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Lichess Official Blog

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Assios Announcements

Taking chess streaming to a whole new level!

Chess is becoming increasingly popular on streaming sites like Twitch and Youtube. To help enrich the streaming and chess world, we built some new tools to facilitate both streaming and watching streams. We're happy to announce the Lichess Streamer Community! Streamers get new tools to reach out to their viewers, and viewers will find it easier to discover interesting streamers.

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Lichess Variant Revolutions

FischyVishy Announcements

24-hour prize tournaments for every variant!

With a record-breaking 9036 participants in the recent winter marathon, chess players made a statement of support for endurance events. But do chess variant players feel the same way? There's only one way to find out!

We're hosting 24-hour tournaments for each chess variant, starting with Three Check on January 6. Each event will have a $100 prize pool ($50/$30/$20), generously donated by FischyVishy, aka Fischy, aka The Fish.

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Lichess Titled Arena 2

Assios Announcements

The strongest Arena-style tournament returns for a second edition

118 titled players joined our inaugural Lichess Titled Arena tournament, which after 2 hours of intense competition, was won by none other than world champion Magnus Carlsen! Magnus chose to donate his prize of $500 back to Lichess, to increase the first prize of the next Title Arena. The remaining $1000 is donated by an anonymous chess philanthropist. A big thanks to both! Consequently, this tournament will have a first prize of $1000! Like last time, the tournament will be streamed on our Twitch account.

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Magnus Carlsen wins the first Lichess Titled Arena

Nojoke Chess

The world's best play on our humble little server

Yesterday lichess hosted the strongest arena-style tournament in history and it was won by the strongest player alive. 118 titled players participated including 22 GMs. In the days leading up to the event lichess staff were mobbed with titled players excited to get their title verified so they could participate in the event. The prize fund was $1000 in total with $500 going to the winner, although it seems that this was secondary to most players who simply wanted the chance to play in a fantastically strong tournament. We chose a time control of 1 0 due to its popularity among elite online players and to show off the speed of lichess’ interface. Many of the participants chose to remain anonymous leading to rampant speculation before and during the event as to the identities of certain players, especially the ones who were thrashing GMs at an impressive rate!

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Introducing Rapid Ratings

cyanfish Announcements

What was one now becomes two

Ever wonder why Classical games could be as fast as 8+0 and as slow as 180+180? So did we! And now we're changing it. We're splitting Classical in two by adding a new, faster, category called Rapid.

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Introducing Shield Tournaments

Tony Rotella Announcements

Battle for the unique Shield of glory

There are a number of trite proverbs related to asking and getting what you want in life, for example "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," "ask and you shall receive," and "the crying baby gets the milk." Well, it wasn't that long ago that a new post popped up in the Lichess Feedback Forum (the developers and staff do browse the forums!) squeaking about a new type of tournament - shield tournaments. A shield tournament is one in which a unique profile trophy is up for grabs, and the winner keeps that trophy until they fail to defend it next month in the next tournament of that same time control or variant.

As an example, let's say I get incredibly lucky and win the SuperBlitz Shield Tournament in December. I get a freshly polished SuperBlitz shield trophy in my profile until it's abruptly stolen by Thibault in January's SuperBlitz Shield Tournament. I lose said trophy and he keeps it until it's stolen by in February, and so on.

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Titled Prize Tournament!

Assios Announcements

A titled tournament with a prize pool of $1000!

We are excited to announce a pro prize tournament, limited to FIDE titled and NM players. The tournament will feature stiff competition and a $1000 prize pool. We will also host a warmup event directly before, hyperbullet with a $100 pool, open to all.

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2017 Autumn Marathon

GnarlyGoat & Thibault Announcements

Announcing the next edition of the legendary 24-hour chess marathon!

Oh yeah! The largest blitz chess tournament on earth is starting soon!


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Lichess Summer Update, Part 2

T. Alexander Lystad (@arex) Technical

So many summer improvements, we needed two blog posts!

As we promised a week ago, here is the second blog post detailing more of the many improvements we made to Lichess over the summer.

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Lichess Summer Update, Part 1

T. Alexander Lystad (@arex) Technical

Lichess has gone through some changes over the summer...

A lot has happened since our last update in April. For instance, Portugal won the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest, “Oslo” won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play and African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina won the 2017 World Food Prize.

At Lichess, we have been very busy building a better chess experience for our users. So much so, that we needed to split this summary of what we have done since April into two parts. The second update will be posted in about a week’s time. Enough chit-chat, let’s take a look at some of the improvements we have made.

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The Kasparov Channel: 2017 Blitz Coverage

Tyler Schwartz Chess

Kasparov comes alive on day 5!

Chess champions are kaleidoscopes of miraculous talents. To ascend to the highest level in chess you need photographic memory, emotional grit, consistent calculation, and the ability to weigh the pros and cons of different moves and positions in your mind.

The most central of these talents is consistent calculation. Playing without it would be like playing any physical sport blind. I would argue that talent does play a role in calculation - some players will be naturally better at it than others. However, ultimately calculating is a muscle that needs to be built up and maintained through constant practice. If you stop practicing, the muscle shrinks just like any other.

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The Kasparov Channel: 2017 SLCC Rapid Coverage

Chess at 3 Chess

Does he still have the magic?

Welcome to the lichess coverage of the 2017 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz. Nowadays there is a channel for everything: golf, cooking, news, infomercials, comedy, music - so why not Kasparov? There is obviously much more going on in this tournament than just Kasparov, but I decided to focus on one subject rather than covering everything with a cursory touch. If you’re looking for a more traditional tournament report, there are plenty of places to find one. So with that, let’s turn on...The Kasparov Channel

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Vachier-Lagrave wins Sinquefield Cup 2017

Nojoke Chess

The decisive day in St. Louis

Entering the final day of Sinquefield Cup Levon Aronian, Vishwanathan Anand, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave were all tied for 1st with Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin a half point behind. The 3 leaders would all be nervously watching each other’s games trying to figure out how well they needed to score to keep up and the 2 trailers would need to win to have any chance of catching them. The tiebreaker system was complicated: A 2 way tie would be decided by a playoff the next day, while if 3 or more players were tied the winner would be the player with the most wins in this tournament.

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Nothing decided yet in round 8

Nojoke Chess

All 3 leaders draw to set up a dramatic final round

It was a tense day at the Sinquefield Cup where all three leaders drew, setting up a final round where half the field have a chance to finish in first.

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Aronian on fire and an interview with Yasser!

Nojoke Chess

A belated round 7 report

It was an exciting day of chess in St. Louis as former World Champion and possibly the greatest Chess Player of all time Garry Kasparov joined the commentators to give his opinion on the action. The games themselves did not disappoint and we were left with a very tight race for the winner going into the final 2 rounds.

I also had a moment to sit down and talk with GM Yasser Seirawan about the chess variant crazyhouse and his experience playing it on lichess. Sorry for the sound quality, we are clearly much better at making chess websites than being sound engineers.

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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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