Onward and upward!
It’s been a huge year for Lichess, with a record number of events and a massive increase in users. In fact, there has been so much growth that we finally had to add an extra front-end server to cope! Lichess is not just growing in numbers, though – the hard work of our developers has brought about many new features and technical improvements. We’ve also expanded into new areas, including some forays into journalism and a string of special events. Please join us in celebrating the achievements of the year and looking forward to what the next one will bring!
One billion games
On December 2, the billionth (1,000,000,000th) game was played on Lichess! That’s 10x more games than three years ago.
Some other milestones:
- 40,332 players connected at once during the World Championship tiebreakers, and regularly over 36,000 since
- 1,800,000 completed games per day
- 98,000,000 chess moves played every day
- 84,000 analyzed games per day (equivalent to 1,400 hours of Stockfish processing)
- 1,418th most popular website in the world (up from 2,458th at the start of the year!)
Over the course of the year we have been working behind the scenes to make this possible. We upgraded the main server and database servers, implemented more efficient game storage, tweaked kernel parameters and improved websocket handling. We’re now able to simulate realistic load on our test servers, so more performance improvements are to come.
If you’ve been paying close attention to announcements throughout the year you’ll already have read about these! In 2018 we added:
- the /streamer page and integration, letting you find your favourite chess streamers easily through Lichess, as well as discovering new content (read the blog post here)
- improvements to the broadcast feature, which was tested to its limits with the live replay of events throughout the year. These included the World Chess Championship, the 2018 Candidates Tournament, Tata Steel, and many more. It was even used for the St. Louis live coverage of the WCC. Not bad for a feature in beta testing!
- integration of bots so you can develop your own engine or just test yourself against the strongest new engines (read the blog post here)
- 7-piece tablebases to the analysis board for even more in depth endgame analyses (read the blog post here)
Lichess also branched out into some proper journalism with fantastic (even if we say so ourselves) coverage of the biggest chess events of the year:
We had a great reaction to our call for more events, so in addition to the regularly scheduled programming we hosted a number of special events. We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did, and look forward to more!
- Deathmatch: GM Tang vs. FM Rozman
- GM Tang vs. Leela Chess Zero
- Deathmatch: Penguin vs. Paco
- Horde Deathmatch: svenos vs. Stubenfisch
- Deathmatch: Leela vs. Stockfish
- GM Naroditsky vs. Leela Chess Zero
As well as:
- Marathons (over 12200 active participants in the 2018 winter marathon)
- Titled Arenas 2 through 9
- Shield tournaments
- Variant Revolutions
- 2nd Crazyhouse World Championship
- Lichess 45|45 League 3-year anniversary tournament
It’s not all online, either – Lichess is making an impact in the “real world” too. We had three hugely successful meetups this year and participated in a conference. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic members of the Lichess community!
- London Chess Conference - where we gave a small demonstration of Lichess capabilities, specifically for chess in education!
Overall it has been a great year for us. We hope you enjoyed it too and look forward to meeting 2019 together!