1. Introduction

The AICCF Chess Server allows you to play against other members. The FIDE Laws of Chess meant for over the board play, apply for the basic laws of chess. However on the server, a player must follow the additional rules explained in this guide. Moves are made on a graphical chess board interface. Special rules for Silence (maximum number of days allowed for a single move) and Time Limit are applicable depending on the type of tournament (Normal, Rapid or Blitz).

You may freely consult chess software and chess databases while deciding your move.

2. Login

You can reach the server directly at www.aiccf-chess.com/server or go to www.aiccf-chess.com and click Go to the Chess Server page.

Click Home in the left pane. In the login box, enter Serial Number and Password (sent to you at the time of joining and also at the start of tournaments). Click . If you can't remeber your SrNo click Forgot Serial Number?. If you forgot your password, click Forgot password? and the password will be sent to you by email. Do not do this unless really necessary.

Browsers have a facility to store passwords. Do not use this from a public PC, and use it at home with discretion, because anyone with physical access to your computer will be able to send moves on your behalf.

You should not turn off JavaScript in your browser's settings. If you have no idea about JavaScript, just try to login and if it works, JavaScript is enabled.

3. The Logged-in Screen (Games-List Page)

After you login you will be taken to your Games-List Page. Here you will see menus allowing you to join a new tournament, change personal details, change password, change preferences, apply for leave, and download all your games in a PGN file (PGN is a standard file format. PGN files can be opened by chess software). Below that you will see a list of games waiting for your move and a list of games waiting for your opponent's move. Blitz games are marked by the rocket symbol , Rapid games are marked by the car symbol while Normal games are marked by the pedestrian symbol . Time calculations are now based on a 24-hour clock (earlier it was date based). This means that your elapsed time is zero for the first 24 hours, becomes 1 day after 24 hours, 2 days after 48 hours, and so on. In the games waiting for your move, the elapsed time, and days to time control are shown in the fifth and sixth columns. Note that these numbers show correctly just after you open this page, but will become inaccurate as time passes. There may also be a move arriving from an opponent at any moment. To get upto date information, click . To know the exact date and time the opponent sent a move, hold the mouse over one of the underlined areas in the first three columns and wait for a second. A small white box appears showing the precise time-stamp of the move. For example in the above picture the move 4...Nf6 arrived at 02:01:03 (1 min and 3 sec past 2 a.m.) on 6th June 2013. You must be careful while replying near the end of the Silence Period or close to the end of your time limit. By the time you actually transmit your move, if the Silence Period or Time Limit is crossed, the game will be lost. The Silence Period for Normal games is 40 days (if you are silent for 40 days the game is lost). For Rapid and Blitz games there is no Silence Period. The Time Limit for Normal games is 50 days/10 moves (for tournaments started before 13th June 2013 it was 60/10), for Rapid it is 20 days for the whole game with 2 days per move added and for Blitz it is 10 days for the whole game plus 1 day per move added. (See Time Limit for details).

4. Types of Tournaments

Computer chess engines can be used freely in Type A, Type B (at Normal, Rapid and Blitz rates of play), AICCF Championships and Thematic Tournaments. In Human Tournaments, use of computer chess engines is forbidden.

  • Type A
  • Round-Robin with 7 participants. Every player gets 6 games (3 with White and 3 with Black).

  • Type B
  • Double Round-Robin with 4 participants. Every player plays 2 games (1 with White and 1 with Black) against 3 opponents.

    Type A and B tournaments are started at Normal, Rapid and Blitz rates of play. See Time Limit for details.

  • AICCF Championships
  • AICCF Championships are Round-Robin with 15 participants. AICCF Championships are played at the Normal rate of play.

  • Thematic Tournaments
  • The first few moves of the game are fixed beforehand. Players are to continue the game from this point. At the end of the theme it could be either Black or White to move. Thematic Tournaments could be either Type A or B. They are at the Normal rate of play (50/10), however the move count starts from the first move played after the fixed moves.

  • Human Tournaments
  • In these tournaments, use of computer chess engines for analysis is forbidden. Bothe Type A and Type B tournaments are possible. The rate of play would be Normal.

    5. Join a New Tournament

    At the top of your Games-List Page a facility is provided for you to enlist in a new tournament. You can request a new tournament of type Normal, Rapid or Blitz. You can request for only 1 tournament of each type at a time, but after the requested tournament starts, you can ask for another. There is no limit to how many tournaments you can play simultaneously, but you are strongly advised to limit the number as otherwise quality of play will suffer. Particulary Blitz games take a lot of energy and require you to login and make moves at least once or twice a day. Note that Normal, Rapid and Blitz tournaments are themselves further divided into two categories, Type A (7-player, single game) and Type B (4-player, double game). You cannot offer a choice of Type A or Type B, this will be decided depending on the number of players waiting.

