Free Internet Chess Server

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The Free Internet Chess Server , FICS for short , is a chess server for playing live games online. Everyone can participate in games for free.

Founded in 1995 and a non-profit organization since 1998 , FICS is today the largest free chess server of its kind. The Glicko system gives users a rating so that it is easy to find players of equal strength. In addition, the server regularly offers tournaments and international chess events can be followed live.


The first Internet Chess Server (ICS) was started in 1980. It was programmed by volunteers and could be used free of charge. In 1995 it was renamed the Internet Chess Club (ICC) and could no longer be used free of charge.

Annoyed that their idea was being exploited commercially, some programmers, led by Chris Petroff (Sparky) , found themselves and founded FICS. The server started working on March 5, 1995. On July 18, 2013, the server was cracked and was not connected to the network for eight days. On August 25, 2013, malicious crackers again took control of the server.

Software to connect

The transfer of the 5th game of the 2008 World Chess Championship to FICS with the Scid chess suite

For this purpose, the user can use the Jin applet or Javaboard on the website .

However, it is recommended to use one of the many chess programs , as these have more functions. A list that is not entirely up to date can be found on the FICS homepage. Popular programs are:

  • Babaschess ( Windows ) is the most popular interface because it has a lot of functions ( proprietary )
  • eBoard ( GNU / Linux ) with xBoard is one of the most popular chess programs for GNU / Linux with many functions ( GPL )
  • Thief (Windows) is especially popular among tandem chess players ( proprietary )
  • Jin ( platform-independent ) is a Java- based interface ( GPL )
  • Fixation ( Mac OS ) is one of the few programs for the Mac ( proprietary )
  • Mobialia Chess Free is a comprehensive software with analysis function for Android
  • Winboard is a variant of xBoard for Windows ( GPL )
  • The free and very extensive chess suite Scid ( platform-independent ) offers from version 3.6.21 the possibility to connect with FICS. Scid also offers numerous options for analyzing observed games.
  • Arena Chess GUI ( Windows ): Freely available chess program with interchangeable chess engines, support for Chess960, FICS interface, etc. v. a. m.
  • Chess Walk ( Android ) ( GPL )

Chess variants

In addition to normal chess, it is also possible to play some chess variants on FICS . These are:

  • Chess960 (also called Fischer Random Chess ) and other variants of the starting position under the name wild .
  • Tandem chess under the name bughouse
  • crazyhouse (a variant of tandem chess for only two players)
  • Robber chess under the English name suicide
  • losers , a variant of the robbers chess , in which the game has to be legitimate according to the usual chess rules. The winner is whoever either loses all stones (except the king) or is checkmated by the opponent.
  • Atomic chess


FICS also allows lag players . Although the transmission delay is compensated by a time seal, the sense of time can be impaired, especially in a flash game. Other servers, such as ICC, do not allow players with high lag to start games or pair them against other players with poor connections.


  1. Mark Nelson: Why Some Jerk Hacking Free Internet Chess is Actually a Big Deal ,, accessed July 20, 2015
  2. fics hacked again ( Memento from August 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 25, 2013
  3. Homepage of the Babaschess interface
  4. Homepage of the Thief Interface
  5. Homepage of the Jin Interface
  6. Fixation Homepage ( Memento from April 25, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  7. Page of Mobialia Chess Free in Google Play
  8. Arena Chess GUI Homepage ( Memento of the original from March 14, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. Chess Walk Homepage ( Memento from October 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive )

Web links