The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
Tutorial for using the ICCF Server -- Viewing "Live" Games

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Here is an abbreviated list of steps to view a game "live" on the ICCF server. More details about "live" coverage follows.

  1. Find the crosstable for the event (link in "Tables and results" is one way)
  2. Locate the game you wish to view (the two players in the crosstable)
  3. Click on the little dot in the crosstable square representing this game. If the game is finished, click on the "0", "½" or "1".
  4. If the "dot" or result are NOT links, then the tournament rules do not allow for "live" coverage of this game.

One of the real advantages of a chess server is that the games may be viewed by other players and the public. This makes correspondence more fun, in my opinion. We can follow the games of our favorite players or of major high-profile events and, more important to me, I can follow the games of other players in my events. The ICCF server has this capability, though (unfortunately, in my opinion) many events are not shown "live". By "live" I include those games shown as they are played, with or without any move delay. The exact form of "live" display of games that is acceptable is a controversial subject without broad agreement on the form.

The ICCF server allows the Tournament Official (T.O.) setting up a tournament to specify certain options:

The "rules" for the tournement are set up by the organizer with the form shown at the right. The viewing rule is set up separately for the players in the event, the general public (all people not playing in the event) and (for team events) the other players on your team.

Viewing Rule. The options are:

  1. Secret ... no one (except the two players and tournament director) can view this game on-line.
  2. Finished ... no one (except the two players and tournament director) can view this game on-line, but finished games can be viewed or downloaded.
  3. Live ... the games in progress can be viewed on-line, plus the finished games can be viewed or downloaded.

For "Finished" games, the T.O. must specify how many games must be finished in the event before the games are made available for viewing and/or downloading.

For "Live" games, the T.O. must specify how many games have been completed before showing the finished games and how many moves the position will be delayed in the display. I.e., if a 3-move delay is specified, the last three moves for both players will not be shown. This means the viewer doesn't see a completely up-to-date game position, but one that occurred several moves in the past. If "0" days is selected for the "Move delay" then the game position shown is completely up-to-date.

A tournament can start as "Secret" or "Finished" and be changed later to "Live" by the Tournament Director. This allows "live" coverage to be delayed till the games are out of the early opening. Then, when all the games have diverged or, using a more practical rule, when the games have reached a certain number of moves (say 10 or 20), the TD can change the rule to "live". This will allow "live" coverage without the objection by some players that "live" coverage would be a disadvantage due to players being able to see their plans by following their moves against other opponents.

When you view a list of events on the "Tables and results" pages, events with "live" coverage are shown with a "(live)" label.

When you view a crosstable you can read the rules for displaying games below the crosstable.

The information about the viewing rules are shown highlighted in blue. In this event both the other players in the event and the public can view the games "live" (with 3-move delay) immediately (without waiting for any games to be finished).

To view a game

To view a game "live" (or a finished game), if the rules allow for you to view this game the crosstable entry will be a link to the game page. In the example above the cursor is placed on the result box for Campbell vs. Aiken. The little dot is a link to the game page.

Note: even if the event isn't shown live, if you are logged in then all of your games in the crosstable will appear "live" to you; i.e., you can always go to your game pages using the links in the event crosstable.

I logged out so the server wouldn't know I was one of the players involved with this game. So this is the view this page a member of the "public" would see, including the default size for the diagram. If the server knew I was one of the players, it would show me the up-to-date game, including all the information needed to make a move if it were my move. As an unknown viewer of this game I can see the game as it was after move 11.dxc5. Actually, at this date I had already made my 14th move. The links below the diagram allow the viewer to actually make the moves as they occurred in the game: go gack to the starting position, go forward/backward one move at a time, etc. For more details see the Game Page (Waiting) tutorial page.


© 2005 J. Franklin Campbell. All rights reserved.

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