Using chessmail

Page areas

After logging in, you can use the navigation on the left to navigate through the various page areas.


The lobby is the first page you see after logging into chessmail. Here, you can see which chess players are online and use the member search function.

My Games

The list shows your chess matches, and you can start new games here.

If it is your turn or you have received an invitation, the menu item turns green and shows how many matches are waiting for your turn/how many invitations you have received.

Chess Clubs/My Club

Here, you can found a new chessmail club or visit your club.


The chessmail forums are used as a communication platform for chessmail members. Here, you can discuss chess or other topics. There are different sub-forums for different subjects, such as chess exercises, commentated chess games and help if you are experiencing problems with chessmail.


Members can send each other messages. If someone has sent you a message, the menu item turns green and an envelope icon appears.


Regular tournaments are organised on chessmail. Demonstrate your ability in a tournament, or organise your own. A ranking list shows you the best players on chessmail.


Under "Extras" you will find an online chess computer and the chessmail wiki.

You can use the online chess computer to play a quick match against your computer.

The chessmail wiki can be edited by chessmail members and used to organise tournaments, for example.

Rules and Use

If you have questions on how to use chessmail or want to look something up in the chess rules, you can do this under " Help and rules".


The full text search enables you to search chessmail, the chessmail help and the forums.

User settings

In the user settings, you can change your email address and password, as well as a number of other preferences.

Rating system

chessmail has a rating system that makes it easy for members to find opponents at their level.

New chessmail members need to complete 10 games before they are given a rating.

After completing a rated game, both players have their ratings re-calculated. The calculations are made based on the players’ ratings before the match began.

Ratings are based on the Elo rating system, as described on Wikipedia. chessmail uses the following formula:

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

  • EA: Expectation that Player A will win
  • RA: Player A’s rating at the start of the game
  • RB: Player B’s rating at the start of the game

Once the game is over, the rating is calculated using expectation EA.

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

  • R'A: Player A’s rating at the end of the game
  • k: The k-factor for chessmail is 20, and sets the maximum number of points that can be won
  • SA: Result of game (1 for win, 0.5 for draw, 0 for loss)

The points the winner receives are deducted from the loser.

Thinking time

When you are invited to a chess match, the thinking time can be set to between 24 hours and 30 days per turn.

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

You can then end the game in your favour in the detailed view for the game. However, you don’t have to do this, and can refrain from doing so if you know your opponent cannot play right now, for example.

If the time has been exceeded, chess matches can be ended with or without a rating. However, tournament games can only be ended with a rating.

Setting holidays

You can set pauses in your user settings.

You can still make moves during a pause in chessmail, but the thinking time for moves is extended by the pause time.

Shortly before an opponent's pause, you will see a pause time in your list of running games with the (P) mark.

Pauses can be aborted.

Member names

Member names – the pseudonyms of the chessmail users – are colour-coded and have different fonts to indicate their status.

  • Online: Members who are online are underlined in blue.
  • New: New members who do not yet have a rating are shown in grey.
  • Opponent: If you are playing a match with a member, their name is shown in green.
  • Chess friend: Your chess friends are shown in bold.

Adding chess friends

You can mark members, with whom you like to play chess, as chess friends.

  • Members who are your chess buddy are always displayed in the "Members online"-list of the start page/lobby displayed.
  • You can filter open invitations by members who are chess friends.
  • You can activate in settings that you can receive only personal invitations from chess friends.

Under Settings/General a list of your chess friends is displayed.

Ignore function

If you don't want to play with a member, you can put him/her on the ignore list.

  • Ignored members cannot see or accept open invitations from you.
  • Ignored members cannot send you a personal invitation.
  • Ignored members cannot send you mailbox messages.
  • Ignored members will no longer see your profile page, but a notice that the member has been set to ignored.
  • This also applies to the live chess area.

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

Chess clubs

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

Chess clubs have their own forums where club members can discuss internal club matters.

Club members can be administrators or moderators of the club.

You can only be a member of one club at a a time, but you can be a guest in as many as you want. Club guests can post in the club’s public forum, but cannot read any internal club posts.

The club's public forum is visible to everyone.

Administrators can:

  • Set up tournaments in chessmail
  • Change the club text and colour
  • Nominate administrators and moderators
  • Activate membership applications
  • Terminate memberships

Moderators can:

  • Activate guest memberships
  • Delete posts in the club forum
  • Change the visibility of posts to "club internal"

Club membership can be terminated in the user settings. - Guest memberships can be terminated on the corresponding club pages.

Club tournaments

Club administrators can start chess tournaments. The number of tournaments, a club can start, depends on the size of the club.

  • Club: 2 tournaments
  • Club with 10 members: 3 tournaments
  • Club with 20 members: 4 tournaments
  • Club with 30 members: 5 tournaments
  • … up to maximum 12

Deleting data

Chess matches that have been going for more than 90 days since the last move are deemed cancelled, and can be ended automatically or deleted from the database.

The data for members who have not used chessmail for 5 years can be deleted. This includes mailbox messages and games, for example.

For more information, please read the Privacy Policy.

End memberships

You can terminate you membership via your user settings. The personal data of members who have terminated their membership, such as their e-mail address, is deleted from the database. Games played by former members can be kept in the database.

You cannot terminate your membership if you have any ongoing games.

Terms and Conditions of Use

As a user of chessmail, you must accept the chessmail Terms and Conditions of Use.

Further Information

You can find further information about chessmail in our

Help section