SOLO Chess Tournament - Anyone?

Mark Hubbard's picture
Submitted by Mark Hubbard on Sun, 2008-01-20 09:25

Just as a bit of light relief from all the internecine warfare, but to keep our brains sharp as well, is anyone interested in a SOLO email chess tournament?

It's my favourite game, but all my chess buddies have either moved away from me, or I from them, so I've not played a game in over six years (and miss it).

I'm prepared to administer such a tournament, however, it will be very informal: for example, competitors must do a move only every two days in the normal course of events, and can ask and must be given any holidays called (that is, I'm all of this April house-boating and drinking my way up the Murray River, so will not be playing during that month. Overall, I'm busy, as is everybody else, so I want a relaxed pace). If it takes a year to run a tournament, then so be it. I reckon we need at least ten members to make a decent tournament, playing initially a round robin, best of three games for each set. As well as administrator I shall be sole arbiter of rules and rulings. Initial games can be (possibly, refer below) in the order of signing up here (my first opponent will be the first person on this thread to put their hand up as being in). If there is enough interest to get a tournament going I shall think up an appropriate prize (other than glory, of course).

So, I'll leave this post up for a fortnight, and then we'll see if we continue from there - tell all your SOLO friends. If you're in, please put a post up to this thread, and send me an email (so I have your email address) to Simply put 'Chess Please' in the subject line, nothing in the body please. Obviously, you should be familiar with chess board annotation so that you are proficient at playing email chess - I guess I can given anybody a crash course if necessary.


(On your first post here perhaps give brief history of your playing level, for no other reason than I suspect it will be useful - perhaps I will use it other than the stated policy above to set the first games of the round robin. As for me, I was junior and senior chess champion of Lincoln High School a quarter of a century ago, played my first year of University, then found women and drugs year two, so had to give it up. Over the years I've participated in the online IECC site (probably the biggest Internet site), and my rating there was 1176 when I played my last game - but have not played there in a very long time as I decided in 80% of the games I was playing my opponents computer software. However, as stated, I've not played a single game in probably six years, and there's been a lot of alcohol under the bridge in that period, so I have no idea what level my game is now at.

One final point, knowing that SOLO people are of upstanding morals, I'm hoping cheating will not be an issue here: but, if any competitor is caught using computer software to decide their moves (recording is fine), then the penalty is death - hideous death by having to succumb to reading forty posts by Nick Otani DAILY (Nick, and dissendents, all welcome to play, even the monster Shrek!).

Any takers? [All postings regarding this, or any ongoing tournament that might begin must be to this thread, no other thread, so as to be low impact to the other concerns of SOLO.]


[William or Linz, is there anyway to highlight this post so the maximum SOLO members see it?]

( categories: )


Mark Hubbard's picture

Thanks for your post, I've not been trying to avoid it, just been a bit tied up.

For myself I've only the time for a move a day correspondence chess, and my game with Robert is currently using up, so I wouldn't have time to play an entire game at one sitting on I hope someone else will avail themselves of the chance though.

And perhaps if I ever get a holiday again, I'll drop in.



essxjay's picture

Thanks Mark, but I'm really not tourney material. I've played maybe a dozen games in my whole life; it wouldn't be much fun for anyone here. I'll watch, though!

If you head over to

DanielBell's picture

If you head over to, a great correspondance chess site, my username there is DanielBell, I'm always up for a game. I started playing competitively midway through last year so I need the practice to try and win some events!


Mark Hubbard's picture

But are you up for the tournament?

Cheering from the peanut gallery...

essxjay's picture

"I probably have a single digit rating!"

At least yours charts, m'dear. Eye

Just in case any morons on

Mark Hubbard's picture

Just in case any morons on board, the reason we play two games with each other is so that everyone has one white, and one black game, so whatever you are in your first game of each set, you play the opposite colour in the second set Smiling

I think I've figured out the prize for overall tournament winner ... more on that soon.

Tournament score card

Mark Hubbard's picture

Round One


Glenn: played 1 - score 1

Jim: played 1 - score 0

Robert: played 0 - score n/a

Mark: played 0 - score n/a

Bruce: played 0 - score n/a

r.d. Winefield: played 0 - score n/a


[Yes, Ectool, I'm going the cheapskate way Robert Smiling ]


Final rule, participants must make minimum of one move every two days: but all holidays asked for must be allowed. 

