lichess.org

Horsey Advent Calendar

lichess.org

Advent Calendar of Lichess

Lichess
Introducing a different Lichess contributor each day for the 25 days of advent.

There's plenty more than 25 people in the Lichess team, thank you to all our contributors and happy holidays!

Day 25 - @Nikonoel

Tell us a little about yourself?
I am Nico Noël, proud to be one of the latest additions (October 2022) to the moderation team!

What do you do at Lichess?
I spend most of my online time on Lichess: When I am not giving chess classes (the Lichess study feature is a game changer), playing blitz or updating the Lichess Elite Database, I hunt rating manipulators on Lichess. They mostly lose games on purpose, spoiling the fun for the other players... I guess because reasons?! Anyway I have my fun taking care of these cases.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
I ditched FICS for Lichess in January 2016 which is pretty late but it got me hooked right away! A dear aunt of mine convinced me to donate to Lichess since I cared so much about it. She is the reason I got my wings as a christmas present back in 2017! I consider that my first involvement with Lichess.

What other interests do you have?
There is no doubt that chess has been my only true passion in the last 25+ years (I am mostly an OTB player) but I also like growing my own food and I am in the process of planting a forest. I also enjoy sports, mostly weightlifting and running.

What is your main employment?
My true bosses are my young children but I left a career in online marketing last year to focus entirely on chess coaching and teaching. I am enjoying it so far! I love inspiring my students and take them to new heights.
Nico!

Day 24 - Cham

What do you do at Lichess?
I do a few different things. I’m primarily an admin dealing in appeals and other reports, but I also help run the discord server, and I also dabble in the merch store. (Watch this space...) I also am the creator of Horsey!

How long have you been part of the team?
I’ve been a part of the discord since 2019, which is where I started as a mod. After that, I was invited to help with the site as well, and I’ve been an admin since 2020.

Where are you from?
I’m from the UK, and I live with my fiancé, my best friend, and our cat.

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
Whilst I love playing chess, it’s not something I take very seriously and I’ve never actually played any over-the-board tournaments. I think it’s pretty funny I ended up working at a chess site given that I’ve barely ever played it in real life! in my day-to-day life I’m primarily involved in the arts. My day job involves painting dolls, making their eyes, and making their wigs. My primary hobbies include playing the piano, making miniatures, and writing. My educational background is pretty humanities-focused too and I wrote my dissertation on sociolinguistics.

Day 23 - @cormacobear

What do you do at Lichess?
I am part of the moderation team focused on communications, complicated cases, teams issues and the Discord. I was recruited about 3 years ago.

Tell us a little more about yourself?
I work for my local Municipality in western Canada. I enjoy hiking, hunting and fishing when i'm not at work or working on the site. I am happily married for more than 20 years. I began playing chess about seven years ago and am still quite bad.

What is your favourite Reindeer?
I'd have to say wild Canadian Caribou.

Day 22 - @loepare

What do you do at Lichess?
I am part of the Lichess content team, where, as you might have already guessed, I create content, together with other great people. That includes as a big part broadcasts, So I'm one of the guys jumping in a broadcast which isn't working while thousands are waiting to watch their favorite player playing.
But that's probably the most dramatic and exciting thing, otherwise broadcasting also includes getting in contact with organizers, certain technical things and writing descriptions.
I also do help with our video- and streaming-content section, setting up official Lichess streams, editing YouTube videos and moderating twitch chats. Other than that, I reveal my unqualified opinion in relation to general strategic organizational topics.

How long have you been part of the team?
I joined the team in January this year, so I am one of the newest, but the team atmosphere is great, so I never felt left out in comparison to those who are there for many years.

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I like doing some music, working out, meeting with friends and just enjoying life!

What's your favorite chess opening?
My favorite Chess Opening is actually the Queen's Gambit, not because of the Netflix show, it's just the only opening I am capable of playing a bit. I am really bad at theory though, I think I’m just like Magnus, going with my gut (somehow works out worse than when Magnus does it).

How long have you been playing chess?
I learned playing chess from my grandfather when I was 4 years old, although I never played actively until the age of 16.

Do you play OTB chess?
Very rarely with friends, not in a club and I never played an OTB-tournament, I am just an online-chess-guy. I would love to play in OTB-tournaments one day, though.

