Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Mergers and Acquisitions

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The Internet Chess Club is announcing it has acquired two other major online playing sites and will be merging them into a single service. World Chess Network and Chess Live will be merged into the new World Chess Live. I'll have more later, but for now there's a press release with lots more info here. Any users of those sites with comments? I haven't looked at either of them in years.


Not a huge surprise here... ICC's new client, Dasher, is basically Chess Lives interface with some slight mods, so everything was prepared to go anyways.. Hopefully ICC will use Chess Lives Java interface too, which would make accessing ICC from non-windblows systems a little bit easier (in the sense you wouldnt have to use xboard or jin)...

Both World Chess Network and Chess-Live seem to require the installation of a client program in order to be able to play online.

There is fairly new web service dedicated to online chess that does not need any downloads, installers, or plugins. A JavaScript enabled web browser - preferably Firefox or Opera - is enough to start chatting and playing chess in matter of seconds after entering the URL (http://live-chess.com).

This service is still in beta, however, and needs players who would like to test the various features.

As I juts got done saying, Chess Live doesnt require the installation of a client program... but I digress.

I was involved in the design of WCN before it went online, but by-and-large, I was outvoted! They wanted to have a UI that was different from ICC. Different in itself can be a good idea; the devil is in the details. Still, I wonder if the new business won't retain more customers if it retains the UI, or at least features of it. Surely the ICC market has room for a chess server where people have to play under their own, real names! Many of those who joined WCN already knew how the competition--the other chess servers--worked.

S'pose there will be economies in Administration.

"the devil is in the details"

Sorry about that, I hadn't visited in a couple of days and started reading from the top.

Two failing servers full of mediocre players combine to make one server with a lot of mediocre players... whoopee.

Well, as the press release indicates, there are obviously differences between what serious players and casual players want. The casual ones will probably be more at home at this new merged network they're creating, while the serious ones will keep hanging out on ICC.

Maybe chessclub.com will become a play for money site and the new service will be chessclub.net where you play for play money..

It's hard to believe that people pay for those services. Has Chess Live ever been any good? So, ICC wants to buy up their competitors, and still have them compete for subscribers...with ICC. I wonder what kind of cross-marketing scheme ICC has in mind? Maybe discount World Chess Live, until you can hook them into paying $50 log onto ICC. Somehow, I think that Playchess is getting the better of ICC in head to head competition.

In many ways, the Chess Server service is a mature market, and there is no prospect of easy or explosive growth. Things are rough when comepetition becomes a zero sum game

ICC should do something for the BlitzIn client. The pieces look so ugly compared to playchess fritz environment.

It seems like all the top players have abandoned ICC for playchess.com. I never see Nakamura, Kasimdzhanov, Grischuk, Karjakin, or Magnus playing on ICC anymore.

Does anyone know if they play on playchess.com regularly?


I see Nakamura on playchess all the time as "Star Wars," not sure about the others you mentioned. Nakamura is one of thee highest rated blitz players on the server. I have a few games saved where he played the infamous "Raffael." Highly entertaining! One was a 51 move draw, the other a 76 move draw. 5m +1s control.

The WCN user interface was more focused on ease of use, and most members who were also with ICC (or had been) preferred it to ICC's, as well as PlayChess'. Better board, pieces, and sounds to be sure.

A bit curious that if you're 'serious' about chess you'll definetly be at ICC - can anyone who plays 99% of their chess online at 5 min (or less) time controls be considered serious? There were enough scheduled lectures and events with GMs and IMs on WCN to satisfy most members. Little things, like a civilized chat and acutally being able to ask a question during a lecture and have it answered. What was lacking was lots of GMs hanging around everyday playing bullet to entertain the masses. And with a small membership you end up either playing the same guys quite often, or having a tough time finding a game. Subscription cost for WCN was $5 per month or $49 per year, similar to just about everywhere I think, and it was announced that the fees would remain the same.

Most of the reactions around the site today were somewhat negative, as you'd expect.

I play regulary on playchess because I don t like the interface of ICC .There Nakamura play regulary the others only time from time.Is it possible you post the games against Raphael ?

Raffael is Kasparov.

I used to be close friends with the head sysop at playchess.

