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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Is Queen Alice Going Down the Tubes?

   QA has long been the site I played on when I wanted to play CC without an engine, but I have not played there for a little over a year. When I returned a couple of weeks ago it looked like things have been running OK in that there does not seem to have been any issues with the server like they had in the past. A year or so ago the server went down and I had a couple of tournaments that got cancelled. It wasn't a big deal though.  Things happen. My only complaint about tournaments is that they are all double round events, so if you finish first you are obligated to play in another event which one may not always want to do.
     Upon returning I find that a few people have been bellyaching about engine users at the top, but that's everywhere. There's nothing that can be done, there are just too many of them so that even with mods they get overwhelmed and QA is a one-man show, so there are no mods. So what if the site has a couple of hundred engine users rated over 2500, I don't usually play them.
 It also looks to me like someone made a lot of duplicate accounts and either played a bunch of short games and/or no games at all and keeps spamming the forums with complaints about engine users.  Sounds like a disgruntled member who thinks he lost to an engine and so is retaliating by spamming the site. 
     For now I feel like giving up centaur chess and returning to regular 'human' play. There are several reasons for this. In top level CC draws are approaching 90 percent. It's not quite that bad for us slugs down in the trenches at LSS, but my record there is nearly 60 percent draws and the games are all pretty boring.
     Another reason is that the days are past, and have been for some time, when a human tinkering with engine output could improve the play; nowadays the engines are just too good. And finally, my quad core laptop just isn't powerful enough to compete with the dedicated machines costing several thousand dollars that a lot of people are using.
     So I returned to Queen Alice and challenged some guy rated about 2100 to a couple of open games at seven days a move...that was a joke...we played 7-plus moves a day! He resigned the first game a little early I thought.  In the second game we both had a Q and R, but even though I was up a Pawn a draw was the only logical outcome.
     Unfortunately there appears to be issues with the site. I always thought the site was Brazilian because there are so many players from there, but it's probably not. The site is run by a fellow named Miguel, a software engineer, photographer and filmmaker from Portland, Oregon though he is originally from Buenos Aires.
     Based on some recent forum comments Miguel seems to have abandoned the site and apparently it's pretty much running on its own! What's more, and this is the scary part, somebody seems to have hacked the owner's (Miguel's) personal account!!  That makes me think twice about playing there! Besides, if nobody is at the wheel, sooner or later, it's going to crash permanently.


  1. A Nice site for correspondence style play is Shredderchess.net

    Interesting time controls. Almost like a time delay system but in days as opposed to minutes. Does not feel like people are using engines, (or i would never win!) Engine use is discouraged!

  2. I have long recommended their endgme database but never considered playing there so took a look at it today. Under both the online and play tabs I clicked on play in your browser now and got nothing...just a blank white screen. Not sure what is up with that.