Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ICC is just too expensive

I'm letting my account expire there. 70 bucks a year is just too much. I feel sad about it, perhaps I'll register again when my credit card bill is payed down to a reasonable amount in ten years.

I tried playing at Yahoo, what a freaking joke. Bunch of people sitting not playing chess, and the few that are there to play disconnect right when they start to lose. Incredibly annoying. It seems FICS is a happy medium between the overpriced ICC and the utterly worthless Yahoo experience.

I'll be posting a book review in the next week, on Rudel's book Zuke 'Em. I've written the outline and am filling in the details.


Anonymous Chunky Rook said...

FICS with BabasChess FTW!

4/20/2010 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger Signalman said...

It is always a personal assessment when paying for something, but I find that ICC is fine for me at ( I think) 65 EUR.
It has helped that I won a prize in the Monthly standard recently ( 2 months subscription ) so another of those and it will be far more affordable !

If I compared it to my local clubs where the yearly contribution is 90 EUR, is isn't bad value at all.

FICS is a fine service, but being free it doesn't offer so many extras as you have on ICC ( I agree regardless of whether you want them, but Chess FM, and GM commentary etc can be interesting). I would also wonder how long it can remain free : someone, some organisation, somewhere is funding its servers and software, so what happens when that someone decides to stop (particularly in the current economic climate )?
Since its been running for years, its probably unlikely, but it does seem to me that many of the 'free web services' are gradually being eroded...after all, FICS doesn't even have any advertising to fall back on, unlike the many free mail services, for example.

I've never used Yahoo, as I heard so many bad things about it. Chess.com, I also joined, but I am not particularly impressed with it overall, and don't play chess there. Some articles are good ( ie Silman's and some of the (W)GMs ) but so many of the member responses are puerile, especially on the WGM articles. Much as I liked it, I gave up following the "team match" vs WGM Pogonina, just because of the comments. For correspondence chess, I use the excellent schemingmind.com.

If you fancy a game on ICC before your membership expires, drop me a message, I'd be happy to play !

4/20/2010 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger CMoB said...

Here's some recommendations (free or affordable); Playchess, ChessCube, Buho21 (or Owl21 in English).

4/20/2010 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger CMoB said...

Oh and Yahoo, NOT TO BE RECOMMENDED! If you're a true chess lover you stay the hell away from it!

4/20/2010 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Signalman said...

I keep forgetting about Playchess, but it is very affordable, and if you don't have the latest Fritz or Shredder (or even if you just want to buy them !), then I think there is still an offer available, where when buying shredder12 you have Playchess thrown in. A good choice.

4/20/2010 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Signalman said...

Shredder12 only, and at www.chessbase.com/shop/product.asp?pid=484&user=&coin=

50 Eur for shredder12, Fritz interface + a year's playchess subscription. Not to be sniffed at !

4/20/2010 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Signalman: Definitely ICC is better than FICS, at least in terms of number of people and the number of titled players. That said, I never watched the videos or found the GM commentary very useful, or listened to the shows or anything. But just the general sense of activity and stuff going on was nice.

I had forgotten about chess.com. I have never played there before. Is it free to play there, or part of a premium subscription package?

4/20/2010 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

My account, with username CP (for 'ChessPlanner') has already expired.

My older account 'thalamus' is long dead.

Sorry ICC, I have more important things to spend money on right now. Mainly, I need to get my credit card down and 70 bucks is too much right now.

Maybe I'll start a paypal contribution button on my sidebar: "Help pay for BDK's subscription to ICC!"

:) lol

4/20/2010 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

You can play at Chess.com for free. Either live, real time chess or turn based (correspondence) chess.

I like chess.com. The articles are getting better and I like turn based chess as well as live chess. I like turn based chess better than blitz.

The forums however,can be snippy!

4/20/2010 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger LinuxGuy said...

I played on KasparovChess for a long time. When that shut down, went to Yahoo for another long time. Eventually went to FICS, for another long time.

If FICS shut down tomorrow, I could join ICS or whatever else is out there, get my current rating back almost immediately. No big deal, but it's interesting to hear others' opinions.

4/20/2010 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Just played at chess.com. Great interface. Guy I played was a total douchebag I hope he gets face cancer.

4/21/2010 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know ICC raised the price again. My general feeling is you should suck it up and pay the $70 anyway. All the top US players are there, which makes for a nice atmosphere. Many learning opportunities such as trainingbot, mrspock, and the growing video lecture library. Also you get frequent broadcasts of big events, many with commentary via chess.fm
Honestly, with all the books and DVDs and other stuff you buy .... I find it hard to believe you can't squeeze another $70 a year for ICC.

But - like others have noted, playchess.com is a good alternative. You get one year subscription when you buy an engine in the Fritz family. Many titles international players there. They braodcast all the big tournaments, many with commentary and have vairous lecture / learning opportunities available too.

FICS is lame - not enough traffic.

Yahoo is ridiculous. Don't ever play there. It is just too hard to get a game. Plus too many babies hang out there.

