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Lichess Official Blog

Aronian wins Altibox Norway Chess 2017

Assios Chess

The highlights of the final two rounds

With a draw against So in the final round, Aronian secured the first place in the Altibox Norway Chess 2017 tournament! Nakamura had to win his game against Caruana to have a chance at the tiebreaker, but Caruana outplayed him in a very sharp poisoned pawn Najdorf.

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Norway Chess: The final run-up

Assios Chess

We bring you the highlights of the last two rounds

We're in the final two rounds of the Altibox Norway Chess 2017 tournament, Aronian being in the lead with 5/7 points! We got some really interesting games the last 2 rounds. Here's a short update!

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Norway chess: the off-day brings exciting chess

prune2000 Chess

Two completely different rounds separated by the off-day.

The round 3 and 4 were separated by the off-day and Norway Chess is well known to create some very interesting activities every year. And they didn't disappoint for the 2017 edition! After a round 3 full of draws, the players went farming in Stavanger and it apparently gave them a new sense of competition as round 4 became the most exciting day of the tournament.

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Norway Chess: 2 rounds later

prune2000 Chess

The first 2 rounds of Norway Chess have been full of interesting games and exciting moments.

It has been a very exciting beginning of this historical tournament. Most of the draws have been full of action, and we've had one decisive game per round so far, placing Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik at shared first place. Let's have a look at the action in round 1 and 2!

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The blitz opening of Norway Chess 2017

prune2000 Chess

It has been a great first day for the Norway Chess tournament. Lichess is present in Stavanger to get every second of the action!

The strongest tournament in the history of chess started yesterday evening with the opening press conference and the blitz tournament. It is a fairly important phase because the winner of the blitz tournament gets to pick their start number in the main tournament and the top five will get the advantage of playing five white games. As we all know, playing an extra white game could be game changer with such a strong and close line-up.

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2017 Spring Marathon

thibault Announcements

Pushing the limits of Internet chess

There is not enough chess in the world! Let's fix that.

How about a 24 hours long tournament. Full earth rotation around its own axis. How about making it world wide. What if it was entirely free. Anyone could join. Thousands of chess enthusiasts competing for the first place, for the podium, for the top 10, for the top hundred, or just for seeing how high they can climb up the leaderboard.

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A better game clock history

thibault & isaacly Announcements

Storing precise move times: science to the rescue

Thanks to the hard work of isaacly and revoof, lichess now stores precise move times, and can accurately replay the game clocks during analysis.

Lichess clocks always had a high precision of one hundredth of a second, while the game is playing. This has not changed. However, after the game has ended, we now store the historical move times (how long it took to play each move of the game) with high precision. This has several benefits.

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Announcing Instant Chess!

NoJoke Announcements

All the chess without the pesky time (April Fools)

In recent years it has become popular among chess servers to offer chess with lower and lower time controls. It is with great pride that I announce that lichess has once and forever won this race by implementing a time control that is literally impossible to undercut. “Instant Chess” or chess played with a time control of 0+0 is now here on!

Some may wonder how this is possible? Won’t players just flag and lose the game after 1 move? Not at all! On lichess premoves are registered as taking 0 seconds so if a player is fast enough with their mouse or good enough at anticipating their opponent's moves it is possible to play surprisingly long games.

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Crazyhouse World Championship: the Candidates

crosky Chess

Follow the eight remaining players as they battle it out in a round-robin crazyhouse tournament to decide the 2017 World Champ.

The Crazyhouse World Championship has just reached its most exciting stage. An intensely competitive knockout tournament featuring most of the world's strongest crazyhouse players, starting two months ago with qualifying rounds and progressing to the current stage with the recent conclusion of the Round of 16, has whittled the field down to the last eight players. These eight players— longtime legends of the bughouse and crazyhouse community to a man—will battle it out in the upcoming round-robin Candidates tournament for a $460 purse, a shiny new lichess profile trophy, and the prestige of being crowned the first Crazyhouse World Champion.

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Announcing Practice

arex Announcements

A new way to learn and improve your chess on Lichess

Today, we're excited to announce Practice, a way for users of all skill levels to learn and practice many different aspects of chess. Practice is based on the idea of playing against a chess engine in positions that are specifically designed to be instructive, allowing the user to learn about themes, recognize patterns and practice techniques. Currently, Practice covers piece checkmates, checkmate patterns, tactical themes and pawn endings.

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Lichess meetup and hackathon report

arex Announcements

The Lichess team recently met up to work and socialize in Paris. Here is the summary.