What's your favorite Lichess memory?
There are many, the best was probably the FIDE Candidates Tournament, when our broadcast had more than 20k viewers which showed that our work really matters which is a great feeling!

Who is someone you admire?
Everybody in the Lichess Team! They are all sacrificing their free time to volunteer although they all have busy lives which unfortunately doesn't happen very often these days and should be appreciated.

Day 21 - Michael

What do you do at Lichess?
These days I do a bit of everything, but mostly I help with writing blog posts, moderating our community Discord server and taking part in general strategy discussions and administration for the many various projects the team undertakes. I started out as a moderator (fair play and communication), and over the years have helped out with data visualisation, finances, recruitment and even the occasional bit of coding that made it into Lichess.

How long have you been part of the team?
Just over 5 years now, and I had to check the log of when permissions were added to my account to be sure time flies! I hope to be an active part of the team for the foreseeable future as well!

How did you get involved with Lichess?
I started out joining the Lichess4545 league (shout-out to Lichess4545.com) which is a 45+45 one game per week online league. I volunteered to help run things after playing for a few seasons and got to know several members of the main Lichess team (at the time 4545 was a separate entity). Eventually, one of them asked me if I'd be interested in helping out with Lichess more generally and the rest is history! People often ask how they can become a moderator for Lichess and the answer is here, but contributing to Lichess in other ways first is a common theme among the moderators, simply for the love of the site. And if someone contributes without ever getting asked about being a moderator, at least the time was still well spent.

What causes are you passionate about?
It would probably be strange for me not to mention here: free open source software! I think a lot of people in the world are tired of being a commodity and having their data used without their permission or knowledge but it's just not a priority and there's other things to worry about. Software like Signal, Linux, the recently-in-the-news Mastodon, is inspiring to me as a way humanity should operate. The primary reason I love to volunteer for Lichess is less about chess (although I do play quite a lot) and more about supporting an organisation that doesn't need to take advantage of its users in order to thrive. That's maybe a little preachy but hey, this is a meet the team what did you expect!

Day 20 - Lucas

What do you do at Lichess?
I wear two Lichess hats. I'm the President of the French charity, where I work with other trustees on managing the charity on the administrative level. I'm also the main sysadmin at Lichess, ensuring our servers run smoothly. My third hat is that today is my birthday! Thank you for the cake Lichess!

How long have you been part of the team?
I joined the team in 2016, after asking Thibault too many annoying technical questions whenever there was an outage, so he put me in charge of the servers and the monitoring stack to stop me from asking those annoying questions (and also to reduce the number of outages, but that's clearly secondary).

Tell us a little more about yourself?
I'm from Lyon, France, well known for being the capital of good food and impartiality, and my favourite opening is of course 1.e4, when I find time to play chess.

Day 19 - Lorenz

Tell us about yourself?
Ciao! I am Lorenz (G-Lorenz for GitHub and Lichess' databases...) and I am a 27 y.o. from Italy. I'm a member of the broadcasting team since August 2022.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
It all started with a cod. Of course I'm not talking about the salted cod I'd like to cook from time to time, but about a dried cod: Stockfish! In 2021 ChessBase commercialized a Stockfish clone named Fat Fritz 2 from which started a lawsuit recently ended in an agreement. I was already a Linux user, but without any knowledge about licensing and hardly able to distinguish from "freeware" and "free software". After the first news, I started exploring the free software world, embracing its philosophy and starting contributing when possible. I joined Lichess (as a player) in March 2021, and few months later I had my first merged commit in the stockfish source code. In September 2021 I successfully managed to set up my own lila-dev and I wrote few bugfixes for Lichess.

Do you play OTB?
I LOVE OTB! I'm an OTB player, even though not that active nowadays. I like to follow tournaments, and that spurred me to point out in Discord every not-so-minor tournament I was aware of, especially in Italy. I pointed out tournaments so often that they invite me to join the team. Now I can set up official broadcasts and do an easy babysitting (for some pathological cases the experience and the powers of senior broadcasters is needed). I am also a columnist for an Italian chess blog.

What other hobbies or interests do you have?
Outside the 64 squares, I have an education background in theoretical physics, reminded to me every time I met PhDs at Comic Convenctions.

