SparkChess 7 has been rock solid for the past year, with an uptime of 99.98% and almost all feedback from you is positive. Still, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve the game and the way you play with it.
We’re looking at some changes and additions and we’d like your feedback.
Probably the most often requested feature is an Elo-style scoring system. We initially chose the existing system because it is simple, intuitive and predictable; new players can understand it easily. It’s also possible to award points when the game ends abruptly (a player resigns or their connection is lost). Its main drawback is inflation – some players’ scores have exploded this year.
We’re strongly considering an Elo score, but one that would take into account more nuances other than win/lose/draw. The new system would not replace existing scores overnight, for a while they would run side-by-side. Elo takes into account the probability of winning, but it’s more ‘opaque’ – more difficult for beginners to understand and calculate. Elo also doesn’t solve cheating.
Do you have anything against implementing it?
We’re also getting requests for faster-paced games, some people think 2 minutes per move is too much. The easiest way to solve this is by allowing players to join different game ‘lobbies’ – say games at 30 seconds/move, 1 minute/move and 2 minutes/move. A more complex approach would be to use a time control system like 20 minutes per game with 30 seconds bonus per move.
My fear is that newcomers would have difficulties understanding a complex time control system (remember, SparkChess is an online chess game for everyone, children and adults, beginners and experts alike) and people won’t have the patience to stare at a screen for several minutes (online multiplayer is different from a real game where you can see your opponent). Blitz-style game would still not be possible, due to network latency. Especially players on mobile devices, who connect from public areas, often are at a disadvantage, with moves needing up to several seconds to propagate (our servers are located in New York and they are fast, the latency is below 200ms on average, tested from US and Europe).
So, what do you think? A simple x seconds/move would be fine? Do you need advanced time control?
No one asked for this, but I thought I should bring it forward anyway. One more complex chess multiplayer feature would allow you to choose from a list of on-going games and simply watch them unfolding. This feature would require more time to implement, so we won’t do it unless you guys really really want it.
Got any multiplayer feature you just have to have? I’d love to hear it!
Your feedback is welcome – comment on this post to share your thoughts.
I would like to see more puzzles
I would like a version of chess clocks. I would like to play speed chess 5 minute games. I would like to be able to play the highest level, I play the Boris level, but I would like to be able to give myself a time clock advantage when playing at the highest level, like 2 minutes for the program and 10 minutes for me.
There seems to be something wrong with the program too quickly declaring a draw. It should be three identical consecutive positions or moves, shouldn’t it?
Also, in a position that seems hopelessly drawn, there is no way for either party to propose a draw.
SparkChess observes the three-repetition rule. If you find a situation where it doesn’t, please export the PGN and send it to us.
You can propose a Draw in multiplayer.
I would like to see an alert after each opponent move, may be a small sound, or a vibrate if on phone
Definitely. We’ll add this.
The game is fine. I just like to play the computer and occasionally a human. I am not sure how easy it is introducing new options. I do like playing a computer because it is fast, rather than waiting 2 minutes for a human.
Love the site, however as a beginner, I would like a level above Cody, but slower than Claire.
Also, spectating would help me a lot.
Thanks for the opportunity for feedback.
Bonnie, thanks for the feedback. The full version of SparkChess has another opponent – Deon – more skilled than Cody but not as difficult as Claire. You should give it a try. SparkChess is available on all major platforms – have a look here: http://www.sparkchess.com/download-all.html
It Would Be Nice If There Are More Backgrounds
Deon was a great addition, would still like a level between Deon and Claire. Would love a review of a game, tips on where it went wrong, or could have been better
The chess here is amazing as it allows me to play against human opponents. While to find opponents who test your skills constantly is hard, to improve my chess game here is great. It’s been a great experience. It would be nice if the players had an option to view the check mated positions towards the end of the game and there is a way to view the board clearly. More puzzles will be helpful for us beginners to build our skills. This is an amazing and awesome site. Thank you for allowing anyone to play here. Thanks a lot. Means a lot to us chess lovers.