    To enlist in a tournament, click the Join button. When you do that, the Join button will change to Withdraw and at the same time the Challenge button in the next column will become active. The Players Waiting column will also increase by 1.

    After this you can click the Challenge button. This brings up the screen shown alongside, wherein you can decide which opponents you can Challenge, Avoid or be Neutral against. If you select Challenge it indicates that you would be very happy to play against this opponent. If you select Avoid, it indicates that you are not willing to play against this opponent. This could be due to any reason, for example you have already played many games against him, or perhaps the Rating difference is too large. The default setting is Neutral which indicates that you can play against this opponent if no other opponents are found. In the last column you can check if the opponent wants to Challenge, Avoid or be Neutral against you. Do not forget to click Update Changes before you leave this page.

    When you join a tournament, it is not allocated immediately. There is a minimum delay of 2 days. This gives you the chance to click Challege at any time and review the situation about the opponents you would like to be paired with. When the pairings are decided, preference will be given to mutual challenges and in no case will a match be made against a player selected as Avoid.

    At any time before the start of the tournament, you can click Withdraw to opt out.

    When a new tournament begins you will be informed by email. Moreover the games will show up immediately in your Games-List Page when you login to the server.

    (a) Start of a Normal Tournament
    In the case of Normal play tournaments, the email will reach you 8 days before the Start Date. You can start playing immediately and the time count remains zero until the Start Date.

    (b) Start of a Rapid Tournament
    In the case of Rapid play tournaments, the email will reach you only 3 days before the Start Date. You cannot start playing until the Start Date. You should remember to make your first moves on the Start Date, otherwise the lapsed time will be added to your time count.

    (c) Start of a Blitz Tournament
    In the case of Blitz play tournaments, the email will reach you only 1 day before the Start Date. You cannot start playing until the Start Date. You should remember to make your first moves on the Start Date, otherwise the lapsed time will be added to your time count. In case of Blitz Tournaments this can be critical, so please be vigilant.

    6. Making Your Move

    Select one of the games from the list of Games waiting for your move by clicking any of the first 3 columns (shown underlined). You will be taken to a new screen. Here you will see a graphical chess board with the current position, a box showing the game score, a box showing any message the opponent sent you and a box where you can type a message to send to your opponent. Position the mouse over the piece you want to move, depress the left button, drag to the destination square and release. The notation of the move will appear in the move box. If the move is illegal, the piece will be restored to its original square. If you made a mistake, click Undo otherwise click Submit. You will see the position once more. This is your last chance to correct any mistake (click Cancel). When you click Confirm, the move is accepted by the server and you cannot take it back, so be careful.

    You can now return to your main page and make moves against other opponents.

    In some cases the drag-and-drop interface (described above) does not work. We have tested and verified the software in current and recent versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. It works on any browser, and there are no special browser settings needed (except to ensure that Javascript is not disabled). However on touch screen devices (smart screen mobile phones and tablets), drag-and-drop does not work. If you are making your move from a mobile device and in rare cases if the drag-and-drop interface fails to work on your PC, you can Change your preferences and set Making moves to Typing instead of Drag-Drop. With this setting you can type the notation of your move (without move number) in the move box. There is another important point to remember in the drag-drop interface. When promoting a pawn (pawn moves to last rank), the software tries to open a new small window to select the promoted piece (Q, R, B or N). However the security settings on your browser may not allow a new window to open. In such a case, keep the Ctrl-key of your keyboard pressed while making the move with the mouse so as to temporarily bypass the security setting.

    7. Sending Messages

    Correspondence chess is not just about winning and losing. Conversation with the opponent can be interesting. We all remember playing CC by postcard and adding some personal details or comments about the game. This adds to the enjoyment of CC. On the webserver too you can send and read comments. In the game screen there is a box showing the last message sent by the opponent and a box below that where you can type a message. Always be polite in conversation. If you do not wish to converse, you can switch off this feature.

    To protect privacy, AICCF does not display the email address of opponents. If you wish to converse with your opponent by email (e.g. after the game is over), you can ask your opponent.

    8. Looking over Games Waiting for Opponent's Move

    Select one of the games from the list of Games Waiting for Opponent's Move by clicking any of the first 3 columns (shown underlined). You will see a graphical board along with the score of the game. By clicking on any move in the game score you can see that position. You can also navigate the game with the help of the buttons provided below the board.

