Multiplayer Chess

Playing chess online with friends is fun, but if you have any difficulties, find your answers right here.

How do you handle abusive users and cheaters?

We do not tolerate bullying, cheating or any other abusive behavior. If you have knowledge of such actions, please report the user’s name and their behavior. We may penalize their score, ban them for a limited time or, in extreme cases, remove their account and ban their IP. At least once we banned an entire IP range. Your safety trumps any pursuit for profit.

In chat, you have a Report action button for the chat messages that you receive. We receive a copy of the message and determine the appropriate actions. For example, abusive players may have their chat privileges revoked.

You can also block annoying opponents and they won’t be able to invite you anymore.

Is it safe for a child to play SparkChess online?

We are parents ourselves and we’ve taken precautions to make SparkChess Multiplayer a fun and safe environment for kids. Children under 16 do not provide any personally-identifiable information and don’t have access to the Chat feature. We believe this is the safest way to ensure that they are not exposed to inappropriate language (filtering is done for English only). However, we cannot make any guarantees. We recommend parental involvement in all online interactions. If you notice anything offensive used in usernames or profile pictures, we encourage you to submit them to our attention.

Players are also able to block unwanted interactions with a block list.

Filtering the players by subnet will only show players connected from the same network – usually the same physical location. Use this option to have your children see only opponents from the same household or nearby area.

For schools and chess clubs we can offer a complete separate environment. Please contact us and let us know your requirements.

How is the multiplayer score calculated?

SparkChess uses an Elo-based scoring system. Elo may be a bit confusing for beginners but is well-understood by chess players and it’s used by chess federations worldwide.

The Elo system awards points based on which player is more likely to win based on the existing scores. Two players with equal scores should be equal in skill and are expected to win 50% of the time. In contrast, a player with a much lower score is expected to lose. Let’s use an example:

Player A has 2200 points and Player B has 1600. Based on the formula, Player A is expected to win 9 out of 10 games, so if he/she wins, there’s no big achievement and will be awarded just 1 point. In contrast, Player B is expected to win just 10% of the games, so of he/she wins, he or she receives 19 points. In fact, player B would receive 9 points just for a draw!

You can see how this system is fairer. Someone can’t accumulate score by playing only with other lower-ranked players. Also, scores don’t grow indefinitely, they tend to stabilize after a number of matches. Therefore, the best way to increase your score is to play (and win) against someone with similar score.

Here’s the formula we use:

S_{A}{}' = S_{A} + 20\left (R-\frac{1}{1+10^{\frac{S_{B}-S_{A}}{700}}} \right )

where S’A is Player’s A new score, SA is Player’s A old score, SB is Player’s B old score and R is the the game result: 1 for Player A winning, 0.5 for a draw or 0 for Player A losing.

Compared to FIDE’s formula, we use different factors: 20 instead of 15 so players get more points for each win and 700 instead of 400 so players get at least one point even when playing against weaker opponents.

Is there a difference in multiplayer between the free and premium version of SparkChess?

Here’s the list of multiplayer Premium benefits:

  • Create and manage teams;
  • Game stats to track progress;
  • History / replay of all multiplayer games, with cloud sync across devices;
  • Private playing areas;
  • Unlimited number of daily games (free accounts are dynamically limited to conserve resources);
  • Unlimited score (free accounts are limited to 2000 points);
  • Priority access if the service is congested;

Is the multiplayer service free?

Yes. There are no monthly fees. However, paying customers do enjoy extra benefits, including creating and managing teams, stats and history, private playing areas, unlimited number of daily games, unlimited score, priority access and more.