Blind Mode Guide

Instructions for using Lichess in blind mode

The Lichess team strives to provide a top class chess site that is accessible to all players.

To that end, we have built in functionality for screen reader users.

We call this blind mode, and it allows the visually impaired to play games on Lichess, analyze their games, solve puzzles and much more.

Getting started

When navigating the Lichess site with your screen reader, the h, f, and e keys are your friends. There is a lot on this site, but by jumping by headings, forms, and edit fields, you can navigate it quickly and efficiently, it just takes a little practice.

The first thing to do is to enable blind mode

Blind mode displays items and reads output in a screen reader friendly format.

To turn blind mode on, press space on the first button from the very top of the page, it is labeled Accessibility: Enable blind mode

When you turn blind mode on, this button will say disable blind mode and vice versa.

If you have registered an account on Lichess, you wont have to change this button again once it is set.

To register, simply do a find for sign in, after you click on that link, a page will come up where you can register. Registration is quick and simple.

Playing your first game

There are three main ways to play a game of chess on Lichess:

  1. Play with anyone in the world.
  2. Play with a friend.
  3. Play with the computer.

To go over the basics of setting up and playing a game, we will create a game against the computer.

From the main Lichess page, go to the heading labeled Play.

Under this heading, you will find three links:

  • Create a game
  • Play with a friend
  • Play with the computer

We will start by selecting play with the computer to cover the basics of setting up a game.

This will bring up a window where you can set the parameters of your game.

The first parameter is the variant of the game, such as standard, King of the Hill, etc.

Leave the variant set to standard.

Next, you can set the amount of time each side will start with for the game, as well as any increment to be added per turn.

Next, set the skill level of the computer, from 1 to 8.

1 is like playing a total newbie to chess, and 8 simulates an amazingly tough opponent.

Finally, you set which side you wish to play: white, black, or random.

Click on create the game and the game will start.

This setup will be the same for all games you create, whether playing a friend, a random Lichess member, or the computer.

The command line for entering moves

On the main game interface, there is an edit field labeled Your move or waiting, depending on which player has the turn.

In this edit field, you will give all of your moves and commands.

If it is your turn, you can enter your move with algebraic notation, such as e4 to move a pawn to e4, or Nf3 to move a knight to f3.

How algebraic notation works

There are other commands you can put in this window as well, such as l to see last move and p to check the position of pieces.

Check the last heading on this instruction page for all keyboard commands.

Playing with a friend

When you select play with a friend, the game creation steps will be the same, with the addition of a checkbox to set the game as either casual or rated.

When set to rated, your rating will go up or down based on the result, if set to casual, your rating will not be affected.

Once you set the parameters and hit enter on create game, you can then select a player that will be sent the challenge.

There are two ways to do this:

Method 1: Search for a player by name.

  1. There is an edit field on the page labeled search, you can get there quickly by pressing the e key.
  2. Type part or all of the player name, then hit escape to jump out of forms mode.
  3. You can then arrow down to the name of the player you wish to send the challenge to and hit space.
  4. That player then will be sent a challenge with the game details, and they can hit enter on either accept or deny the challenge.
  5. As soon as they accept the challenge, the game will start, with the player that is white ready to enter their first move.

Method 2: Copy a link to the game

The other way to send a challenge is to copy the link to the game, and you can send this link to the other player, or to a list for example, where the first person to click on the link will be your opponent.

To do this, simply click on the copy URL button, and the link will be copied to your clipboard, and you will be able to paste the link with control V.

When the other player clicks on that link, they will be sent to a page where they can accept or deny the challenge, just as when inviting a friend directly.

Accepting a challenge

If someone sends you a challenge, a window will pop up with a sound effect if you are on the main Lichess site, with details about the challenge: The player sending the challenge, the variant, the time control, and whether it is rated or casual.

This window will have an accept button and a decline button. As soon as you hit accept, the game will start.

Under the decline button is a combo box if you wish to select a reason you are going to decline the challenge.

If you aren't on the Lichess page when the challenge is sent, or if for whatever reason you don't get the challenge window, you can look at all of your current challenges from the main page.

The quickest way to see your challenges is to go to the search field from the main page with the e key, then arrow down.

If you have challenges, there will be a number here, hit space on that number, even though it may not be labeled as a link, this will open up the details of the challenge, along with the accept and decline buttons.

Looking at your account and history

One very cool thing about Lichess is that the system keeps track of all of the games you play.

To see all of this info, click on your name from the main page, then hit enter on profile.

You will see many categories here, the different ratings of each variant of chess you have played, your puzzle ratings, number of studies, forum posts, etc.

You can select any variant here, and look at the history of your games, best victory, worst defeat, average strength of opponents, and on and on.

The best way to learn about what is available in your profile is to poke around, you aren't going to break anything.

One note here, when you click on your name, underneath there are some options listed. One of these is sounds, and from there you can adjust which sounds are played, and the volume of those sounds.

Creating a game for any and all to join

When you click the link labeled create a game, this will submit a game that all other Lichess players across the world can see in a list of games.

For instance, if you set your game to 30 minutes with a 30 second increment, you will attract players that like a bit of a longer game.

Depending on the parameters, it might take a few minutes for another player to play your game, but the system will let you know when the game has been accepted by another player.

Generally however, someone will accept your game very quickly, usually less than a minute.

Keyboard commands

These are commands you can type in the command line instead of your moves, just like with the moves, type in the command and hit enter.

L: Last move

P followed by a space and the piece prefix: to get the position of the pieces.

  • for example p N for white knights, p q for black queen.
  • Upper case letters for white pieces, lower case for black.

S: to get a list of pieces on a rank or file

  • For example s 1 for the first row
  • S f for the foxtrot file

O: to get your opponent name and rating

C: to check the clock

  • Your time is always the first clock listed

In addition to the buttons listed underneath the command line, you can also type in the following commands if you prefer.

  • Abort to quit the game before it gets started
  • Takeback to request a takeback of the last move
  • Resign to quit
  • Draw to offer a draw

One important note on commands.

Depending on how your screen reader is configured, if the output is exactly the same as the previous output from the game, you will not hear anything being read.

For example, if you type l for last move, the game will tell you the last move, but if you type l again, you will not hear anything, and you will need to enter a different command before you can get the last move.

This can be confusing in gameplay if the move is exactly the same as well.

For example, if white takes d4 with a pawn from the e file, and black does the same in response, you will not hear output for blacks move, although you will hear the piece move sound effect.

Thanks to the original author of this guide: Che Martin @blindAdrenaline

Last updated 01-Sep-2022