The second ever Lichess meetup and hackathon just concluded. Over the previous week, 11 lichess developers representing 8 different countries gathered in Paris to meet users, socialize and use the rare opportunity to work together in the same room to improve Lichess.

People came and went at different times, but on Friday night most of us got to meet (for the first time in many cases) and we had our first opportunity (of many) to eat and drink together.

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Recent Improvements

Assios Announcements

The lichess team is constantly creating new features for you to enjoy. Now we need your help to decide what to add next!

It's been only 3 months since the last developer update, but there has been many great improvements to lichess since then. We'll summarize the most important ones for you.

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Tata Steel Chess: Week 1

FelixNL Chess

Everything about the first week of the Tata Steel Chess tournament, live from Wijk aan Zee

While the Netherlands is freezing over with children all over the land being able to skate on the thousands of canals and rivers, the competitive flame in Wijk aan Zee has never burned brighter. Next to the hundreds of amateurs trying to win first place in their group, 14 candidates and 14 masters are aiming for their respective trophy. Dubbed the 'Wimbledon of chess' by 4-time winner Aronian, let's take a look at what happened over the past week at Tata Steel Chess.

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Learn from your mistakes

Thibault Announcements

New feature: train tactics from your own games

Today we're delighted to announce a new and - dare I say - revolutionary feature. Are you ready to dramatically improve your chess? Then read on.

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London Chess Classic: Round 9 "The End"

Cynosure Chess

Wesley So wins the London Chess Classic 2016; other highlights and action from round 8

The final round of the London Chess Classic occurred yesterday, with some incredible match ups. Viswanathan Anand played Vladimir Kramnik for the 183rd time with both requiring a win to cement their place as overall third. Hiraku Nakamura playing Michael Adams also required a win, if he wanted to place overall third, but ultimately none of these players could quite convert a win.

On the other hand, it was an excellent day for Wesley So, who managed to keep himself in first place to also win the London Chess Classic, having secured his victory overall in the Grand Chess Tour yesterday. Fabiano Caruana similarly remained in second place, despite having three potential threats right on his tail. It was also a good day for Veselin Topalov, who managed to secure a win – sadly, too little too late from him, but perhaps showing a return to form.

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London Chess Classic: Round 8 "Hail King Wesley"

Cynosure Chess

Wesley So wins the Grand Chess Tour 2016; other highlights and action from round 8

Round 8 of the London Chess Classic ended yesterday giving us a clear winner of 2016’s Grand Chess Tour with one round left in hand. Wesley So’s meteoric rise continued this year as he held Fabiano Caruana to a draw to secure his spot as the winner of the Grand Chess Tour, with Nakamura and Aronian too far away to overtake him. His spot as the winner of the London Chess Classic – for a further $65,000 on top of his $100,000 winnings – will be contested today.

Otherwise, round 8 was by and large quite uneventful with four draws and one decisive result, between Veselin Topalov and Viswanathan Anand. Anand, playing an early novelty, continued Topalov’s awful tournament as he gave the Bulgarian his 6th loss of the tournament.

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London Chess Classic: Round 7 "The Hikaru Strikes Back"

Cynosure Chess

Highlights and action from Round 7

For what the chess gods giveth, they also taketh. Yesterday, they gave us a day full of drama and excitement, with incredibly attacking chess and a number of decisive results. Today, in round 7 of the London Chess Classic, we received 4 draws, some of them over just after the Sofia rules and with very little contention in the positions. That’s what you get, though, when three Queen Gambits, one Symmetrical English and one Najdorf Sicilian are played. There was only one decisive result, which surprisingly (and thankfully) was not against Topalov (I am thinking of Rocky IV here where (spoilers) Ivan Drago is beating Apollo Creed to a pulp and his friend is shouting at Rocky to "throw in the towel, he's taken enough punishment!")

The real highlight of the day came from Hikaru Nakamura vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Nakamura, who lost in such splendour against Caruana’s brilliancy yesterday, displayed a brilliancy of his own, with a highly similar – if not essentially identical opening for the first 12 or 13 moves, showing that it is not only Caruana who can dominate in heavily theoretical openings. Nakamura’s game very possibly might be one of his greatest, especially as he beat the Najdorf specialist at his own game.

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London Chess Classic: Round 6, "The Day of Sacrifices"

Cynosure Chess

All the highlights from round 6 of the LCC

Round 6 of the London Chess Classic was perhaps the most dramatic day of the tournament so far. On every single board, featuring eight of the world’s top 10 players, sacrificed pieces, Greek gifts and poisoned pieces were played. Most impressively, Fabiano Caruana, the world number 2, played a long term queen sacrifice, a speculation which eventually paid off against his countryman Hikaru Nakamura in what was the game of the day, and possibly the game of the tournament.

