Internet Chess Club

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The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is a commercial Internet chess server devoted to the play and discussion of chess and chess variants. ICC currently has over 30,000 subscribing members.[1] It was the first Internet chess server and is the first and largest pay to play chess server.[2][3][4]



The first Internet chess server (ICS), programmed by Michael Moore and Richard Nash, was launched on 15 January 1992.[5] Players logged in by telnet, and the board was displayed as ASCII text. Bugs in the server software allowed illegal moves, false checkmates etc. Over time more and more features were added to ICS, such as Elo ratings and a choice of graphical interfaces. The playing pool grew steadily, many of the server bugs were fixed, and players began to have higher expectations for stability.

In 1992, Daniel Sleator (darooha) volunteered to take over as head programmer, and began a large overhaul of the server code. He addressed, among other issues, the frequent complaint that players would lose blitz games on time due to Internet lag. In 1994, he copyrighted the code, and began receiving purchase offers from companies wanting to commercialize the server. On 1 March 1995, Sleator announced his intentions to commercialize ICS, renaming it the Internet Chess Club, or ICC, and charging a yearly membership fee.

Some programmers who had worked on the original ICS, led by Chris Petroff, became unhappy with what they saw as the commoditization of their project. They formed the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS), which to this day continues to allow everyone to access all features for free.[6]


ICC provides the proprietary BlitzIn software, currently at version 2.8.1[7], and the Dasher program, currently at version 1.4.1.[8] The software has functions to try to detect players using the assistance of chess programs. It does this by detecting changes in window input focus, and the names of matching processes to known chess programs. For a positive match, both criteria need to be met. It also detects if a non-FIDE titled player has a high percentage of its moves matching up with known computer programs. Also, ICC has paid employees to detect computer cheating.

There are other software front-ends which work with the ICC system including a number of Java Applet interfaces which allow full-featured play via a browser.

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