Day 18 - @FS-Schach

What do you do at Lichess?
So of course I play chess on Lichess. Furthermore I am in the "content team" Others already explained what the content team in general does. And well we have different jobs, some are broadcasters, others are blog-writers and so on. And well I started my job here as broadcaster as well. Now I am retired from broadcasting events and my main job is leading the Lichess Racing Kings team (I also helped out as Tournament director in the Racing Kings World Championship 2022.)

How long have you been part of the team?
I joined the team in summer 2021 so I am now for almost one and a half year a member, so yeah, I am not that long in the team.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
Actually I never had the idea of working for Lichess when I joined it. Covid-19 made a lot of bad things for my life, probably it was mostly bad for everyone. But despite the many disadvantages it also made me joining Lichess. I joined an OTB club in the summer of 2019 and through Covid-19 also the club had to close at least for a while, so our club started meeting here on Lichess. And well that's the whole story :-)

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I guess I like cycling, hiking and sports in general.

Where are you from?
I am from Germany!

What's your favourite reindeer?
Every time I read this question I have to smile somehow. So if I may guess most people would probably say Rudolph. I also thought about saying Rudolph because it is the first reindeer coming up in my mind. But nah, that's too easy and I probably like Comet out of the "The Santa Clause" movies most, because it is sympathetic to me (when it ate all the sweets some of you maybe now which scene I mean if you don't it doesn't matter to be honest^^)

What's your favourite chess opening?
Hmm, I don't have one. I enjoy 1.e4 with white and 1.e4 e5 with black... But what I don't like are positinal openings, I always want to go for tactics and open/offensive games.

How long have you been playing chess?
I know the rules for 10 - 12 years now already but I really play chess only for 2 or 3 years.

Do you play OTB chess?
Yeah! I love OTB chess. It is much more fun than online chess for me. Especially in the last days I pass a lot of weekends with OTB chess. And I hope there will be OTB Racing Kings tournaments once, it would be really fun.

What's your favourite Lichess memory?
I've spent a lot of time on thinking if I should answer like this, but I think I can or even should answer like this. So, I got warned one time by Lichess for using offensive language and so on. I appealed and some days later Lichess answered me "Please ignore the previous message, it was sent mistakenly." And this is now not meant to make fun of Lichess. It just shows that the work done by Lichess is work done by humans and all humans make mistakes. And if you did a mistake be straight and stand up for it. It happens. It was important for me to tell you this :-)

Who is someone you admire?
Some people might say Magnus Carlsen, other would say Hans Niemann and so on. But I won't say a name. I have to thank all the people at my OTB club for never giving me up. I have to thank Lichess for all the nice days and for making me a content creator. I have to thank the Racing Kings community who prevented me from quitting Racing Kings when I was on tilt. I have to thank my real life friends for always being there. I have to thank my family for being my family. I have to thank so many people for so many things. I know I didn't answer this question to 100%, but I think in some way I admire so many people
those people I mentioned above, but also other.
Merry Christmas to you all! :-)

Day 17 - Moritz

What do you do at Lichess?
My main focus is on chat and forum moderation on the website. Sometimes I am involved in moderation of our discord server as well. And I guess being member of the lichess4545 moderator team and being involved in the development of the lichess4545 software also counts.

How long have you been part of the team?
I have been added to the Lichess team 2 years ago.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
I joined the lichess4545 league and at some point I started helping out with the organization of the lonewolf and 4545 team league. I met a few Lichess moderators there who offered me to join the team. For Lichess I started with moderation of public chats and timing out people who were not nice. A bit later I joined the fair play moderators.

Where are you from?
I was born in Berlin at a time when Berlin was still divided by the wall. During my teens I moved to a small village in Lower Saxony. These days I am living with my children, my wife, and our dog in southern Germany.

What causes are you passionate about?
"Passionate" is a strong word for someone like me, but I certainly have a soft spot for some things Lichess stands for. I love that Lichess provides equal access to all features to everyone regardless of monetary wealth. I love that we are working hard on creating a place where everyone can feel save, regardless of their background. I am excited that as a member of the Lichess team as well as the lichess4545 team I have the chance to take part in creating spaces that people enjoy being in and spend time on their hobby. And I find it great that so many of you feel the same and create those spaces with us as members of this great community.