I can't be mucking around on

Mark Hubbard's picture

I can't be mucking around on this any longer so we're starting.


Rules, unless a lot of complaints are as follows:

Six players, first round, we all play each other two games (Glenn and Jim have just finished their first). The three players with the top scores go through to round two. If third and fourth persons are tied on scores, then a two, or four, or six, etc game playoff until two straight wins to decide the third place getter.

Does that sound okay?

William if you want to reorganise any of the below, which will be happening in SOLO Sports, just let me know.

For those who want to brush up on algebraic notation, go here.

Moves are to be posted to the threads below, by editing your previous move post so only two posts per thread. If anyone can think of a better way than Glenn's Smiling for getting a picture up, I'm listening. Otherwise, ignore diagrams.

To track my games I'm using the free EcTool email chess software.

I'll post updated scores in separate thread, but games are:

Second game Jim verse Glenn.

First game Robert (white) verse Mark (black).

First game Bruce Crawford verse R. Winefield.

Not too late for anybody else to join in.

OK, lets try this for a giggle...

Robert's picture

First order of business.

The easiest way to store the games on the site is in the PGN format after the game is decided:

[Event "SOLO Tournament"]
[Site "SOLO Passion"]
[Date "2008.1.26"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Jameson"]
[Black "JHN"]
[TimeControl "-"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "oft "]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bd3 g6 8.Qd2 Ng4 9.f3 Nxe3 10.Qxe3 Bg7 11.Nde2 O-O 12.O-O-O Qa5
13.Bc4 b5 14.Bb3 Nb4 15.Kb1 Be6 16.Nd5 Rfe8 17.a3 Nxd5 18.exd5 Bd7 19.c3 Qc7 20.g4 a5 21.h4 f5 22.Nf4 Qc8 23.g5 Be5 24.Rhe1 Bxf4
25.Qxf4 e5 26.dxe6ep Bxe6 27.Rxe6 Rxe6 28.Rxd6 Kh8 *


Nice, compact and it should be easy to cut and paste into one of the many web based computer programs so you can replay your greatest victories.

Netchess (Jameson's fav) saves games in PGN format and for $15 you can't go wrong.

Chessmaster 10 (My fav) is currently retailing for a measly $20 at Bestbuy/Amazon and includes a interactive chess clinic by a world junior chess champion. I can report that it has been very enjoyable so far (cue evil laugh).

Cheap bastards can rely on these freeware online chess games to help store and play their games:

Windows users try Winboard

Mac users try Chessic

All of these will allow you to save your game and export it in the PGN format to SOLO. Where, for less words than it takes for Ed Hudgins to excoriate me for being an uncivil smart arse, you too can the results of your game.

As for keeping score. May I suggest that we set up a few dummy accounts. Both players can have password access (which is changed at the beginning of each new game).

That way you can repeatably edit the post as each new move comes in and we won't eat up that much bandwidth.
If this is OK with Linz, let's do it!

Let the games begin I say!

The friends who are staying

Mark Hubbard's picture

The friends who are staying have gone to the Farmers Market, so I've been trawling the net for a site where two people can log into, play a game of chess a move at a time, saving the game after each move: there doesn't appear to be a single site that does this.

I'm thinking just straight old email chess will be the way to go, with games posted afterwards.

  Everything always gets

Mark Hubbard's picture


Everything always gets complicated Smiling

Ok to the Chess alegbra translation ... will do soon.


Ahem. The good news, we have a sixth player, so even numbers to go with.

The bad news, when I get a good idea like this, work then blows up in my face, plus we've got friends coming tonight and staying the weekend. So, my next post will be Sunday afternoon, and at that stage we must get the 'other' games started. (I'll pop over to the IECC to see if they have links to any online sites that can store a chess game; that would be the best solution.)

Or we can appoint a

Robert's picture

referee who will store the games (reported in Chess algebra) on the thread and make sure that no illegal moves are being performed. And can, periodically provide images and commentary...

eg: "Jameson royally skewers Robert with the bishop"

Might be an idea to repost the Chess algebra translation... I'm rusty.

I don't switch off the computer...

Jameson's picture

... just put it in sleep mode when I go to bed. Otherwise you'll have to rebuild it every day -- which only takes a minute. Smiling

If bandwidth is an issue, we can delete games as we go (provided you reply on an old post rather than the latest otherwise you lose the ability to edit).


