After logging in, you can navigate through various site sections using the navigation.
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.
Play by Mail
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.
Play by Mail - Games
A list displays your play-by-mail games and you can start new games here.
Play by Mail - Completed Games
A list displays your completed play-by-mail games.
Play by Mail - Bookmarked Games
You can save games that you want to review later in this list.
Play by Mail - 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.
Play by Mail - Ranking
The ranking list displays the best players on chessmail. The ranking is sorted by Elo rating.
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.
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.
You can find your personal settings and information in the user menu, at the top right under your member name.
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.
Play by Mail 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.
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.
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.
Member names, the pseudonyms of chessmail users, have different color codings and font variations to display the status.
- : Members who are online are displayed underlined in blue.
- New: New members who do not yet have a rating number are displayed in gray.
- Opponent: Current play-by-mail opponents are displayed in green.
- Same Club: Members of your club are displayed in italics.
- Chess Friend: Your chess friends ⭐️ are displayed in bold.
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.
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.
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.
- create tournaments in chessmail,
- change the club text and club color,
- appoint administrators and moderators,
- activate membership applications, and
- end memberships.
- 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 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: 2 tournaments
- Club with 10 members: 3 tournaments
- Club with 20 members: 4 tournaments
- Club with 30 members: 5 tournaments
- … up to a maximum of 12
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.
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.
You can find further information about chessmail in our