    9. Email Notification

    Unless you turn off this option in Preferences, whenever an opponent makes his move, you will receive a message at your registered email address. Do not reply to this email. The only way to make your move is by the procedure outlined above.

    10. Silence

    For Rapid and Blitz games there is no Silence Period. The Silence Period for Normal games is 40 days. Days on which you were on leave are not counted in the Silence Period. You must respond to an opponent's move BEFORE the stipulated Silence Period. This also applies to your first move as White from the Tournament Start Date. If you fail to do so, the server will score the game as a loss for you and no appeal regarding this will be possible.

    When the opponent exceeds the Silence Period you do not have to claim a win, the game is automatically awarded to you by server action.

    11. Reminders

    In Rapid and Blitz games there are no reminders (there is also no silence period). In Normal games, if you are silent for 14 days a first reminder is sent by email. If you are silent for 30 days (i.e. a further 16 days), a second reminder will be sent. If you have taken leave, leave days are not included in the Silence Period. While every effort is made to ensure that reminders are sent, it cannot be guaranteed. Also, reminders can fail if you changed your email address, registered a wrong email address in Preferences or because of problems with your email service. The server will not repeat reminders. When a game is lost on grounds of silence, you cannot give an excuse of not having received reminders.

    12. The Clock

    All time calculations (for Silence and Time Limit considerations) are counted in days and not in hours-minuites-seconds. The clock time starts as soon as the move from the opponent arrives. For White's first move the clock starts at 00:00:00 on the starting day of the tournament. Elapsed days are counted as 0 if less than 24-hours have elapsed, 1 day if between 24 and 48-hours have elapsed, and so on.

    For games started before 13th June 2013, the clock is date-based,

    13. Time Limit

    If you cross the time limit, the game is lost. If your opponent crosses the Time Limit you do not have to claim a win, the game is automatically awarded to you by server action.

  • Normal Games
  • The time limit for Normal Games is 50 days per 10 moves (abbreviated 50/10). This means that your total time should not exceed 50 days upto move 10, 100 days upto move 20 and so on. In games started before 13th June 2013 the time limit for Normal games was 60/10). In Thematic Tournaments at the Normal rate of play, the time limit is the same (50/10). However the fixed moves of the theme are not included in the move count.

  • Rapid Games
  • The time limit for Rapid Games is 20 days for the whole game plus 2 days per move. Note that two days are added to your available time whenever you make a move ( Fischer clock). Example: On your 12th move your total time has to be less than 42 days, because you have 20 days plus 11 times 2 days which amounts to a total of 20 + (11 x 2) = 42 days.

  • Blitz Games
  • The time limit for Blitz Games is 10 days for the whole game plus 1 day per move. Note that one day is added to your available time whenever you make a move (Fischer clock). Example: On your 12th move your total time has to be less than 21 days, because you have 10 days plus 11 times 1 day which amounts to a total of 10 + (11 x 1) = 21 days.

    The server itself keeps track of your time count. On your Games-List Page, for each game you will find listed the Days to Time Control both for you and your opponent. In a Normal Game, suppose you have made 12 moves using 40 days. The server will display 60 days (100 minus 40) as the time left to the next time control which will arise at move 20. You will also find listed the Days Elapsed. This is based on the current date and date on which the opponent sent his move. When the days elapsed is still zero, the elapsed time in hours-minutes-seconds will be displayed.

    14. Tablebase Adjudication

    From 18 March 2014, a new rule is introduced. If a position is reached where the total number of men is 6 or less (counting pieces and pawns from both sides), the game will be stopped. All positions with 6-men or less are now completely solved and there is no point in allowing the game to continue. Tablebase positions can be found at several websites e.g. chessok.com, www.k4it.de, shredderchess.

    On reaching 6-men or less, you will see a notification. In your games list, the game will be marked Adjudication and it will no longer be possible to send further moves. There is no action required from your side. The software maintainer will check the position against the endgame database, without applying the 50-move rule, and score the game. While every effort will be put to adjudicate as soon as possible, a few days delay will not matter as the game would be stopped.

    Also from 18 March 2014, draws by the 50-move rule are abolished.

    15. When a game gets over

    When a game is completed it is taken off the lists. You will see a notice of completed games on your main page and you can click the Ok button that is next to it. The result will be automatically recorded and rated. There is no action required on your part for this.