Do you play OTB chess?
I had not touched a real chess piece for more than a decade, but recently one of my children developed some interest in chess and now and then we are playing a short game.

Day 16 - @Zebra9876543210

What do you do at Lichess?
My main focuses are communications and fair play. I have been part of the team since October 2020. I got involved with the team because someone who I know is a moderator for another site and they invited me to Lichess. We played the same game on the other site for many years.

What other hobbies do you have?
I like programming (mostly JavaScript and writing mods in Lua) and playing a game called Warzone (a risk-like strategy game). I learnt chess as a child and played it during school breaks. I didnt really persue getting better beyond knowing how pieces move until the pandemic came and Queen Gambit was released and wanted to get back into the game. I like giving a hand here and there.

Day 15 - Jens

What do you do at Lichess?
I am part of the moderation team focused on communication, besides I am organizing the Lichess Bundesliga on Thursdays and Sundays (as well as the recently new created Rapid League on Mondays with @Ensemo) and take care of many of posts of the Lichess' Social Media accounts.

How long have you been part of the team?
I was asked by Lichess to take care of communication for the Lichess Bundesliga at the middle of 2020 and shortly afterwards got involved into all communication parts across Lichess. As I enjoyed the process of helping Lichess and giving something back to the site, on which I actively played since the end of December 2013, I got more and more involved and thankfully got the opportunity to create content for Lichess' Social Media.

What's your favourite reindeer?
Stantler (Pokémon) :)

What's your favorite chess opening?
1.e4 ("Best by test" according to Bobby Fischer) as White and King's Indian & Sicilian as Black.

How long have you been playing chess?
My brother Tobias (an International Master) took me to the local chess club SpVgg Rommelshausen (near Stuttgart, Germany) in 2001 from where it all started and ever since I still play actively OTB.

What's your favorite Lichess memory?
The announcement that the back then called "Quarantine League" becomes the official "Lichess Bundesliga" for which I am still very grateful.

What causes are you passionate about?
Giving something back to the community and be the change you want to see in the world.

Who is someone you admire?
My girlfriend and everyone involved in the Lichess team who spend lots of their free time and give their everything to make "Free chess, for everyone, forever." possible.
Jens!

Day 14 - Pranjal

Tell us about yourself?
I'm Pranjal, I help with broadcasts and fairplay, I joined the Lichess team in July 2021. I am from India, and work as a data analyst as a professional.

What about with chess?
I have been playing chess on and off for around 10 years, e4 is my favourite opening for white and usually d5/f5 for black. I play OTB time to time, but have yet to participate in a FIDE tournament waiting to get my rating whenever I get a chance.

What other hobbies do you have?
I love to play games, especially puzzle games; on the lookout for the next Portal mod (reloaded was amazing and highly recommended!).

What's your favourite Lichess memory?
Watching so many people enjoy broadcasts, and being with the great team we have! :D

Day 13 - Theo

How long have you been part of the team and what do you do at Lichess?
I've had my Lichess account for 10 years, discovered via a French friend, and been part of the team for eight years. I made my first contributions to Lichess when I was studying Russian and History at UCL, doing some (probably very inaccurate) translations to the site. I began also helping the moderation and fair play team, but took a short break to focus on my Law degree. I came back to the team and volunteered pro bono legal experience, while working in the regulatory and compliance sector in London, my home city. I began doing necessary administrative "evils" for Lichess, such as a data protection audit to prepare for GDPR, and financial work. More broadly, I also help in content, communications, the internal organisation, and strategy. During the pandemic and subsequent chess boom I was fortunate enough to be offered to work for Lichess, doing something I love, with an inspiring and talented team, for an amazing community.

What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I mainly work with the trustees and within various committees to carry out both short-term and long-term tasks and projects for Lichess. At the moment, I have about seven different long-term projects on the go across various areas of Lichess. I'm really driven by much of what Lichess represents, in particular that a great website and service can be made, survive, and flourish without commodifying its users or their data. These days, not being a commodity (or more accurately, your data) feels like stumbling across an online oasis in a digital desert.