Mark Hubbard's picture

Trying to use Glenn's diagram page:

Glenn, if this works, does it mean I have to reconstruct the entire game on the diagram for every move? I can't see any way on that page to actually save a game in progress?

[Edit: nothing happened. Mmm.]

[Edit 2 - ah. Success. But Glenn, my question: is it possible to keep a saved copy of this game so myself and Robert can simply record our game a move at a time, without having to set the whole diagram up each time from scratch?]

I reckon if we all do this we may have some bandwidth issues for the site ... William?

OK Let's do it...

Robert's picture

Can we lobby William and Linz to add a permanent hyperlink to the chess thread somewhere innocuous on the front page?

  Excellent news, a

Mark Hubbard's picture


Excellent news, a fifth player: welcome on Bruce Crawford.

Glenn, I'm going back to the original plan, kick off for the tounament will be end of next week. Jim and your 'online' game will still count as the first game, and after you finish that one, just switch colours and play the second game. Me and Robert will pair off. Hoping to get at least a sixth on to play Bruce.

And I'll put tournament rules up before starting so we all know what the rules will be Smiling

As Suma says though, we're going to have to be careful not to hog bandwidth, especially with the site still struggling from time to time anyway, so I'm thinking a thread for each game, but only one diagram per thread which is updated by each participant. If that is possible. Note I'm allowing no other input as to tournament rules, yet, as then we'll just get bogged down, but when I do post them, just chime in with what you think will make it better.

(I was orginally thinking just email chess between the participants then I'd simply upload the game summaries at the end, but yes, it does seem there is some interest in turning this into a spectator sport.)

I've not thought of the prize yet, either.


... so, do we have a sixth competitor? 

Robert (& Suma)

Mark Hubbard's picture

Glenn has sent me an email with a very good site/diagramatics that we can use.

Trouble is, I've a busy day today, so I may not be able to post properly on it until tomorrow.

Looks like our opening tournament is going to be four players only, first matches, Glenn vs Jim, and you and me Robert.

Glenn and Jim: I guess the game you've already started on the other thread can count as your first game.

Shall we do two games against each opponent, so equal on black and white (with 1 for a win, 0.5 for a draw and 0 a loss, those two players with the highest overall scores go to playoff the final? (If two players drawn for second from round robin, then a two game decider, followed, if drawn, by a further single game?)

Chess board images

Suma's picture

I like them too, but I wonder if an image for every move will eat up too much bandwidth. Perhaps there should be just one image in the title post with the latest board position, and one of the players is responsible for keeping it updated (for e.g., whenever he posts his move). Also, that way the audience does not need to scroll to the bottom to catch every move.

How are we to report this?

Robert's picture

I like Jameson's chess board images. Is there a site or piece of freeware that we can use to get screen shots so we can post them?

Four is a nice even number

Suma's picture

>>five if I can bully Suma into it.

You can't. I look forward to following the 8 possible matches.

Thanks Robert. That's four

Mark Hubbard's picture

Thanks Robert. That's four definites, five if I can bully Suma into it.

I'll give it a whirl...

Robert's picture

though don't expect any great challenge from me. It's been an age since I played and I wasn't that good then...

  Nah, join this one

Mark Hubbard's picture


Nah, join this one Suma. Doesn't matter what your rating is.


I am going to watch this

Suma's picture

I am going to watch this one. I may join the next tournament. I probably have a single digit rating!

Excellent, three - only

Mark Hubbard's picture

Excellent, three - only seven to go.

I started a game with Jim last night - on your other thread. I was thinking we could dedicate it to open game play so everyone who likes chess can watch and/or participate.

Yeah, great spectator sport, and I'm sure Linz would love the use of bandwidth Smiling

As games are completed I can certainly put the game records up to this thread though (if competitors want).

Count me in...

Jameson's picture

I started a game with Jim last night - on your other thread. I was thinking we could dedicate it to open game play so everyone who likes chess can watch and/or participate. Smiling

  Right then, well you

Mark Hubbard's picture


Right then, well you and me make two Jim. When and if we get ten, I'll start us off. 

Sounds like a plan

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

I used to play quite a bit in elementary and high school. I haven't played any rated tournaments since then. Only placing I ever did was 3rd in the Georgia Elementary Championship, although I was generally fourth or fifth in the state in Iowa High School tournaments. Last USCF rating was 1600 and I generally ranged from about 1580-1680.

I've played off and on with my friends and my brother over the years.


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