On the other boards, Veselin Topalov’s awful tournament continued as he registered his fifth loss against Wesley So who is building an unassailable lead in the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour. Levon Aronian started strongly against MVL, only to overextend himself and the Frenchman to capitalise on that weakness, receiving a win. Viswanathan Anand once again played 7. h3!? against Anish Giri’s 12th Najdorf Sicilian in a row, a game which fizzled into a draw. Vladimir Kramnik and Michael Adams, by comparison, played a quieter game than the other 4 boards, in a solid positional battle which ended in a draw.

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London Chess Classic: Round 5

Cynosure Chess

All the highlights and updates from the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour.

Round 5 of the London Chess Classic, the last round before a rest day tomorrow, provided only one decisive result in a comprehensive demolition of Veselin Topalov, the Bulgarian ex-FIDE World Champion. Topalov, who entered the tournament as the world no. 15, has had a series of unfortunate losses which have now put him on the very brink of exiting the world's top 20, only 0.2 rating points away from the 21st spot (currently occupied by Grischuk).

On the other boards, Aronian and Giri drew in 20 moves due to threefold repetition, playing for just over an hour. So and Anand also drew shortly after, reaching the Sofia rules 30 move limit before agreeing to draw. MVL and Caruana similarly agreed to draw on move 34, despite Caruana having a commanding position for much of the match, which he was unfortunate to let slip. Nakamura defended well against Kramnik, who had possibly out-prepared Nakamura in the opening, including an early novelty, holding their game to a draw after nearly 7 hours of play following some ambitious and potentially inaccurate middle game play by Kramnik.

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London Chess Classic: Round 4

Cynosure Chess

Nakamura makes it interesting...

Round 4 of the London Chess Classic delivered more drama today, with particularly exciting results for Adams and Nakamura – the players at the bottom of the pack who were able to make up the difference somewhat more today.

Topalov, playing against Nakamura, had a particularly difficult day of it today. This tournament hasn’t been good for Topalov so far, who has now lost 3 games and made getting a winning result in this particular leg of the Grand Chess Tour essentially impossible, with 5 games left to go. Topalov versus Nakamura was the only decisive result today, with the rest being draws.

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London Chess Classic: Round 3

Cynosure Chess

Sorry for the delay, I was at a family event - here's the late highlights of round 3!

Round 3 of the London Chess Classic, and the birthday curse – previously affecting Nakamura in a blunder-ridden opening which cost him his game against So – continued, with Nakamura transferring the curse on to Viswanathan Anand (who was celebrating his 47th birthday), giving Nakamura his first win of the tournament.

Meanwhile, across the other four boards, we saw four draws, with Wesley So being tested by Levon Aronian and receiving his first non-win result. British number 1, Michael Adams, managed a draw against Giri despite being a pawn down, giving him his first positive result of the tournament. Misfortune struck Veselin Topalov again after a mistake threw away a decisive result again, this time playing Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

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London Chess Classic: Round 2

cynosure Chess

Action and highlights from round 2 of the LCC. Including Anand v MVL, Kramnik v Aronian and all the other top games.

Another dramatic day from the London Chess Classic today, with incredibly unfortunate losses from Topalov and Adams – both from blunders again – and make it really difficult for them to have any reasonable chance of them being serious contenders in this tournament.

The day wasn’t all blunder-ridden though, with Viswanathan Anand discovering a beautiful tactic against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in what was possibly the most interesting game of the day.

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London Chess Classic: Round 1

Ophi Seurat Chess

Highlights from Round 1 of the London Chess Classic 2016, the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour.

It is a testament to the increasing popularity of lichess that, having covered the World Chess Championship 2016 (Carlsen vs Karjakin if you were living under a rock), lichess was equally invited to cover the London Chess Classic, the last leg of the Grand Chess Tour. I was fortunate enough to sit in an air conditioned VIP analysis room alongside journalists, older or less active grandmasters, the coaches, business men and those who run and organise national and international chess federations.

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2016 WCC, Game 10: The Beautiful Struggle

Tyler Schwartz Chess

Carlsen needs a win badly

How did Carlsen and Karjakin get here?

Trying to predict how Carlsen will handle this must-win situation is difficult because he’s never been in this situation before. Carlsen never trailed in either World Championship Match with Anand, and this is Karjakin’s first World Championship match, so it’s difficult to say how the pressure, and high steaks are affecting him.

