Friday, December 31, 2010

ChessJam 4.1 released

ChessJam 4.1 is now available as a required update. If you use the web version or Facebook version, you don't need to do anything. If you use the desktop version of ChessJam, you will be prompted to complete a quick upgrade.

Changes in 4.1:

  • A once rare timeout bug has been recently exploited by a few users to become a real nuisance on ChessJam. The bug allowed someone to force a timeout of a game to avoid having the rating calculated for the winner and loser. This problem has now been fixed.

  • There have been several complaints about some players utilizing computer programs to help them win games on ChessJam. We have added "application switch detection" into the ChessJam application to help identify users that are switching from ChessJam to another app after every move. We realize that it's common to switch to other applications during a game so we ignore it unless the number of application switches is very close to the number of moves. For now, we're collecting the information only for analysis. During the next few days, we'll add automatic messages to the chat window to notify the opponent that the player is switching between moves.

  • Some players are registering with multiple usernames to help boost their rating on ChessJam. They play themselves to pump up their rating. We are starting to compare the IP address of both players to try and reduce this practice. There are valid cases where both players will be on the same network and can be sharing an IP address (for example, if someone plays someone in their own home, they will have the same address) so we'll only use this data when we see other patterns that suggest that someone is pumping up their rating.

We're working on some cool new features including new tournament types and even mobile device support, so stay tuned!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Faster load times for ChessJam worldwide (16 locations!)

Earlier today, we made a change that will result in faster downloads of ChessJam, especially if you are located in Europe or Asia. Before today, when you downloaded ChessJam or loaded the web or Facebook version, the files were served from Tampa, Florida. Starting today, the files will be served by one of sixteen locations depending on your location. You will hopefully notice faster download times and application load times. Below is a list of server locations. The closest server to you will automatically be selected so you don't have to do anything different.
More improvements are already in progress. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ChessJam 4.0.3 released

ChessJam 4.0.3 is now released. Changes:
  • FIxed a problem that caused clocks to go negative in rare circumstances
  • Added a new less intrusive notification of tournaments, etc. New notifications will replace the popups starting tomorrow (Wednesday)
  • Games can now be posted to Facebook from web version of ChessJam
  • Multiple bug fixes

If you are running the desktop version of ChessJam, you will receive an upgrade notification next time you run it. If you run the web or Facebook version, you are already set.

Report any bugs to

Friday, September 10, 2010

ChessJam 4.0.2 released - bug fixes

ChessJam 4.0.2 is now available. We fixed another premature timeout situation (hopefully the last!), fixed the sounds that got screwed up in the 4.0.0/4.0.1 release and fixed the HUD clocks.

We apologize for the back to back releases but we're on a serious bug hunt!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

ChessJam 4.01 released

Earlier this week we released ChessJam 4.0. Overall, it has been a great release for us. We've seen a lot of people take advantage of the new web version and Facebook versions of the game. We also saw a huge improvement in the number of failed games where a clock went bad, etc.

We've been monitoring like a hawk and found a few other bugs that needed fixing. This release takes care of the following:

  • Clocks now stay in sync even with players with a lot of network lag
  • Premature timeouts have been fixed
  • The weird time that sometimes shows up on clocks after a game has completed has been fixed
  • We rearranged the login buttons to help new people find their way. We apologize to our regular players that have learned to click the login button with their eyes closed. We'll all have to retrain a few times! ;-)
  • Server upgrades to improve performance

We'll continue to watch things. We have a lot of enhancements planned, but we are currently trying to get to flawless play for all players.

If you see any problems, please email us at

Monday, September 6, 2010

ChessJam 4.0! Now 3 ways to play online chess including in Facebook and your web browser!

Today we released ChessJam 4.0! During the past few months, we've seen our growth accelerate and now we're starting to attract several grand masters! We think this latest release will put ChessJam up a few notches and spur even more growth.

ChessJam can now be played in three different ways:

Bug fixes and other improvements:

  • We have rewritten the way clocks are handled. They are now much more reliable and consistent. This should address the occasional premature timeouts that some players reported.
  • Multiple memory optimizations

Let us know if you find any problems with the new software. You can always email us at

Monday, August 30, 2010

ChessJam 3.5 Released!

