Using chessmail

Site Sections


The lobby is the homepage of chessmail after logging in. There you can see which chess friends are online and you can use the member search.

Correspondence Chess

In the play-by-mail section of chessmail, slow chess can be played. Moves are executed asynchronously, thinking times can be set from 24 hours to several days per move.

Corr. Chess - Games

A list displays your play-by-mail games and you can start new games here.

Corr. - Completed Games

A list displays your completed play-by-mail games.

Corr. Chess - Bookmarked Games

You can save games that you want to review later in this list.

Corr. Chess - Tournaments

Regular chess tournaments are organized on chessmail. Show your skills in one of the tournaments or organize your own tournaments. You can find the best players on chessmail in a ranking list.

Corr. Chess - Ranking

The ranking list displays the best players on chessmail. The ranking is sorted by Elo rating.

Live Chess

In the live chess area, you can play rapid chess with a clock.


Members can send messages to each other. If someone has sent you a message, a green number will be displayed on the mailbox icon.


The chessmail forums serve as a communication platform for chessmail members. You can write about chess and other topics. Various sub-forums correspond to different subject areas, such as chess, tournaments or chessmail.

Chess World

Here you will find interactive tools, such as an online chess computer and a board to set up positions. You can also solve chess puzzles here and play other chess mini-games. In the chessmail shop, you can buy T-shirts and other items.

Chess Clubs / Club

In chess clubs, chessmail members can organize themselves. There are club forums where members can exchange ideas. Clubs can organize tournaments. There is a club ranking and a club page where the club can present itself.

User Menu

You can find your personal settings and information in the user menu, at the top right under your member name.

My Page

This page is public. You can publish a statement there and see your ratings and your statistics. Every chessmail member has such a page.


Here you can change your personal data and your password, make general system settings, and register breaks in play-by-mail.


Logging out ends your chessmail session. An initiative logout also ends the auto-login.


In various places on chessmail you will find chessboards on which you can make moves.

Moves can be entered using the mouse or keyboard. The chessboards are optimized for screen readers. The move can be executed with the mouse either by dragging the piece or by clicking on the start and finish squares.

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts on the chessboard pages.

  • Left and right arrow keys: Move back and move forward
  • Up and down arrow key: First move and last move
  • F: Flip board
  • Space: Play moves automatically

Conditional moves

When it is your opponent's turn, you can still enter moves on the board and save them as conditional moves.

The following shortcuts are available when planning conditional moves:

  • . (dot): Jump to the last move actually made in the game
  • Backspace: Delete moves planning from the displayed move to the end
  • Shift+Backspace or "delete": Delete the entire moves planning

Correspondence Chess Rating System

chessmail has a rating system that makes it easy to find playing partners at your level of play.

New chessmail members must first complete 10 play-by-mail games on chessmail before they receive a rating number.

Rating games lead to a recalculation of the rating of both players after completion. The ratings at the beginning of the game are taken as the starting values for the calculation.

The calculation is based on the Elo rating, as described in Wikipedia.

The formula at chessmail is as follows:

EA = 1 / (1 + 10 ^ [(RB - RA) / 250])

  • EA: Expected value that player A wins
  • RA: Rating of player A at the start of the game
  • RB: Rating of player B at the start of the game

The rating number after the outcome of the game is now calculated with the expected value EA.

R''A = R'A + k * (SA - EA)

  • R'A: Rating of player A at the end of the game
  • k: The k-factor at chessmail is 20, it indicates the maximum point gain
  • SA: Game outcome (1 for win, 0.5 for draw, 0 for loss)

The points the winner gets are deducted from the loser.

Thinking Time

When inviting someone to a play-by-mail game, you can set the thinking time from 24 hours to 30 days per move.

If an opponent exceeds the thinking time, the game is displayed in red in your "My Games" list.

In the detailed view of the game, you can now end it in your favor. But you don't have to - if, for example, you know that your fellow player cannot make a move for important reasons. In tournaments, games are automatically ended if a player exceeds the thinking time.

Holiday Regulation

In your settings, you can register for breaks.

During a break, you can still make chess moves on chessmail, but the time recording for moves is extended by the break time.

During an opponent's break, you recognize an extended thinking time with the marking (P) in your list of ongoing games.

Breaks can be canceled.

Members and member Names

Member names, the pseudonyms of chessmail users, have different color codings and font variations to display the status. For people with screen readers, there is a bracket after the member name in which the status is displayed with abbreviations.

  • Online (O): Members who are online are displayed underlined in blue.
  • Opponent (G): Current play-by-mail opponents are displayed in green.
  • Chess Friend (F): Your chess friends ⭐️ are displayed in bold.
  • Same Club (C): Members of your club are displayed in italics.
  • New (N): New members who do not yet have a rating number are displayed in gray.

Members who have not been online for 90 days are displayed as inactive.

Add Chess Friends

You can mark members with whom you like to play chess as chess friends. This has the following advantages…

  • Your chess friends are always displayed in the "Members online" list on the homepage/lobby.
  • You can filter open invitations by members who are chess friends.
  • You can activate in the settings that you can only receive personal invitations from chess friends.

A list of your chess friends is displayed under Settings/Membership data.

Ignore Function

If you do not want to play with a member, you can put them on the ignore list.

  • Ignored members cannot see or accept your open invitations.
  • Ignored members cannot send you a personal invitation.
  • Ignored members cannot send you mailbox messages.
  • This also applies to the live chess area.

A list of members you have ignored is displayed under Settings/Membership data.

Chess Clubs

You can found a chess club in chessmail or become a member of one. To found a chess club, you need at least 6 founding members. The club founder must have been a chessmail member for at least 30 days and have played at least 30 games on chessmail.

Chess clubs have their own forums where club members can also create club-internal posts.

Club members can be an administrator or moderator of the club.

You can be a member of only one club at a time, but a guest in as many clubs as you like. Club guests can write in the public forum of the club, but also cannot read club-internal posts.

The public forum of the club is visible to everyone but only guest members can write there.

Administrators can

  • create tournaments in chessmail,
  • change the club text and club color,
  • appoint administrators and moderators,
  • activate membership applications, and
  • end memberships.

Moderators can

  • activate guest registrations,
  • delete posts in the club forum,
  • change the visibility of posts to internal.

Club membership can be terminated in the settings. Guest memberships can be terminated on the respective club pages.

Club Tournaments

Club administrators can start chess tournaments. The number of tournaments a club can have at the same time depends on the size of the club.

  • Club after founding: 3 tournaments
  • Club with 12 members: 4 tournaments
  • Club with 24 members: 8 tournaments
  • Club with 30 members: 10 tournaments
  • … up to a maximum of 24

Data Deletion

Ongoing chess games in which no move has been made for 90 days are considered abandoned and can be automatically ended or deleted from the database.

Data from members who have not used chessmail for 3 years can be deleted.

Further information on data processing can be found on the privacy policy page.

Terminate Membership

Membership can be terminated via the settings. From members who terminate their membership, personal data, such as the email address, are deleted from the database. Games of former members can remain in the database.

To terminate membership, you must not have any ongoing games.

Terms of Use

As a user of chessmail, you must accept the chessmail terms of use.

Further Information

You can find further information about chessmail in our

Help section