What are your other interests?
Outside of chess, and Lichess, I enjoy reading, writing (I hope to publish something one day), music (both listening and amateurly playing), hiking, and kayaking. My study of Russian has left its mark, with a particular enjoyment for the Russian greats in both literature and music (Цой жив!). I'm also interested in where technology, law, and philosophy intersect as well as digital transformation generally, and occasionally voluntarily consult or act as an external director to other charities, public benefit corporations, and social enterprises in these areas.
Theo!

Day 12 - @Toadofsky

What do you do at Lichess?
I sometimes write code, but mostly help read the feedback forum. Years ago I contributed Multi-Variant Stockfish now superceded by @ubdip's Fairy-Stockfish (credit at https://lichess.org/source). Developers enjoy adding features, although in recent years I've tried to keep my impulses in check since every feature weighs into maintenance costs.

How long have you been part of the team? How did you get involved with Lichess?
In 2014 I asked in Lichess' IRC server if we could collaborate on an engine which analyzes and plays variant games. I focused on developing the engine, and Lichess managed builds and deployments. Subsequently I collaborated on variant development, rules adjustments, and endgame bugfixes.

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
Shogi, piano, classical music, and recently riichi mahjong; and sometimes developing Lishogi.org. Follow https://lichess.org/@/Toadofsky/blog and my social media to catch my livestreams!

Where are you from? Do you play OTB chess?
Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois; after winning the Frosh-Soph State Open, I captained my high school team. Recently I joined the Downers Grove Chess Club, who subsequently won the Chicago Industrial Chess League. Rick Rysso chronicles my and others' stories in his documentary Chess State (2014), where during an interview I forgot to mention how immensely supportive the Abrams and other families were.

What's your favourite chess opening?
Almost every time NM @ZugAddict offers a simul, I play the Vienna Game, Frankenstein-Dracula variation. I used to like the Italian Opening, Moller Attack, but it's dubious... I expected Insights to suggest I favor all openings equally, but apparently that is untrue.

What causes are you passionate about?
Free software! Stallman explains better than I can the difference betwen "free software" versus "open source" software. Long live the Free Software Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation! Shogi: an international shogi community is slowly growing, and servers, applications, etc. are gradually reaching parity with chess. GM Kaufman wrote an excellent article comparing the games; I'm glad to find a game I can enjoy without deep opening memorization. Learning and education: I used to teach a summer chess course, and I am glad to see https://lichess.org/study and https://lichess.org/video help people teach & learn how to learn. Accessibility: I briefly collaborated on https://github.com/tspivey/pokecrystal-access and am glad to see free software empower users with special needs.

What's your background?
I studied computer science during college since I believed technology skills would give me the greatest ability to help the most people. These days I design, develop, integrate, and support transportation systems software.

What's your favourite Lichess memory?
Lichess developed a brilliant feature "Learn from your mistakes" and subsequently accepted some of my suggestions (again, I'm trying to rein in my impulses since although we all enjoy features, maintenance costs never end): - Change "learn from your mistakes" and game analysis to focus on mistakes in critical positions, years before AlphaZero and Stockfish 15.1 started pinning evaluations to win rate instead of centipawns - Add thematic (opening) arenas! - Tweak the rating system and leaderboards to reduce unsupported cheating accusations and improve predictive accuracy of ratings - Add syzygybases to server-side analysis (not entirely my idea) - Add blindfold puzzles! - Add pentatonic sound theme (I floundered trying to implement this) - Lichess 1.0 "full screen" boards were enormous, more comfortable than the 2.0 release boards. I look forward to getting a digital board working for greater comfort as I try to enlarge "full screen" boards again. I am impressed JannLee, Yasser, and other top players enjoy analyzing with and even sparring against Fairy-Stockfish. Livestreaming a Lichess broadcast of the 2nd CCVA Championship (MVSF versus Mosca's Imortal) was exhilarating, watching crazyhouse at a level we'd never seen before. Thanks to Lichess, to @ubdip, and to Mosca for bringing this all together. I am also impressed how extensible Lichess is! Players can use Stylus and GreaseMonkey/TamperMonkey to easily beautify their user experience with userstyles and userscripts instead of having to figure out how to develop browser extensions. Also, https://rubenwardy.com/lichess_widgets/ and other Lichess API-based clients are easy to develop.

