Bits, Beers and Blunders

happy0, lukhas and nojokeAnnouncements

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!


Normally we don’t have an office of our own and work together remotely with the support of various online tools such as GitHub, IRC and Slack. However, for the hackathon weekend, Bearstech very kindly gave us the use of their very fancy office.

From left to right, lukhas, happy0 (ie. me), veloce, thibault, posing outside of the fancy office

The hackathon was a rare opportunity to spend a few hours working together in the same room. We hacked out some features on Saturday afternoon and then headed out to meet some Lichess members in the evenings for food, chess and beer!

Veloce and Thibault worked hard to add support for push notifications to the mobile app in iOS. This will allow users to see notifications when it is their turn to play in their current game. It will be available in the next release of the mobile application (coming soon)!

Thibault and veloce tackling iOS notifications. In the foreground, my poor laptop struggling hard to compile lichess with very limited RAM.

Meanwhile, I, with the help of Thibault, improved our site moderation tools to present a view of all the public chats on the site, including all the upcoming tournament and simul chats, on a single page for ease of moderation.

Pair programming in the background, veloce still stuck on iOS notifications. My laptop, probably still compiling. Eventually that chess board in the background broke the tedium between compilations!


On Saturday evening we headed to Extérieur Quai for the official meetup. There we were joined by some other members from the site. Chess was played, passionate conversations about the site and its future were had, and awesome food and drink was enjoyed. Some of us even benefited from a tip or two from the stronger players.

In the background, thibault wishes he had a clock to flag his much stronger opponent

At the end of the night, Veloce and I teamed up against Thibault and Lukhas for some games of bughouse. Unfortunately Thibault and Lukhas shouted for pieces better than we did and things came to a climax when Thibault checkmated Veloce with a pawn placed on d7! Apparently castling is a waste of time in bughouse, the best strategy is to ask for a pawn, let your teammate sac anything for it and checkmate the guy.

Veloce is a sore loser, thibault is an even worse winner

On Sunday, the hackathon continued, followed by another night of chess under the influence of pizza and Italian wine.

Sadly, nobody became an IM during dinner

The drama then moved on into a nearby pub where someone forgot to develop his pieces to support an early attack and was swiftly punished.

Black patiently waited until white ran out of checks with his lonely queen and mated in 2 moves.

On Monday, we had another impromptu meetup with another member of the lichess staff who couldn’t join us on Saturday. Much chess was played, and many blunders were committed.

The photographer blames his blunders on the funky chess set

We had great fun coding for lichess together and meeting lichess users. Hopefully we will see some of you at the next Lichess meetup!