    At any point you can click Cross Tables (a menu option in the left pane of the Home page) and check that a result is correctly registered. If you click that result in the cross table the game will be visible, and the full PGN file can be downloaded.

    16. Offer Draw, Accept Draw, Resign

    Notice the check boxes Offer Draw and Resign just above the Undo and Submit buttons, below the graphical board.

    If you wish to make a draw offer, tick the Offer Draw box. You must still make a move. A draw offer will be transmitted along with your move. If your opponent has offered a draw, you will see a prominent message to that effect below the graphical board and the usual check box, Offer Draw will be replaced by Accept Draw.

    If you want to decline the offer, simply make your next move. But if you want to accept the offer, tick Accept Draw, without making a move then click Submit, followed by OK and Confirm.

    To resign in a game, tick the Resign box. Then click Submit and Confirm without making a move.

    In both cases the game is completed.

    17. Draw by Perpetual Check, Repetition of Moves, Stalemate

    (a) If it is your move and you think that the opponent has given check in exactly the same position for the third time, or repeated the position for the third time, you can claim a draw. Tick one of the boxes (Pp.ch, Repetition) that you see below the graphical board. Click Submit and Confirm without making any move.

    (b) If you think that your next move will be a check in exactly the same position for the third time, or will repeat the position for the third time, you can claim a draw. In this case you must make the move on the board and simultaneously tick one of the boxes (Pp.ch, Repetition) below the graphical board before clicking Submit and Confirm.

    Carefully note the difference between (a) and (b). To claim a draw under (a) you must not make a move, otherwise the claim will be considered under (b) and if invalid the move will stand and the game will continue. These rules differ only slightly from over-the-board play.

    The server will examine your claim and if found correct, the game will end.

    (c) Stalemate
    When a stalemate position is reached, the server will automatically record a draw. In case this process fails, send an email to DrAmbargmail.com.

    (d) Dead drawn positions
    There are positions (e.g. a deadlocked position with several pieces) in which theoretically mate is possible, but to continue the game is a sheer waste of time. In such cases, if the opponent does not accept a draw, you can appeal by sending an email to the Tournament Administrator, Dr. Alok Saxena (aloks279gmail.com), with copy to A.Chatterjee (DrAmbargmail.com). This is one of the few instances where human intervention is needed.

    The 50 move rule has been abolished (since 18 March 2014). Instead, tablebase adjudication has been introduced.

    18. Visibility of the game to others

    While a game is going on, only the two players can see the game. When the game is completed it becomes visible to everyone (by the Cross Table option mentioned above). This is unlike the ICCF server where (for some tournaments) there is an option for public view of ongoing games with a lag of a certain number of moves.

    19. Taking Leave, Cancelling Leave, Modifying Leave

    (a) Taking Leave

    To take leave, select Leave in Webserver Tournaments. The tournaments you are playing in will be listed. Enter the From and To dates and click Take Leave. The server will inform you of the leave balance. Repeat this if you need leave in more than 1 tournament.

    (b) Cancelling Leave

    If the leave period has not yet started, go to the leave page and click Cancel Leave.

    (c) Extending or Shortening the Leave

    If the leave period has started you can modify the Leave To date in order to extend or shorten the leave period.

    20. View and Update Your Personal Data

    This is the first menu option on your Games-List Page. You should use this to confirm that your Email address, telephone numbers and postal address are correctly recorded. In case of any error, or change please edit your data and click Update Records. It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that the correct data is recorded. If your email address is incorrect you wont receive email notifications and reminders and if the postal address is incorrect, the Bulletin posted by the Bulletin Editor wont reach you. Please ensure that the phone numbers are correct, though it is not normally needed for us to contact you by telephone. All the data appearing here are private and not visible to other members.

    21. Change your Password

    This is the second menu option on your Games-List Page. When you start your first tournament, you will be given a password. At any point, especially if you feel that your password may have become known to others, you should change your password. Passwords must be 6-12 characters long and consist only of alphabets, numerals and underscores. Example: My_Code_2 or Chess_3321. Try to avoid easy passwords, or else someone else can make your moves!

    22. Change Your Preferences

    This is another option on the Games-List Page.

    (a) Board Size
    Set the size of the graphical board to Small, Medium or Large (default is Small).

    (b) Board Style
    There are two piece styles available Ordinary and Fancy.

    (c) Board Perspective
    Board perspective refers to how the board will be viewed. The default is Player in which the board is displayed from the player's point of view. You can change this to Opponent, White or Black if you want.