I haven't tried chess.com but I get the impression it is mostly low rated players there. Of couse, that may not bother you.

4/21/2010 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Bill: the thing is, I never use any of those videos, training bot, etc..

I have a threshold amount to get my credit card down, once it is there, I will use it again for ICC :)

Daughter due in July, starting to think about money a little more. :O

4/21/2010 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Derek Slater said...

I wrote up my Yahoo Games experience several years ago:

Kind of amusing in retrospect - people get their jollies trying to hack the ladder instead of play chess.

Meanwhile, my "total time online" at FICS is more than 130 days since 1996 :)

4/21/2010 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

You may find those daughters tend to eat up all your chess time. I've played maybe 3 or 4 games since my daughter arrived 2 yrs ago. Of course her baby brother isn't helping much either.

However, when they are both scholastic chess age there could be a big uptick.

4/26/2010 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous ArcticPawn said...

I couldn't agree more. Greetings ArcticPawn (on FICS)

4/30/2010 07:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of all the free sites out there, FICS still takes first IMO. Do you know about the Raptor interface for FICS? It let's you embed a chess engine to analyze games live after you've finished, and there's a game cache that stores all your games like on ICC. It's also a free open source interface you can get from google:


Chess.com is ok, but the live rating system is pretty inflated. I also think a lot of the yahoo punks are migrating there.

5/02/2010 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger transformation said...

sorry. i paid mine three years out, when i had the money. hell to pay soon.

FICS is the best choice for you, but many ask for takebacks, infuriating. chessCube has a great interface, sh_t reporting in pgn but doable, and playchess is free for folks outside premium.

if it were me, id be fics before 2 est am, and playchess after (prior dies off after 11 pst (believe me, i know it well) and playchess gets the early euro crowd, very light in usa. let me know if you want to try it, i can send you password and try unrated.... or do guest.

fics has a lot of addicts, and playchess has huge volumes of players. yahoo is indeed a zoo. i know it too well (my warm up spot, ant, amoeba, alligator, challenging cafe is very tough of those four its the big intermediate spot.

who drinks two beers a week or eats out once a month but cannot afford ICC? its about choices.

i say, if you we cannot afford icc its not a sport worth keeping. think about it. 18 cents per day.

warmly, dk

5/02/2010 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon yes I've noticed chess.com has a lot of seventh graders in mentality. I've already shut off chat. I think I'm done with chess.com, FICS seems the right choice clearly.

DK, thanks for the useful summary of the patterns at the sites. It's good they stop at 11pm, as that way I'll be less tempted to stay up until 3am :)

It is definitely about selecting priorities, and I've made my choice on that front. I haven't bought a chess book in a few months either, chess is way low on the priority scale at this point. Especially given FICS. If FICS didn't exist I'd have to consider tightening my belt and paying for chess. I have a job, it's not that I literally cannot afford ICC. It's a question of priority. Triathlon's and physical health are high, chess is low right now.

5/03/2010 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

Congrats BDK on your anticipated July arrival! I'm truly happy for you. I'm sure your thousands of readers would like to see some kind of retrospective about your 5 years(!) in chess at some point, time permitting. It's no small feat that your blog is deservedly among the most popular chess websites in the entire world.

5/03/2010 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger rpd said...

I look forward to seeing you and playing you on FICS!
I play 5 min blitz only and have a tragically low rating!
My handle is themoveR
Look out for me & accept my seeks.
Perhaps we can improve & learn together?!

Hope to see you at FICs and play you there sometime, regards

5/03/2010 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

Triathlon! Now that is impressive! I can't even swim five feet...literally!

5/03/2010 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

How is your international chess school going?

5/04/2010 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tempo: I might write about that, I stopped doing it. Too advanced for me. I understood the material, but it wasn't addressing the reasons I was losing. Like focusing on Knight outposts when you lose every game because you drop a queen.

5/04/2010 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous XY said...

I've changed the URL and the name of my blog.

Good luck with FICS. Used to be there, never been on ICC.

5/05/2010 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have enough liquid assets to last six months or a year if you lose your job? Save every penny and pay down your debt and build up your liquidity. $70 saved, is $70 earned, after tax. In fact, it's more like $90 earned pre tax, depending on your marginal tax rate. You won't find any investments offering the guaranteed returns equivalent to the apr on your credit card. Focus on building up your largest asset, your human capital, which is effectively a bond with a coupon that escalates with inflation.

5/09/2010 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

I'm delighted to come across your blog as my chess blog seems to be basically the same thing - insights into the mind of a chess beginner.

ICC also is too expensive for me. I've had a great time playing on chess cube, have not tried out yahoo. Anyway, hope you check out my "chess blog" and I'd enjoy playing a chess game with you anytime.

5/15/2010 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger pingu penguin said...

I totally agree with ChunkyRook

playing on FICS with Babaschess is too good.

I tried ICC just once ,its simply not worth it. FICS is free and there are definitely good players playing there plus Babaschess gives you a fully customizable interface to enjoy games.

11/10/2011 12:02:00 PM  

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