Who is someone you admire?
Everyone admires Thibault and his ability to put any issue into perspective. Musically, David Lanz has written many calm pieces which I've listened to countless times.

Day 11 - Rahulan

What do you do at Lichess?
Hi! I’m Rahulan and I’m from the UK. I first joined the Lichess team in the summer of 2020 to help out with site moderation, but nowadays I mostly help manage Lichess’s finances while chiming in on various administrative and strategic issues and offering moderation support when I can. I’m also the Treasurer of the Lichess.org association, about which I co-authored a recent official blog: Taking Lichess to the Next Level.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
My chess story began relatively recently. After learning the rules in primary school, I was happy to play the game sporadically and unseriously for years before finally resolving to try to get better by signing up for the Lichess4545 leagues in 2018 to play some proper classical games. But all it took was a few, and I’ve been bewitched ever since. I now help run some of the leagues (see our overview) and I publish reports after each league season with stats and whimsically named awards (Lichess4545 Statistics)). I also play OTB chess in various leagues for west London’s finest, Hammersmith ️. As for whether I’ve actually improved my game...well, I’d like to think that these things take time.

What is your main employment?
By day, I work as an economist for the UK government, focusing on how to assess the impacts of transport projects. It's kinda my jam, but I won't bore you with the details.

What are your other interests?
Outside of chess, I like to cook, bake, read (especially short stories, history, and creative nonfiction), tell stories with data (see my 4545 match stories), and play/follow various sports. Lately, I’ve been trying to improve my golf game, albeit from an embarrassingly low starting point. However, I fear that golf and chess improvement might be equally quixotic, so whatever I do I'm still tilting at windmills.

Day 10 - Ben

What do you do at Lichess?
I go by Ben, brollin, or rook_the_cook and I'm a developer for Lichess. Over the past year I've been able to build upon the amazing work of other Lichess developers and contribute major improvements/occasional bugs to the coordinate trainer, GIF generation for games/positions, the keyboard input, and the game lobby. Lately, I've had less time for coding but hang out regularly in discord. Long term, I'd like to continue contributing features, improve the developer experience, and generally help Lichess grow as an organization.

How long have you been part of the team?
I have been on the team for close to one year, but I expect to be around for much longer! At first it was exhilarating to be able to contribute in any capacity to free and open source software (FOSS), but as I stick around for longer I've found that the vibrant Lichess community is just as compelling a reason to keep coming back.

How long have you been playing chess?
I played chess a little bit with my dad and brother growing up. It was in 2017 that I became aware of Lichess thanks to my buddy Milo and began developing my trademark style of blundering away winning positions. When I came down with a nerve injury in 2020, I suddenly couldn't use a computer keyboard, but found that I could play chess on my phone. This is when I started playing A LOT of chess, basically joining the COVID/Queen's Gambit waves. I credit a lot of my improvement to watching various chess streams on Twitch - shoutout to Gauri!

How did you get involved with Lichess?
Because of my nerve injury in 2020, I couldn't use a keyboard or mouse and went on disability for over a year. In 2021 I eventually discovered a way of controlling my computer completely by voice that would allow me to continue programming, but I needed something to work on. Lichess was the natural choice! I started out small, adding a button to studies. I was encouraged by my interactions with Thibault (fellow code golfer/man of culture) & Benedikt (fellow Ben/fixer of my bugs), and by early 2022 I was contributing regularly and joined the team. Fun fact: every line of code that I have contributed to Lichess I have written with my voice!
Ben!

<strong>Totally candid photo of me with a very special Horsey made by my friend Jeff (Horsey designed by @cham of course!)</strong>

Day 9 - Chris (aka @Nojoke)

What do you do at Lichess?
I do things connected to content and community. Social Media, Twitch/Youtube, Blogs, Site documentation, organizing events and answering a lot of emails.

How long have you been part of the team?
This was hard to answer! I "joined" before things were so formally defined. After checking emails/messages, it seems my first contact with Thibault was in 2015.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
I was a chess streamer before anybody was watching chess streams. A random viewer convinced me to try Lichess, later on I was asked to help beta-test the study feature. My involvement slowly grew over many years.

