Lichess End of the Year Update


We wrap up 2017 by reviewing our latest updates!

We've grown a lot since our summer update! Read about some of the most prominent new features and changes below.

Titled tournaments

Earlier this month, we hosted a titled player prize tourney. We hoped the event would increase visibility of our site and generate exciting content – it was everything we hoped for and more!

Magnus Carlsen won with a stunning 2918 performance rating and the whole tourney was full of strong players, many of whom were new to lichess. Active titled players have dramatically increased.

We are continuing the series with another prize tourney on January 18th!

Shield tournaments

We added Shield tournaments, a monthly tournament for each rating category. The winner obtains a unique Shield trophy which they keep until the next month's event. December shield tournaments are complete, and the winners can be seen on the shield tournament page.

Other tournament improvements

  • We added a calendar of upcoming events. This complements the existing tournament schedule, which shows ongoing events and stuff happening soon.
  • Added first move countdown timer.

Broadcasts (beta)

Some of you may have noticed that we have started broadcasting live tournaments like the London Chess Classics and the Sunway Sitges Open. Each broadcast is a Lichess Study, which includes opening books, computer analysis, tablebases and every other thing you get from our study feature. Broadcasts are still in beta, and we're working on making it the best live tournament broadcast service on the Internet. But the experience is quite rich already! You can watch completed and ongoing tournaments live at

Interactive lessons

Lessons are Study chapters, and you create a lesson by choosing "Interactive lesson" as the analysis mode for a Study chapter. This provides a way of guiding users through a game or puzzle by giving them hints helping them find the next move. The best way to find out how it works is to try it yourself. You can try out this lesson made by user Francesco_Super, or create a Study yourself.

We'll be working with content creators to produce high-quality lessons (free for all, of course). More updates about this coming soon!

Lag compensation improvements

Internet lag can be a major issue in online chess, especially when one player has a faster connection than the other. No matter how fast we make the lichess server, your moves still have to go to France and then over to your opponent, and each hop can take .25s.

Time compensation for this latency has been significantly reworked in 2017. In short, the time you see on your clock is nearly always what you actually get when your move is received. No more moving with time left, only to have the server tell you that you ran out of time.

However, even if lag compensation is fair, playing someone who is lagging can change bullet game mechanics, because their time goes down so slowly. Based on feedback, we tried to balance these competing objectives by reducing max lag compensation for faster time controls. In practice, rather than a per-move cap, we use a quota system, which ensures occasional spikes are compensated, while constant high lag eventually burns through the quota and avoids delaying the game.

Another subtle change is how your local clocks predict the true state of the game. Previously, your opponent's clock started as soon as the server response to your move was received. But now that response also contains an estimate for what your opponents next lag compensation will be. This lets us pause the clock for this estimate and avoids the jump clock behavior that used to happen when the opponents move came back with extra credited time.

In short, the clocks just work! They're smooth and fair.

Search / Command line

You may have noticed the search icon that recently appeared in the upper right corner. This is a combined User search and Command line. Just click the icon and start typing to search for any user on the site. You can use it as a command line if you type a slash (/) before your command. We currently support commands for playing and watching a user's games. Type /play Assios to challenge me to a game, or /tv DannyTheDonkey to watch DannyTheDonkey's games. If you have any suggestions for new commands to add, tell us in the comments!

Insert opening explorer games into studies

When creating a Study, you can now insert full games from the opening explorer. Clicking a game in the opening explorer brings up the possibility to view, cite or insert it into the study!

And more...

  • Rapid rating category (which required a major db migration for completed games)
  • Auto-abort countdown for lobby games
  • Server side analysis uses cloud evaluation in the opening
  • Faster opening explorer
  • Stockfish updates
  • New “Riohacha” piece set
  • now includes rated variant games
  • All passwords migrated to bcrypt hash (security fix)
  • Switched runtime from Oracle to open source OpenJDK
  • ...and lots of minor improvements and fixes

We're always working on lichess improvements, and looking forward to a bright 2018. Happy new year!