I also know Peter Leko's handle on playchess but i'm not telling unless someone offers me cash ;)

Magnus is playing regularely on public, semi-anonymous/anonymous accounts. Grischuk is not playing much, but he has quite a few games in blitz/1-minute from April. Same goes for Radjabov and Mamedyarov, both relatively active on ICC. I highly doubt playchess is anywhere near ICC when it comes to active GM's playing online.

Raffael, who most people believe is Kasparov, plays on playchess. Plus Karjakin, Nakamura, Mamedyarov(dunno whether he's active or not to tell the truth).
And, most important - playchess has Morozevich.
Then, I hate ICC-s linux-style gui.

I have noticed the same phenomenon that gmnotyet mentioned. Cool GMs have disappeared from ICC. Smallville, Talion, Benefactor, Depressnyak, Ubyica (sp?), used to be there quite frequently, but alas, no more. Now the list of featured speed games includes one or two run-of-the-mill GMs and dips as low as FMs and untitled players. It's pathetic.

Where have all the top GMs gone? Poker? Serious chess training? They haven't gotten lives, have they?

I think the same people who think more GM's play on playchess than ICC, also think that rybka is somehow stronger than Junior or Fritz. How do these very very false impressions get made? Who knows... The fact is that ICC has the most titled players playing on it, period. Nakamura plays on ICC a lot more than on playchess, period, end of story.

And with Dasher, they have hands down the superior client to playchess.

parsnips, one is a false impression, the other is not. ICC probably does have more titled players than any other server. But Rybka is indeed better than any other chess program - as is confirmed by multiple rating lists.

Computer rating lists mean very little to me. They're too easy to manipulate. The only real meaningful events are the world computer championships, in which the computers play each other in a controlled environment... Rybka and it's variants always perform poorly in these rigorous competitions.

"the world computer championships"

Has Rybka participated in more than one? (2006, "Rajlich", finishing shared 2nd.)

What other rigorous competitions do you have in mind?

Losing to Shredder, drawing with Zappa and Junior... and Fritz didn't even compete.

And it was 3rd on tie break. 3rd best, no fritz. Hmmm. The 14th WCC is on the 24th, maybe we can see Rybka's "dominance" continue...


r and I are completely right about ICC. In the past, say a year or two ago, you could log onto ICC at almost anytime and find Nakamura playing. And you would frequently see Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Kamsky, and several other top GMs playing. Not anymore. There are almost never any top GMs playing on ICC these days. Nakamura hasn't even logged in to his smallville account in almost two months now!

And it's laughable to believe that all the computer rating lists (CEGT, SSDF, etc.) are somehow biased in favor of Rybka and that a single 9-round tournament (WCCC) is more statistically meaningful than the -1000s- of games that SSDF, CEGT, and the others perform on dedicated hardware to create their rating lists.

Rybka is the top computer engine and the top GMs have fled ICC. Deal with it.

its a known fact that GMs have more than one account on ICC...one being a known account, the other anonymous. unless u guys know everyone's anonymous account you have no clue as to whether they connect or not.

I have accounts on both WCN and the ICC. I tend to play my longer games on the ICC, short games for the heck of it on WCN.
Yes, finding opponents on WCN can be challenging at times. But this is more than made up for 9as long as I can play on the ICC) by the great lectures that WCN offers, as well as their Master Challenge and Banter Chess features.
The only feature that the ICC had that was as good as WCN's was Fred Wilson's show (I haven't tuned in to John Watson's yet). Fred's show was consistently entertaining and informative.
Of course, as with all good things, ICC didn't keep it.
WCN is a place where, after seeing you online a few times, GMs and IMs recognize you and call you by your first name. Patzers get to know each other -- I found that a few colleagues are neighbors in Northern Virginia. You can hear Larry Christiansen slurping away at his coffee, or whatever it is he drinks while he's sacking another queen on Audio Master Challenge. When Irina Krush gives a lecture, sometimes Pascal Charbonneau chimes in. Martha Fierro is always willing to beat you, with a smile, of course.
WCN is, in short, an online chess community, not a collection of anonymous handles. I just hope the new creation matches up.
I have used Dasher, and sometimes I find that this inerface gets the names of the palyers mixed up, so that it looks like I am playing under my opponent's name and she or he is playing under mine.
Not exactly confidence-inspiring.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 14, 2007 9:25 AM.

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