What is your main employment or schooling?
Before working for Lichess I was mostly a chess coach working with local kids, something I've done for almost 20 years now.

What causes are you passionate about?
I've volunteered for various charities over the years. Most of them connected to helping immigrants or the unhoused. I strongly believe in building community organizations that exist to serve people instead of making money.

Tell us about your family?
I've been married for 13 years and I have a 9-year old daughter

Day 8 - @Natso

What do you do at Lichess - Mostly moderation also the original reason I got asked to join the team. For the rest do some boring administrative work behind the scenes and look over some variant communities. Like I have been helping organising the Racing Kings World Championship for a couple of years now.

How long have you been part of the team - It's been 2 to 3 years now. You need more people when Lichess triples in size during the lockdowns. It was certainly hectic back then, even if everything is way larger now. Still miss those modathons that we had to do just to keep up with the reports you have been sending us :p

How did you get involved with Lichess - In 2015 I was looking for a gratis opening explorer. Then found Lichess! Only it did not work on Firefox for me somehow, so I didn't make an account. Didn't know yet why that single club member that only played on Lichess was so enthusiastic about it. Then 2 years later I finally made an account. For the first time I started playing a lot online. Must be that superior UX. Also got into variants during that period.

Day 7 - Benedikt

What do you do at Lichess?
I'm a developer, working mostly on the Lichess website but also on various internal tools for moderation, tournament organization, etc. Besides that, I also spend a fair amount of time answering support questions on the Lichess Discord or sometimes also in the forum.

How long have you been part of the team?
Looks like my first accepted commit to the Lichess code base was in March 2021, so a bit over 1.5 years ago. I "officially" joined the Lichess team roughly three months and about 100 commits later, in June of that year.

What's your main schooling?
As maybe expected for a developer, I'm currently studying Computer Science at the Technical University of Munich (and have been doing so for the past few years).

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
Most of my free time besides Lichess and university is still spent at a computer, playing, speed-running, and modding games (as in modifying, not moderating ^^), reading, or programming lots of other fun stuff, like building random ideas I have, contributing to other open source projects, or doing coding competitions like Advent of Code or CodinGame. Other than that, I've really gotten into hobby astronomy over the last year and I guess I also read a fair amount of books.

Day 6 - Niklas

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hey, I'm Niklas, 29 year old developer from Germany. My first commit for Lichess was some obscure bugfix in 2015. Since then I've been working on many more bugs and features, especially around the analysis board (server and client-side analysis, opening explorer, tablebase).

What are your other hobbies or interests?
Currently I enjoy reading The Three Musketeers, following the progress in theoretical computer science, and playing and watching Age of Empires II.

Day 5 - Linus

What do you do at Lichess?
I started out as a moderating communications both public and then later private. I was then asked if I wanted to join the fair play team to do more moderating which I accepted. Nowadays I tend to keep a watchful eye over the Lichess Discord which is where I first got added to the team, participate in one of the councils we have, maybe do a report once in a while if I have some extra time.

How long have you been on the team?
I've been on the team for almost two years, and I'm planning to stay here for many more years to come.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
I spent plenty of hours in the discord every day playing hangman and hanging around (heh) and eventually I was asked if I wanted to help keep the server great. The rest is history and here we are.

What is your education or employment?
I am studying to get a bachelors degree in data science as it's something I find interesting and hope to work with in the future. After I get my degree I might continue to study to get a higher one or get a job, haven't decided yet.
Linus!

Day 4 - Dayan Muhd

What do you do at Lichess?
I have been part of the moderation team for almost 3 years, helping provide a pleasant environment for everyone’s communications, and recently involved with fair play as well.

What is your education or employment?
I am a psychologist at the Brazilian public service front-line, which relates to being passionate about working class and race issues, diversity and inclusive education.

What about your personal life?
Happy to have a family for almost 3 years as well, who are people with the same passion. I have always played chess, but only passionately in my adult life. I would be a professional jazz musician before I tried chess professionally.

Favorite Lichess memory?
when I volunteered to test the in-game voice call with the Lichess founder and main developer and I heard him say “it works!”
Dayan!