We just posted ChessJam 3.5 for download. Your existing version should auto-update.
Here's what new:

  • The application is now 53% smaller resulting in faster downloads, updates and faster startup time.
  • There should be fewer disconnects throughout the application now.
  • Network traffic has been reduced throughout the application.
  • Automatic draw detection added (finally!). If both players don't have the required pieces to checkmate, a draw is automatic. If a position arises in which neither player could possibly give checkmate by a series of legal moves, the game is an automatic draw. Combinations with insufficient material to checkmate are:

    • king versus king
    • king and bishop versus king
    • king and knight versus king
    • king and bishop versus king and bishop with the bishops on the same color.

  • Turbo tournaments now auto-start more consistently.
  • The end-game dialog is now clearer with a button for "Get a link to this game".
  • Numerous other bug fixes, performance tweaks and cosmetic improvements.

We're working on a major new release - stay tuned!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Turbo Tournament Rule Change

Effective immediately, the following rules are now enforced in Turbo Tournaments:
  • If you are white, you have 90 seconds to make your first move or you will automatically forfeit the game. A warning will be sent to you 60 seconds prior to being booted.
  • If you start a Turbo Tournament game, you cannot abandon a game without losing rating points. All games in the Turbo Tournament room are rated games regardless of the number of moves made. If you click the resign or draw button, your rating will be impacted.
Turbo Tournaments have been a huge success and we hope these new rules will make them run smoother and keep things more fair.

Thanks for playing!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How we enabled "Login using Facebook" with ChessJam

Last week, we rolled out an exciting new feature - the ability to login to ChessJam using your Facebook credentials, even if you have never registered for ChessJam! This capability is made possible by something called Facebook Connect, a fairly new API (application programming interface) from Facebook. This API makes it possible for applications to connect to Facebook in various ways authenticate, share data and more. We thought it was important to explain exactly what features we are using and why. These dialogs are only presented on your first login.

The login dialog:

When you first click "Login using Facebook" on the ChessJam login screen, you are prompted for your Facebook credentials. This dialog is presented by Facebook. Your Facebook email address and password are NOT collected by ChessJam. ChessJam does not have access to your email address nor your password. Once you enter your Facebook email address and password, Facebook confirms that they are OK and then tells ChessJam if you successfully logged in.

Facebook permissions dialog 1:

In addition to the login status, Facebook makes some of your data available to us, but only data that you have shared with everyone. We do not have access to any of your private data. Currently, we only use your name and country. No other details are used and we will never use any additional information without first asking you. Facebook has very strict rules about this, and we follow these rules to the letter!

Facebook permissions dialog 2:

If you click ALLOW, you will have the option of posting your game to your Facebook wall after each game you play. You can choose to do this on a game by game basis. Here is what it looks like on your wall:

Choosing a ChessJam user name:

After logging into Facebook and granting permissions, you will be prompted to select a user name and enter your country. The username is how others in ChessJam will see you. We use your country to build the country leader board.

If you previously created a ChessJam account without logging into Facebook, you can link it by clicking the "LINK" button on this dialog. You will then be prompted for your ChessJam username and password.

Once you have completed these steps, you can login to ChessJam in the future with one click!

If you later want to revoke permissions from ChessJam, you can go to the PROFILE page and click the Facebook icon. You can also login to Facebook using your web browser and go to your ACCOUNT menu, then APPLICATION SETTINGS. You will see a list of all applications you have granted permissions to, including ChessJam. You can simply delete ChessJam from this list by clicking the small "X" beside it.

We hope you enjoy this new feature!

Additional information about the Facebook connect APIs:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

ChessJam 3.4 released!

ChessJam 3.4 is now available for download. Your existing copy will auto-update to the 3.4 version.
  • Facebook integration has been improved. You can now login to ChessJam using your Facebook credentials! After you go through the login process once, the subsequent logins will be one-click away. The Facebook login dialog is coming directly from Facebook. ChessJam does not capture nor store your Facebook credentials. You can also still login using your ChessJam credentials.
  • When you finish a game, you can share the game by either posting it on your Facebook wall, tweeting the results or you can click a button to get a link to the game that you can share with anyone.
  • When you sit at a table, you are now represented by a different chess piece that is based on your rating (it was always a pawn before). Here is how the pieces are assigned:

    • below 1600 -- Pawn
    • 1600-1799 -- Knight
    • 1800-1999 -- Bishop
    • 2000-2199 -- Rook
    • 2200-2399 -- Queen
    • 2400 or higher -- King

  • Bug fix: When a robot runs out of time, it now loses the game.
  • Various minor bug fixes and performance improvements
What's next? We're working on a web version of ChessJam that even allows you to play ChessJam inside of Facebook. The web version will have all of the same features and both web and desktop versions will continue to be updated in parallel.