What would you like to see in SparkChess multiplayer next?

by

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.

New scoring

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?

Timing

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 a 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?

Spectating

No one asked for this, but I thought I should bring it forward anyway.One more complex 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.

Anything else?

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.

 

 

79 Responses

  1. satish
    satish at

    I would like to see more puzzles

    Reply
  2. john borrelli
    john borrelli at

    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.

    Reply
  3. Horst Adolph
    Horst Adolph at

    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.

    Reply
    1. Jubair Siddeeque
      Jubair Siddeeque at

      I would like to see an alert after each opponent move, may be a small sound, or a vibrate if on phone

      Reply
  4. schlott
    schlott at

    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.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie
      Bonnie at

      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.

      Reply
  5. Donte Hunter
    Donte Hunter at

    It Would Be Nice If There Are More Backgrounds

    Reply
  6. Tony Collins
    Tony Collins at

    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
    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Troy
    Troy at

    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.

    Reply
  8. Seppo V
    Seppo V at

    My opinion is that this is OK as such. I like it!

    Reply
  9. David Hirst
    David Hirst at

    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!

    Reply
  10. Chantal
    Chantal at

    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.

    Reply
  11. Ernest Ivy
    Ernest Ivy at

    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.

    Reply
  12. Darren
    Darren at

    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.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Carl Bicknell
      Carl Bicknell at

      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….)

      Reply
      1. joe blogs
        joe blogs at

        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.

        Reply
  13. Joseph
    Joseph at

    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.

    Reply
  14. Del Faber
    Del Faber at

    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.

    Reply
  15. mujtaba
    mujtaba at

    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

    Reply
  16. Mark Jaremko
    Mark Jaremko at

    enable spark chess to save games I play against computer so that I can look at them for future reference.

    Reply
  17. M.S.
    M.S. at

    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.

    Reply
  18. Carlos Luna
    Carlos Luna at

    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…

    Reply
  19. Charles van der Hoog
    Charles van der Hoog at

    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.

    Reply
  20. M.Govinda Prasad
    M.Govinda Prasad at

    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 .

    Reply
  21. Daniel Cordosi
    Daniel Cordosi at

    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.

    Reply
  22. steve
    steve at

    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

    thanks steve

    Reply
  23. David Smith
    David Smith at

    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.

    Reply
  24. Roy R Mendiola
    Roy R Mendiola at

    Great site – very challenging! I wish I could afford the membership fee. Thank you for offering the free online chess with challenging opponents!

    Reply
  25. Kevin
    Kevin at

    I want to play Boris without waiting forever for the next move.
    Also remove Claire’s smirk when she wins.

    Reply
  26. robin marthin
    robin marthin at

    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 ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

    Robin

    Reply
  27. Annie
    Annie at

    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.

    Reply
    1. chiefchirpa
      chiefchirpa at

      how did you get the smiley? : )

      Reply
    2. NeverLose
      NeverLose at

      I can beat clair with like ten redoes

      Reply
  28. Benjamin
    Benjamin at

    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!

    Reply
  29. Jubair Siddeeque
    Jubair Siddeeque at

    Can there be a way to play forced moves automatically. Like only one legal move in the event of a check.

    Reply
  30. Steve
    Steve at

    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.

    Reply
  31. k
    k at

    Please add a level a little bit higher than deon

    Reply
  32. Ralph
    Ralph at

    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?

    Reply
  33. Wayne Phillips
    Wayne Phillips at

    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.

    Cheers

    Reply
  34. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    like a bar that controls hardness for the ai, not single ais. Though, I love your site!

    Reply
  35. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    has anyone beat clair

    Reply
  36. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    And a dragon set in full

    Reply
  37. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    And mark people you like playing with so you can find them, maybe with there permision

    Reply
  38. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    And autamatically on chat if you have the free version, no one ever turns it on

    Reply
  39. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    THis is an awesome game

    Reply
  40. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    and a championship where you play and have a champion for the website

    Reply
  41. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    Two awesomely good ais playing where you get to watch and get tricks

    Reply
  42. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    and no times where on both players screens it says the opposite player resigned,

    Reply
  43. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    And a sigh saying “Spark chess is awesome at the top”

    Reply
  44. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    if not the bar someon harder than codey but much easier than clair. and pleas make a dragon ai aswell

    Reply
  45. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    and program the ablility to overlook things into the ai pleas

    Reply
  46. NeverLose
    NeverLose at

    And make it so you don’t have to have a minimum points to get in main area

    Reply
  47. kirthi krishnan
    kirthi krishnan at

    pls let us know the elo of guru.. isnt much better than boris and too slow on opening moves

    Reply
  48. Richard Givis
    Richard Givis at

    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.

    Reply
  49. Gmoney
    Gmoney at

    Why are there so many ‘hidden’ users? I bought the program and can’t find an option for ‘hidden’. What’s up with that?

    Reply
  50. Gmoney
    Gmoney at

    I find it hard to progress with so many obviously ‘pro’ users masquerading as guests.

    Reply
  51. Atish
    Atish at

    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 🙂

    Reply
  52. Bhuvanendra
    Bhuvanendra at

    A feature to flip the board and see it from Black’s perspective

    Reply
  53. Joesph Michalski
    Joesph Michalski at

    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.”

    Reply
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