My opinion is that this is OK as such. I like it!
I love everything about your website and appreciate your efforts at providing it. I would love to see an Elo scoring system. I would be more motivated to challenge higher-ranked opponents. I would also like to see a one-minute-per-move option to speed things up a bit. Thanks for all you do!
P.S. I love your graphics. So much easier to see what is going on than on chess.com!
I would like a more intermediate level. It seems that the site jumps from beginner to advanced too quickly, so I either have too easy of a game or too difficult of one.
There should be a box to check which will provide an explanation on how to better one’s chess game…for example: teach beginner’s how to keep their moves towards the middle, and advance their pieces faster in an opponent’s territory to put pressure on them before they put pressure on you. Teach beginner’s how to play “defense and offense” at the same time because many novice’s play “too much defense or too much offense.” That’s not good because there has to be a balance…move quickly into the opponent’s territory, but block out an opponent’s advance every now and then “if necessary.” Sometimes an opponent’s move towards your territory is not a threat, but meant to appear as a threat in order to get you to take attention away from advancing towards them, so you can start playing more defense and that simply takes the pressure off the opponent and allow them to put more pressure on you. Having different explanation’s like the one’s I just gave, will teach novice’s how to be more competitive and provide a more respectable challenge to the more mature and advanced chess players. This will also, make the advanced chess player’s game more efficient because of the increased competition for your new system of teaching novice players without using the more complex system of teaching (NK4 to …). Forget those symbols and provide an explanation instead. Teach novice’s that the way they move their pieces on the chessboard-is the same way they make their decisions and moves in real life. In other words, if they waiver to the left or right on the chessboard, then they waiver to the left or right in real life. Teach them the psychology of moving straight ahead on the chessboard so they can learn the psychology of leadership in real life-by moving straight ahead and not wavering to the left or right. Chess can make good decision maker’s out of people (especially young people) when you start teaching them the psychology of chess as it applies not only to how you move on the chessboard, but how you also, move in real life…I hope this helps.
Teaching goes beyond the scope of SparkChess as a game, however we have a great chess player, George Zeigler writing articles on chess, especially psychology.
It’d be good to be able to click from one piece to another without having to ‘click off’ the previous piece.
Would also be good to see more levels/opponents.
Please can we have a slightly better A.I
Boris is weak (about 1600 elo Max) and Guru isn’t much better and takes far too long.
Also adding little quirks / a back-story to the A.I characters would be nice. For example, Boris could offer draws in totally lost positions. (he’s that kindof guy….)
The backstory idea is nice, we’ll think about it.
Strong AI is not our main focus, there are insanely strong engines out there used by grandmasters. What we want is a chess game that’s fun for everyone.
That’s if you let him think for enough time as that’s how the engine is designed, is appears.
Guru is actually quite good, my over the board rating is 1900 and I struggle a lot with Guru. The other characters are very easy for me to beat but Guru is tough. I’d estimate him to be at the 2000/2100 range.
Boris is a good advanced player but I would be happy if you can provide around 2100 rated or above program and moves as quickly as Boris.
Thank you very much.
First – congratulations on a great chess site. I agree with Tony Collins – I play Deon mostly – I invariably win and I know his weakest play. However, I don’t often win against Claire – to lose too often gets boring – as is to win too often. I know that I should play Claire mostly. But an in-between level would be good. Thanks again – you have provided me with much entertainment and helped to maintain my thought processes in retirement.
your game is awesome I love it so much. I did not play chess so much but when I played Spark Chess. thank you, it was you, I am now chess teacher. But my real desires is to meet the master guru but my mom and dad will not let me buy <3 <3 <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3
enable spark chess to save games I play against computer so that I can look at them for future reference.
You can export the games you play as PGN. Click on Replay and then on the icon on the right (->). It saves the game as PGN. PGN files can be replayed in the full version of SparkChess or in other PGN viewers.
I would like to be forced into strategies or specific tactics in learning scenarios. If there were some way for you to teach using a primary knight opening knowing full well you would treat them as expendable and focus on the bishops, then that would be great. Or, you could have a pawn opening and focus on knight usage and have bishops secondary.