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Puzzles Update

James 'Clarkey' Clarke Announcements

You've waited patiently and now it's here

Updating the tactics trainer has been under development for some time now and we're finally ready to reveal what's new. It was teased in the last developer update that change was in air starting with 40k new puzzles, but under the hood there's been some fundamental changes aswell.

So what's new? Let's find out.

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2016 WCC, Game 1: Carlsen Plays the Tromp?

Tyler Schwartz Chess

Will Karjakin Survive Magnus' Offbeat Opening?

November has already seen two underdogs become champions. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series and Donald Trump is the President Elect. Will Sergey Karjakin defeat World Champion Magnus Carlsen? The odds are against Karjakin but so far in November odds haven't mattered.

Game 1 of the World Chess Championship began on November 11th in New York’s South Street Seaport. The 25 year-old, Norwegian, World Champion Magnus Carlsen had the white pieces. The 26 year-old, Russian, challenger Sergey Karjakin had the black pieces. Well, Carlsen had most of the moves with the white pieces, Actor Woody Harrelson stopped by to make the ceremonial first move.

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Developer Update

James 'Clarkey' Clarke Announcements

Bigger, Stronger, Faster

It's been only 4 months since our last update, but in the developer world it's been a long time and much has changed. So much so that it's been a challenge for us to keep track of everything that's improved. But we're going to try our best to summarise all those changes big and small for your convenience.

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Bits, Beers and Blunders

happy0, lukhas and nojoke Announcements

Lichess hackathon and meetup

About 4 years ago I dropped into the Lichess IRC channel to ask about some of the technical aspects of the code behind lichess. Since then, with the help of other Lichess contributors I have been lucky enough to contribute a few features to the site. A couple of weekends ago, I was able to visit Paris and meet some of these people for the first time for the Lichess hackathon and meetup. We thought it’d be worth sharing some pictures from the events over the weekend with you!

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Stockfish is learning

Thibault Announcements

Artificial intelligence for Atomic, Horde, and Racing Kings!

You may know about Stockfish, the strongest chess player in the known universe. It's a fantastic chess artificial intelligence, and like all the greatest programs, it's open source and actively maintained by enthusiasts (yes just like lichess :)

Naturally we use it on lichess:

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How to start learning chess

Nojoke Chess

The next step after learning how the pieces move.

I'm hesitant to dispel the myth that chess is unapproachably complex. It has been useful in making some people think I'm a lot smarter than I actually am. The truth is that chess can be difficult and complicated but no more than many other skills that people master on a regular basis. I'm often asked how to get better at chess. This is difficult to answer and I can't explain it in one sentence. A few paragraphs, however, should be plenty:

The first thing any ambitious new chess student needs to learn is not to hang pieces. "Hanging" pieces means giving one away to your opponent: for example, placing a rook where it can be captured safely by a bishop. Most games between absolute beginners are decided by these ‘one-punch knockouts’ where one player gives away an important piece (or checkmate) and the game is essentially over. All the cleverness in the world will not usually save a chess player when his opponent has an extra queen. The inverse mistake is also common, where one player delivers his queen to be taken for free and their opponent fails to notice.

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Summer 2016 Marathon

Thibault Duplessis Announcements

The legendary 24h chess tournament is back.

TL;DR: What? 24h long 5+0 tournament. When? Saturday the 6th of August, 12:00AM (GMT). Where?

True to its tradition, lichess presents this summer edition of the ever popular seasonal chess marathon.

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Something for the beginners

Nojoke & Thibault Announcements

A new way to learn chess!

Until recently was not much use to a person who doesn’t know how the pieces move, but now, we have something for them. will teach new players everything they need to know to play a game of chess. From the basic movements of the pieces to lesser known rules like en passant and stalemate.

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How do I get my Daughter to Love Chess? Pt. 1

Tyler Schwartz Chess

Practical Strategies for Closing the Gender Gap in Chess

To understand the benefits of playing chess, think of chess as a mental gym. When you play chess, you engage your brain in critical and demanding ways. Your brain is constantly developing to adapt to this more mentally intense environnment. Thus when you repeatedly play chess you get, well... smarter. Memory, critical thinking, calculation, mental dexterity and executive function in early childhood are just some of the wonderful benefits of playing the game of kings.

As long as chess has been chess, chess has been mainly played by men. The question of the “Gender Gap” in chess was recently discussed in the New York Times:

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Lichess Mobile v4

Thibault Duplessis Announcements

Outstanding progress on lichess mobile app!

As you know, lichess is built and run by a vibrant community of chess lovers. Some are coding the site itself, some are catching cheaters, some keep the servers up and scaling; and these two guys, veloce and freefal, are doing wonders with the mobile app.

So what's new since the previous mobile app review?

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