Developer update

Thibault & GnarlyGoatAnnouncements

Conditional premoves for Correspondence chess players, and more goodies!

It's been a while since the last features blog post, but that doesn't mean we've been idle! Check out the latest improvements to your favourite free chess server:

Conditional premoves

Correspondence chess players have been requesting this for a while. Here it comes, in all its glory: multiple conditional premoves on lichess!

It's like premoving, except that you are able to setup multiple premoves, and go as deep as you want in a line. Setup your reactions to potential opponent moves, so when they play a move you anticipated, lichess plays your answer right away. Your correspondence games will get a big boost!

Check out this video to find out how this works.

Basically, on a correspondence game when it's your opponent turn to move, click the Analysis board button. Play a few moves that you're expecting to happen in the game, then add the variation to the list of conditional premoves on the left.

You can create several possible variations, to cover all the possibilities you find interesting. When your opponent plays into one of them, lichess automatically applies your moves, until they deviate from your variation. Then you'll have to come and play a move yourself, and perhaps setup new conditional premoves!


The more games we play, the more we need to search and export them. To help you make the best out of lichess game database, we:

  • introduced an export link that lets you download your search results as a big PGN file
  • added more search fields (source, variant, white/black user names)
  • implemented custom game search on user profiles
  • beefed up the search engine to ensure up-to-date results


Lichess arena tournaments have become very popular, and regularly feature some of the world best players. Here's some of the recent improvements the tournaments received:

  • improved berserking with better visual clues, and berserk badges in user game lists
  • mouse-over badges on tournament scores to quickly review the participant games
  • list of finished tournaments under the graph
  • custom user tournaments are named after legendary player, with a link to their wikipedia page
  • better and faster pairing system


We all love to toggle between light and dark backgrounds (you know, by clicking the palette icon at the top). Now we have a third choice: transparent theme with custom background image! Paste any image URL in the input to change lichess background. Be imaginative!

There's also new sound themes. Give them a try, some have interesting berserk or tournament winning sounds! And if you can't make up your mind, this page might help you.


Let's face it: lichess is the fastest chess server. By using the right set of technologies, we managed to keep the pages lightweight and the server responsive. It became even better this month, thanks to several performance tweaks on the interface.

However there is one lag that cannot be fixed: the geographical lag. Lichess server is in France, and if you connect from US West Coast, you will have a ~300ms geographical lag. It's just inevitable; but at least lichess compensates it on your game clock, to preserve fairness in fast games.

To see your geographical lag, click your username in the top bar.

  • PING is your geographical lag. It represents a full network round-trip from your computer to lichess server. If it's high, it's probably because you're far from the server, and lichess will compensate. If it varies wildly, try to get closer to your wifi router, or to get a cabled connection.
  • SERVER is lichess server lag. It represents the time to validate and store a chess move on lichess side. We're taking great care to keep this value very low. In fact, if it gets up, lichess sends an SMS to the developer!

More stuff

This post could go on and on, so let's cut through it and just mention a few more improvements:

Last word

The best thing is that you, and everybody, get all that for free, without pesky ads. That's the way we roll!

Next time we'll show you some astonishing numbers about lichess growth, and we'll announce the next marathon event. See you soon!