Would like to be able to “flip” board in middle of game to see board from “black’s” perspective.
Also new chess pieces: North V. South; USMC V. Navy; Samauri; etc…
Interesting ideas. If there’s enough demand for more sets, we’ll add them.
Flipping the board to see the game from the opponent perspective – if other players request this, we’ll add the feature.
For me, personally, the most annoying thing about Sparkchess is that I cannot get the same opening in order to practice or learn about openings. The first AI move seems random.
This could be solved by storing a game. But there are only six (6!!) boards that I can store. We live in 2014 and I could save a billion games on my computer without problem.
And of course, the option to flip sides mid-game or anytime at all is available in all chess programs except SparkChess. Why is that???
The graphics are perfect, though, and the chess engine works fine and is on a good gradient through the avatars.
Except for the three annoying things mentioned above, I am very happy with Sparkchess and am glad I bought it.
Charles, the full version of SparkChess can export and import an unlimited number of games in PGN format – thus being compatible across platforms and with third-party PGN viewers. The 6 save slots are intended for games in progress, checkpoints and the like.
Flipping boards is something we’re strongly considering for the next version, we just didn’t get this request before.
Practicing openings – we intend to add more chess lessons and Openings would be great there.
Overall, thanks for the feedback, it’s very welcome.
Present system is very good . I would like to suggest is that a player who is registered should be able to know his score up to that completed game .
You can see your present score (and more) by clicking on the Account button from the invitation window.
I don’t like the idea of faster paced games I’m a slow thinker, as far as the score goes I don’t would like to earn points for a stalemate.
G’day, I only play against the machine not on line, personally I find it easy to beat deon but cannot match clair I would like another level in between these two if possible I don’t seem to be learning anything at the moment
I started playing Boris thinking he was impossible to beat. After 200 games or so I finally beat him. I still don’t beat him a lot but do so more often now. I’ve gotten so much better playing a superior opponent and sometimes watch you tube videos to supplement my progress. I think your site is as close to perfect as it could be. Thank you so much for providing it. It made me interested in Chess again. I hadn’t played much these past 40 years until I discovered your site.
Great site – very challenging! I wish I could afford the membership fee. Thank you for offering the free online chess with challenging opponents!
I want to play Boris without waiting forever for the next move.
Also remove Claire’s smirk when she wins.
The play is so fine ¡¡¡ i remeber that in the older version the program indicated the name of the diverses opening game and in the new version isn t. is good the player Deon but i still think that is need another player between Deon and Claire… i very happy to buyed the play and i hope the next version¡¡¡ congratulations ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
After daring to register & play humans, plus 2 other AI’s here, I was too intimidated, so Cody has stayed my ‘friend’ 🙂 I can win only because i make fewer dumb moves than does he, lol
My usual m.o. is to let my crazy but protected queen catapult like a lightening bolt LOL, to end the game asap. (No sense prolonging someone else’s agony). Two problems: am totally clueless as to most other strategies, plus totally lost as to how to read any position on the board.
so 2 questions: is it possible to have an AI-opponent only a tad better than Cody?
and is it possible that in risking playing humans here us rank beginners can be grouped with other rank beginners so we are more equally matched. makes sense? Sir
Thank you for allowing anyone to play here, & for the visually-easy pieces. Very much appreciated. Thank you again.
The full version of SparkChess, available for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, has ‘Deon’, an opponent better than Cody.
In multiplayer you can filter opponents to show only those with similar scores to yours.
We will try to add more chess lessons for beginners.
A friend bought me the full version this week. It’s downloaded, but also lacking computer-skills, now can’t even find it to play chess, sigh. Any help you can give is appreciated. 🙂 Thank you.