    (d) EMail Notification
    Set EMail Notification to Yes or No (default is Yes). If EMail Notification is on, whenever the opponent sends a move, you will receive an email message. Reminders are always sent irrespective of this setting.

    (e) Opponent Chat
    Set Opponent Chat to Allow or Block (default is Allow). Setting to Block disables messages to/ from all opponents (See Messages).

    (e) Making moves
    The default setting is Drag-Drop. If you are sending your move from a touch-screen device such as mobile phone/tablet PC or if Drag and Drop is not working, change to Typing. If Typing is selected, the notation of the move to be transmitted must be typed (without move number) in the move box. If Drag-Drop is selected, moves are to be made by mouse.

    (f) Introduction
    Erase the line --Type your introduction here-- and type a few words about yourself in the box provided.

    After setting or changing your preferences, please click the button Update Preferences.

    23. Downloading PGN Files

    You can download a PGN file containing all your ongoing games by selecting Download PGN of all ongoing games from the menu of your Games-List Page.

    To download the PGN file for only one game, click the Get buttons that you see on your Games-List Page.

    24. Logging out and System Security

    After you have finished you can click Logout in the left pane and close the browser window. Even if you close the browser window directly, the system will log you out after some time. When using a public PC ensure that you do not go away without logging out.

    25. Miscellaneous

    (a) Broken Connections
    If connection to the server is suddenly broken due to problems with your internet, problems with your PC, virus, power failure etc., it does not matter, the server will log you out. If a move has been sent it would be recorded correctly. And if it has not been sent you can send it again later. One can continue normally after the problem is corrected, or from another computer at any time. The one situation to avoid is to make multiple logins, like opening 2 browser windows from the same computer, or using several computers at the same time.

    (b) Problems, Appeals, Difficulties
    If you notice any problem with the behaviour of the webserver or have any kind of difficulty, report the matter at once to the Software Developer, A.Chatterjee DrAmbargmail.com with copy to the Tournament Administrator, Dr Alok Saxena aloks279gmail.com. Appeals against any automatic action taken by the webserver should also be addressed to the same persons. If not satisfied with the reply, you should contact members of the AICCF Management Committee.

    (c) Conditional Moves

    It is not possible to send conditional moves on our server.

    (d) Server Outage

    The AICCF Chess Server is located at Ohio, USA and managed by QualiSpace which has a good record. No system can run with 100% uptime. If at any point you experience difficulties in logging in or sending your move, just try again after some time. If there are continued problems, please contact A.Chatterjee DrAmbargmail.com.

    If the system goes down for a long period we will manually compensate the lost days. We have faced this situation only once so far (3 March 2012). There was also a major problem in December 2012 (erratic server), but we did not need to compensate any lost days.

    26. Ratings

    Ratings are calculated every month. The Rating Lists are named by year and month, e.g. 2013-12 is the Rating List for December 2013. Ratings are based on results during the previous month. The ratings for 2013-12 depend on a player's performance during November 2013. Starting from a player's rating in the previous period (or 800 in case of a new player), points are added or subtracted for each result according to the table below. The rating difference is based on players' old ratings (also called frozen rating) of the previous period. If the player with the higher rating wins, then the number of points shown in the column "High Wins" is added to his frozen rating and the same number of points is subtracted from the opponent's rating. In case the lower rated player wins, he gains the number of points shown in the column "Low Wins" while the opponent loses the same number. For a drawn game, the higher rated player loses the number of points shown in the column "Draw" and the lower rated player gains the same.

    High WinsLow WinsDraw
    0-20 1616 0
    21-401517 1
    41-601418 2
    61-801319 3
    81-1001220 4
    101-1201121 5
    121-1401022 6
    141-160 923 7
    161-180 824 8
    181-200 725 9
    201-220 62610
    221-240 52711
    241-260 42812
    261-280 42913
    281-300 43014
    301-320 43215
    321-340 43416
    341-360 33617
    361-380 33818
    381-400 34019
    >401 34420
    We consider an example of Player A who has a rating of 886 and has 6 results. His new rating would be calculated as shown below:

    Player: A, Previous Rating: 886

    ent's Rating
    101.11.20134401Player A - Opponent B1-05922944
    209.11.20134378Opponent C - Player A1-0102413810
    313.11.20131511Opponent D - Player ADraw913271
    422.11.20134405Player A - Opponent E0-140048644
    526.11.20137427Opponent G - Player A0-1121633034
    630.11.20137421Opponent G - Player ADraw873130

    Net Points Lost: 54-39=15 New Rating: 886-15=871