What is "Game History"?

Game History is a premium feature which allows you review games that you've seen recently. It is useful if you saw a game recently and want to find it again. The Game History extends 30 days back.

You can get to your Game History here or from the Premium Membership Page. It also can be included in your customized Enhanced Menu (see below).

How can I customize the menu bar?

Premium users can activate a special menu bar, called the "Enhanced Menu", at the top of each page. This allows you to access your favorite features easily. You can activate and customize your Enhanced Menu at our Enhanced Menu Configuration Page.

Here is a sample of what it looks like, once activated:

HOT TIP: There is an option found on the Preferences Page under "Configure website behavior" which lets you turn this feature on and off. The option reads "Enhanced menu at the top of the screen". To activate your enhanced menu, you can check this and press the Update Profile button. To deactivate your enhanced menu, you can uncheck this and Update Profile.

How do I turn off banner ads?

We like to think that our advertisements are on-target and interesting, but if you enjoy more without them, you are free to turn them off. Premium users can turn off banner ads by visiting the Preference Page and checking the box that says "Do not display 3rd party ads."

NOTE: This feature does not effect all advertisements on the site, just most of them. Notably, most of the homepage banner ads will remain whether or not you have this option selected. Please tolerate the homepage advertisers, for their sponsorship enables us to provide premium membership features at such low prices.

Terms and Conditions

The current version of the Chessgames Terms and Conditions document can be viewed here:
Terms and Conditions

My question isn't listed here.

Many common questions not answered here can be found on the main Help Page. Questions about site usage can be addressed at the Chessgames User Support Forum.

If you require personal assistance, please send your questions to and we will try to solve whatever problem you might be experiencing. Thank you for being a premium member and supporter of


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