Please read this: http://www.sparkchess.com/faq.html#i-downloaded-the-game-but-i-cant-find-it-do-i-need-to-buy-it-again
If you’re still having difficulties, please contact us: https://www.sparkchess.com/contact.html
how did you get the smiley? : )
I can beat clair with like ten redoes
You should add the function to store the games that user’s play online! I just played an awesome game in the King’s Indian Defense and wanted to analyze it but you don’t save the games anywhere! Please add this, I want to be able to look over games I played!
You can export your games in PGN format.
Can there be a way to play forced moves automatically. Like only one legal move in the event of a check.
I’d like to have a slight pause before the computer makes its moves. It often moves so quickly after mine that I miss where it’s moved.
In the full version of SparkChess you have the option to display an arrow for the last move.
Please add a level a little bit higher than deon
I just joined Spark Chess. I lost my first 3 games and noticed that it said I lost points. What are “points” and how many points do I have?
You start with 1000 points. Points are your score, or “rating”.
It would be great if the time were to flash (or there was some other cue, even an audible one) when there are only 10 seconds remaining on the clock. A couple times I’ve forfeited an interesting game simply because I failed to notice that the clock was about to hit zero. Super annoying!
Otherwise, it’s a great site and I’m glad I’ve found it. I’m sure I’ll be challenging many to play (and accepting challenges) for years to come. Heck, who knows, I may even upgrade to Premium some time! 😉
I’ll be sure to spread the word on my social media channels.
like a bar that controls hardness for the ai, not single ais. Though, I love your site!
has anyone beat clair
And a dragon set in full
And mark people you like playing with so you can find them, maybe with there permision
And autamatically on chat if you have the free version, no one ever turns it on
THis is an awesome game
and a championship where you play and have a champion for the website
Two awesomely good ais playing where you get to watch and get tricks
and no times where on both players screens it says the opposite player resigned,
And a sigh saying “Spark chess is awesome at the top”
if not the bar someon harder than codey but much easier than clair. and pleas make a dragon ai aswell
and program the ablility to overlook things into the ai pleas
And make it so you don’t have to have a minimum points to get in main area
pls let us know the elo of guru.. isnt much better than boris and too slow on opening moves
What version of SparkChess are you using? There are big differences from SparkChess 8 to 9…
Is the time limit per move adjustable in the full version of Spark Chess? Can it be set to unlimited? I hate being forced to move within a time limit.
In multiplayer? You can’t set it to unlimited, but there are more options – 2 mins/move and a more complex time control, depending on the lobby / play area.
Why are there so many ‘hidden’ users? I bought the program and can’t find an option for ‘hidden’. What’s up with that?
You should see the option in the Invitation Window. Players can choose to be available only for other players in the same country, or same network or with similar scores. If you can’t see the option, please contact our Support.
I find it hard to progress with so many obviously ‘pro’ users masquerading as guests.
Hi Armand Niculescu 🙂
Congratulations on your new game, Sparkchess 9.
One feature I would like to have is to be able to skip to a certain move rather than re – playing the entire game form the beginning.
Spectating would be awesome too, as well as the ability to flip the board. More in depth lines of openings such as the Sicilian and Kings Indian would be lovely.
I know your new Sparkchess has improved in strength but Guru and Boris isn’t too hard too beat. In fact, I beat Guru in only 15 minutes without even thinking too much.
Anyway, these are only suggestions that can be implemented.
Thanks, much appreciated 🙂
A feature to flip the board and see it from Black’s perspective
PLEASE add being able to flip the board, AND BEING ABLE TO BEAT CLAIRE!!!! ARGH!!!!
Other then that, I LOVE THIS GAME. I bought the Pro Version.
Maybe some more lessons would be nice.. And if the player disconnects because of wifi issues maybe the server could save the state for both player for like 15 to 45 seconds before ending the game for both players… The player who was not having issues should get a message like this: “Your opponent is having connectivity problems. Please wait while we attempt to reconnect the game.”
Flipping the board will be possible in v10, which should become available before the end of spring 2017.
We’ve laid the groundwork for allowing a player to reconnect after being disconnected and we hope to have this feature available later this year. It may seem trivial, but it’s very delicate.
My account score has stopped appearing on screen.
Please contact Support.