Playing Chess Online
Playing chess online should be fun. Here are the most common questions about playing SparkChess on our website and about chess in general.
What is the future of SparkChess on Chrome Web Store?
In August 2016, Google revealed their plan to move away from the Chrome apps platform over the next two years.
This is their roadmap for Chrome apps (extensions are not affected):
- “Late 2016”: new apps are available only for people using Chrome OS. Existing apps are unaffected.
- “Second half of 2017”: Users with Windows and Mac OS computers can no longer install new Chrome apps. Existing apps continue to work.
- “Early 2018”: Users on Windows and Mac OS will no longer be able to load Chrome apps.
As such, you should stop using the SparkChess Chrome Web Store app as soon as possible and instead simply play the game on sparkchess.com. The functionality is identical to the Chrome Web Store app. You can bookmark the page by clicking on the ☆ star on the right of the URL bar or by pressing CTRL+D.
Even if you’re using Chrome OS, we still recommend you to play SparkChess on sparkchess.com as we won’t update the Chrome version as often and by 2018 we may retire it completely.
What happened to the Flash version of SparkChess?
SparkChess was the first online chess engine, first released in 2002 as flashCHESS and then rewritten from scratch in 2008. It was created with Flash (first Actionscript, then AS3 language) because at that time there simply were no other technologies available (except for Java applets, which were universally despised.)
As time progressed, standard web technologies caught up with Flash and in 2015 we were finally able to make SparkChess intop a progressive web app using the latest open technologies (HTML5, CSS3, ES5, Canvas, WebGL, Web Workers).
Now Flash is being pushed out by all browser vendors so we just can’t support it either. The Flash version is no longer supported and multiplayer completely unavailable. The last Flash version (v.8) will remain online for the foreseeable future primarily for nostalgia.
What are the browser requirements for playing SparkChess online?
SparkChess requires a modern browser to play online. Supported browsers include:
- Internet Explorer 10+
- Edge Browser
- Firefox 21+
- Google Chrome and Chrome for Android 46+
- Safari and iOS Safari 6+
- Opera 15+
- Android Browser 4.4+
- Blackberry 10
If in doubt, we recommend you to use Google Chrome (or its open source brother Chromium) on any platform as it provides all the features SparkChess needs, speed, stability and security.
Why do you show ads?
SparkChess could not exist without ads and paying customers. Simply put, they pay the bills.
Developing a game like SparkChess, operating a website with over two million monthly views and maintaining a multiplayer service that needs to be up and responsive 24/7 is not cheap.
For example, we use MaxCDN so that the game loads as fast as possible, we use a EV SSL certificate to make sure the connection is secure, DNS with failover so the site never goes down, IP filtering to mitigate attacks, code signing certificates so you can trust downloading the game and so on. We even need to buy mobile phones and tablets to make sure SparkChess runs anywhere. Then there’s development and customer support.
For ads, we’ve been using AdSense exclusively. AdSense has the most strict rules for websites and advertisers and disallow misleading ads, malware or annoying ad types. They don’t pay best, but we feel they are the best for you, the player. We also try not to abuse ads – on any given page you will not find more than 2 ads, even though most sites place far more than that.
We are now experimenting with in-game ads for two main reasons: it’s what Google recommends for games and they allow the game to take up all the screen size. We think it’s a good tradeoff. Currently we show ads when the game starts and then on game over, at least 8 minutes apart.
Is playing SparkChess online free?
Yes. Online play is free, although we display unobtrusive ads from Google. If you prefer not seeing ads, you can download the standalone version of the game or subscribe to SparkChess Premium Live.
I see both SparkChess and flashCHESS mentioned. What’s the difference between them?
They are the same product. When we created the first game engine in 2002, we called it flashCHESS. Later, in 2008 the third generation of the engine, rewritten from scratch, took the web by storm and we wanted to keep the name due to its heritage, naming it flashCHESS III. Later, to prevent any trademark complaints from Adobe regarding the use of “Flash”, we decided to rename the game as SparkChess.
SparkChess® is registered trademark.