Thursday, December 31, 2009

Announcing "Survivor Sundays" Tournaments and version 2.4!

On Sundays, the Stats page will also display a leader board for Survivor Sunday, an all day tournament that ChessJam is excited to start THIS WEEKEND! Every Sunday (GMT-5), we will open a room specifically for the tournament. Players are challenged to win as many games as possible during the day but if a player loses two games, he or she is blocked from playing in the Survivor room for the remainder of the day (you can still observe other tournament players and you can still play in normal rooms). You can track your progress directly in the room. Good luck!

Version 2.4!

Be sure to upgrade to the 2.4 release (just posted!). Your existing installation should upgrade itself. Version 2.4 includes new features to support the new Sunday Survivor tournament (and other soon-to-be-announced tournament types) as well as several bug fixes and minor enhancements:
  • Challenge notifications now remain longer and only require one click to accept/decline.
  • After a game, your opponent and any observers are notified when you leave the room.
  • New themes! We have some fun surprises in store. Go login now and you'll see what we're talking about (be sure you are using v2.4 or higher).
  • If you haven't looked at the STATS view lately, be sure to notice the new game history tab, rating chart, leader board for your country and other stats.
As many of you have noticed, we are seeing some VERY good chess players joining ChessJam lately. The leader board has been very dynamic and we have a few users quickly approaching a rating of 2000+. We are now auto-tweeting the top 5 users and top 5 countries each evening at 9PM EST (GMT-5). Follow us at

Big milestone approaching:

We are quickly approaching 1,000,000 moves on ChessJam so watch the blog and twitter over the next few days. We'll be announcing who made the 1,000,000th move!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

v2.3.2 and we're starting to get some good activity!

The challenge with any new multi-player gaming application is finding enough players to make it fun. Until the application reaches a certain "critical mass", it's a bit boring! During the past few days, we've seen some good accelerated growth and now it's getting easier and easier to find someone to play! Yesterday we had over 700 games played.

We just added a few cosmetic enhancements throughout the application and fixed a few bugs and performance issues. Version 2.3.2 is now available.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chessjam 2.3 Available!

We just posted ChessJam 2.3. What's new:

  • New challenge court features
    • The "Who's Here" window has been replaced with "Who's Online" that now shows everyone logged in instead of just who's in the courtyard. Icons indicate the player's current status such as "in a game", "in the courtyard" and "idle". As we get more traffic, we'll provide filters and other controls.
    • You can now challenge online players even if they are not in the courtyard (see messaging system below)
  • New messaging system - you can now send messages to your buddies even if they are offline.
  • We also use this system to communicate challenges. When you are challenged you get a small toast notification (with audio alert) alerting you to the challenge. You can accept, decline or you can simply ignore the challenge and it will quietly go away.
  • New system broadcast messaging capabilities which will allow us to notify you of upcoming tournaments, events, downtimes and more.
  • Numerous bug fixes - we continue to improve the overall quality of the system. This release contains several bug fixes. If you discover other bugs, please go to the forums and report them so we can jump on it.
If you already have ChessJam installed, it will auto-update next time you run it.

Marketing and Traffic

For those of you that have been with us for a few weeks, you have probably noticed that we are starting to get some good traction and it's getting easier every day to find someone to challenge. We are doing some aggressive marketing to build a quality community. Rather than targeting the general public, we are doing more targeted marketing directly at good chess players. You can help by inviting your friends, family, co-workers, local chess club members, etc. The more good players we have, the more fun this gets.

What's next?

  • We have already started working on correspondence chess (games that last days and weeks where you move at your convenience).
  • More and more stats, leader boards, charts and a few fun surprises
  • Continued improvement of performance and overall game play
Stay tuned!

Monday, December 21, 2009

New improved rating system implemented!

During the past few weeks, we have been analyzing game data and trying to determine the best rating system for ChessJam. Although there are a few standard algorithms out there, there is not a consistent way of implementing them. As you can probably tell from our recent leader board enhancements, we are all about making ChessJam competitive and fun so it's important that we implement a rating system that works well.

This morning, we recalculated everyone's rating based on our new system. The recalculation went through the entire game history of every player from day 1.

Here are a few facts:
  • Everyone's rating starts at 1500. Some other sites use 1200, some modify it based on age and other factors, others use 1500 or more. We decided to go with 1500.
  • During a player's first 20 games, their rating changes more dramatically from game to game (higher kfactor). The intent is to get them into the right range within the first 20 games. This algorithm replaces the averaging we were using before which was resulting in some confusion.
  • Rapid/Blitz/Bullet games get a slightly higher kfactor which results in the game counting slightly more than a longer game.
Everything is based on the ELO rating system.

If you go to the STATS view and click GAME HISTORY, you can see how your rating has changed since your first game. If you see anything odd, let us know in the forums.

Stay tuned for some major new features this week!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Visualizing 24 hours of ChessJammin'

We are playing with some new data visualization for ChessJam that you will see in the app soon but we couldn't wait to give you a sneak peek.

Below is a heat map representing 24 hours of ChessJam user activity. The darker the red, the higher concentration of activity.

Stay tuned!

Monday, December 14, 2009

ChessJam Stats!

In our recent 2.2 release, we added a new view called STATS that takes you to a collection of statistics including top ranked users, top countries, a list of all countries and game history.
Below are a few screenshots showing TOP USERS, TOP COUNTRIES and ALL COUNTRIES.

Every game you have played on ChessJam is listed in the game history report. You can click on the REVIEW link to review any previous game move by move.

The notation on the left side is Portable Game Notation (PGN) and can be copy/pasted if needed.

We are already working on additional stats including some cool data visualization so check back often!

World Chess News - Chess TV recommends trying ChessJam!

World Chess news is a half-hour long TV-show about chess, aired weekly on local channels in Sweden and on the Internet. At approx 17:53 into the program, the reporter introduces and says, "ChessJam has incredible graphics and a wonderful castle environment which is different for this type of chess site" -

Friday, December 11, 2009

ChessJam 2.2 Available

We just released ChessJam 2.2. Your existing version will auto-update to the new release. Here's what's new:
  • New STATS view - now contains the global leader board. If you are a frequent player, you might be on it! We will be adding new stats to this page shortly including the ability to view your personal game history, review previous games move-by-move, and more.
  • Fixed a bug that caused issues when playing multiple games at once.
  • Minor bug fixes throughout.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ChessJam Banners now available

If you like ChessJam, please spread the word! We've created a few banners to help at


Online chess with a new attitude -

Monday, December 7, 2009

We need your feedback! Come to the forums.

We are already working on the next version of ChessJam and we need your help. Please go to the forums at and report any bugs that you have found and any suggestions that you have on making ChessJam better.


Friday, December 4, 2009

New ChessJam Website!

We just launched a new ChessJam website - check it out at  We also launched the new ChessJam forums at

Development is underway for version 2.2 with a few cool surprises.  Stay tuned!