Sunday, March 08, 2020

Still dreaming: Local Internet Chess Server

Posted by GilaChess

If someone described me a procrastinator and dreamer, they are so right!

Talked about "wanting" to do this - setting up a local (Malaysian or at least Asia based) chess playing webserver for many years now. Wrote about the Holy Grail of Installing Chess Servers in 2016. Nothing has happened since then.

The obvious questions is why on earth would anyone want to compete with the already established chess webservers like Lichess, Playchess,, ICC and FICC?

Here are the reasons why:

1. It's possible
Just like Nike's slogan "Just Do It", it can and should be attempted just because it's possible!
LICHESS, one of the most popular online playing platform is open source. The games played just surpassed 1 billion the beginning of this year. Anyone with motivation and knowledge can take the source code and build their own version of LICHESS. The installation process is documented at github.

2. Local equals fast
LICHESS itself is hosted in France in 3 separate servers. Distance matters. For Malaysians, the ping rate is higher because of the distance. What this means is that there is a slight delay for moves to be transmitted and played on the game server. The delay is relatively small but serious chess players will notice it particularly if they are playing fast chess like bullet chess. If there is a LICHESS installation in Malaysia, the ping rate will be fast and the experience of almost instantaneous response in the game play will definitely make it a more enjoyable experience.

3. Open source equals modifiable

Programmers can modify and add new features to the server. Eg: interactive rooms for chess coaching, custom local tournaments etc. The possibilities are endless.

Please don't wait for me to do this (for obvious reasons). Anyone out there want to take this challenge and implement a local chess server?

Also with the current COVID19 crisis, it emphasises the importantce of online facilities like a chess server.