Day 3 - Marc

What do you do at Lichess?
I’d like to think I do everything that doesn’t involve coding (maybe in the future!). I mainly help out with moderation in its various divisions (fair play, communication, and more), but also content (for the site and blogs), recruitment, and giving my inane opinions on topics I don’t understand.

How long have you been part of the team?
Long enough for me to feel like the period of my life without Lichess was also the same period of unintelligible baby talk! It’s been over five years since I’ve been part of the team, and it honestly feels like just yesterday.

How did you get involved with Lichess?
I received a private message on Lichess asking me to be part of the team. I was so taken aback I spent a few hours thinking about it before eventually accepting. What helped was the fact that half a decade prior, I was a moderator on a Pokémon forum! I didn’t really know what to accept as I never had moderation on my mind when using Lichess and was mainly interested in organizing variant tourrnaments. Suffice to say that it was one of the best decisions of my life!

What other hobbies/interests do you have?
It would be difficult for me to say what my hobbies are because I’m interested in basically everything. Instead, I can tell you some of the things I’m doing now: bowling, powerlifting, armwrestling, running, reading, writing, and writing / composing poetry. The fields I’m currently dabbling in are psychology, philosophy, nutrition, history, politics, and recreational mathematics. I dabble in different fields depending on my mood basically – last year, for example, I was into chemistry, civil engineering, and economics.

What's your favourite chess opening?
If I had to pick just one, it would be the Smith-Morra Gambit. If I could pick two, I’d add the King’s Gambit. I love swashbuckling, Romantic chess! Sac all your pieces and then some more!

How long have you been playing chess?
I have been playing chess for just over a decade. I started a bit late at the age of 16, but it was still early enough for me to reach a decent level.

What causes are you passionate about?
I’m mainly passionate about causes that deal with the existential threats facing humanity. Therefore, I’m passionate about space travel and environmental causes for the most part.
Marc!

Day 2 - Josh

What do you do at Lichess?
I got recruited as a forum moderator in March 2021, shortly after I joined the fair play team and recently I also joined the appeal team with focus on fair play violations. Last year I became one of the people who train new moderators who want to be part of the fair play team. What I do is basically teach them about how Lichess cheat detection works and what constitutes as evidence for a mark and how much data is required to ban someone. That is probably the one thing I like doing the most. During high school years I used to be part of an organization that sends volunteers to cheer up people in hospitals, so I've always liked being helpful and volunteering to something.

How did you discover chess?
At the age of 6 during my birthday party, my mom's gift was a chessboard. She taught me how the game works and we played a game. I know you won't believe me but I won that game. I soon started loving it and during childhood and early adolescence I played occasionally with my uncle, who by the way was also the one person who inspired me to practice Karate (more of that later). I used to compete for my high school in up to regional tournaments and that is where I found out about chess titles. My dream would be to achieve FM one day.

Do you study/work?
In life I have a bachelor in Industrial Engineering and I'm about to complete my Master program in Nanotechnology Engineering in Rome. After graduating I would like to work as either a researcher or a professor.

What are some of your other passions?
My greatest passion besides chess is Karate and in 2015 I fulfilled my dream of achieving black belt.

Day 1 - Konstantinos

What do you do at Lichess?
As a member of the Lichess team I am involved in a big variety of tasks, ranging from communications moderation, to creating content (both blogs and broadcasts) to assisting in events like the Fischer Random Qualifiers. My favorite, probably, though is being involved in Lichess strategy discussions and development as a member of the relevant council.

How long have you been part of the team?
I had been helping out Lichess with creating broadcasts since early 2021, and got invited to the Lichess team around July 2021, so close to 1.5 year. Feels much more though - in a good way!

How long have you been playing chess?
I learnt how to play at around 9-10, but after a big hiatus, I started playing again (and more seriously) at 2020.

Do you play OTB chess?
Yes I do! I have participated in team events, an international open tournament and the last two editions of the world amateurs championships - so far!

What's your favourite chess opening?
I am an e4 player - with black my favourite is the French Defence. I am lately fascinated by Kings Indian vs d4, but I haven’t actually played it yet. I am really not a big fan of dubious gambits - both playing and facing them.

What causes are you passionate about?
Equality, and eliminating discrimination - both in and outside of chess world.

Stay tuned for more updates over advent!

Reconnecting