Members' Guidance for Online Chess
Setting Up a Free Account on chess.com
Our initial experience is that it is easier to go to the chess.com website than to use the chess.com "app". If you don't already have an account on chess.com, it is very easy to set one up - and a free account gives you everything you need to play online chess. Go to www.chess.com, and click on the "Sign Up" button on the left hand side. You will then need to choose a username for yourself (we suggest a username which makes it easy for other club members to recognise that it is you), your email address, choose a password (make sure it is memorable!), and indicate your playing level (most South Hams players are probably "Intermediate" or "Advanced"). It's as easy as that!
Joining the Online South Hams Chess Club
When you have your username, let Phil McConnell or Alan Davies know that you have joined chess.com. We will then issue a chess.com invitation for you to join the online South Hams Chess Club. When you receive this invitation, you should of course accept it.
Once you have become a member of the online South Hams Chess Club, from the chess.com menu on the left hand side go to Connect‑>Clubs and click on "South Hams Chess Club". Then click on the word "Members" under the heading at the top. You will then get a list of members, and for each member there will be a set of icons. You can hover over any of these icons to see its meaning. For each member, click on the "Add Friend" icon - this will result in the member receiving a mesage inviting them to accept you as a friend.
Arranging an Online Game
Contact your opponent directly to arrange a game - you may do this in any way you like, for example phone, email or a message on the Club website Forum. You and your opponent should make sure you are both clear in advance which club competition (if any) the game will be played under. If it is in a standard play club competition, the time control must be 75 minutes + 30 seconds per move. If it is in a RapidPlay club competition, the time control must be 25 minuters + 10 seconds per move. If it is not in a club competition, you and your opponent may agree on any time control you like.
If it is in a club competition, one of you should post a message on the Club website Forum (use the "Arranged Chess.com games" topic) announcing when the game will take place. This will alert other club members to the fact that they will be able watch the game in real time (see below).
Playing the Game
As a courtesy, 2 or three minutes before the game is due to start please make contact with your opponent (e.g. by phone) to make sure you are both ready.
It should go without saying that during the game you should use no form of computer assistance. Not only would this make the game completely pointless, it will also be pretty obvious to your opponent, and to other club members, if you consistently make "computer moves".
Viewing Club Games in Real Time
If you want to watch an online game while it is being played by other club members, it is easy to do this on the chess.com website. Go to Play->Live Chess. On the right had side, there will be a row of icons on a grey background. One of them will be the "Friends" icon (two people in silhouette). Click on this icon, and you will get a list of your friends who are currently online. If they are currently playing, you can click on the name of either player followed by the "Observe Game" icon (which looks like a pair of binoculars) and you will then be viewing their game in real time. The resultant display shows the pieces on the board, the moves, and the state of the clocks; you can click on a move, or use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard, to move backwards or forwards through the game.
After the Game
After the game, if it is in a club competition one of you should post the result on the Club website Forum (under the topic "Arranged chess.com games"). Phil will then post the result on the club website. Once he has done that, you can submit the game to the club website games database (it is classified as a "club game", not an "ad-hoc game".
If you click on the icon which looks like a magnifying glass over a chessboard, the system will give you a very nice report on the game (under the "Report" tab), including the number of moves by each player in categories suchas "brilliant", "best", "inaccuracy", "mistake", "blunder". This repoort also includes a graph showing the balance of power after each move.
If you click on the icon with a downwards pointing arrow above a shallow rectangular tray, the PGN for the game will be sent to the Downloads folder in your computer. You can then open this PGN file, and, if you are submitting the game to the Club website database, copy it and past into the game submission form on the Club website.