Play Online Correspondence Chess at SchemingMind

Amberley excelled at chess - one mark, Watson, of a scheming mind.

The Adventure of the Retired Colourman, Conan Doyle

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Welcome to SchemingMind Correspondence Chess Club, where you can play correspondence chess and chess variants against 512 active chess players from all around the world! If you are already a member, you can log on to the site by entering your username and password in the boxes to the left.

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No, I'm not a member yet.

In that case we invite you to try out our service free for an introductory period. You can have a look around the site by logging on with the username anon and the password anon, but if you want to get a real feeling of all the benefits of membership, or have never played correspondence chess before and wish to see for yourself what it is all about, we encourage you to register for a free trial membership of fifty games. It will offer you the opportunity to play for free for as long as you need to fully evaluate our service, and finally to decide if it's worth the modest annual membership fee we ask from all our established members to cover our running costs (there is a scholarship program available for those who are unable to contribute this fee but wish to participate in the club).  SchemingMind is not a commercial organisation, all our staff contribute their time voluntarily, and you will never see unsightly syndicated advertising on our pages.

Okay, but what exactly happens here?

SchemingMind is an online correspondence chess club. The most important aspects in which correspondence chess differs significantly from 'over the board' chess are time controls, analysis method and the social exchange of messages with friends and strangers from all over the world. Correspondence games usually last for several weeks or months, (even years in some cases!), and while you contemplate your move, you are free to set up a chessboard and move the pieces around, or consult a book. The only thing you are asked not to use are chess-playing computer programs. This mode of play makes correspondence chess attractive for many kinds of players:

  • serious chess players, who want to devote a lot of time to analysing a move before sending it,
  • improving players, who want more time to study their mistakes,
  • busy players, who don't usually have time to sit for a serious game, but can afford spending several minutes every few days to decide on a move,
  • players treating chess as a social activity, wishing to play just for fun and maybe meet interesting people and chat during games,

You can decide yourself how much time and effort you want to put into your games. You might want to play several games at the same time, or join tournaments where you play, as there may be days or even weeks delay between moves.

That sounds interesting! What exactly do I need to play?

Not much! You do need a valid e-mail address and about two minutes of free time to set up a trial account, but that's about it, we'll even set up your first game if you like. You play from your web browser, so no additional software is needed. Our server will keep track of your games, your opponents' moves, and the clocks. We will send you an email whenever one of your opponents moves, so you can always keep up to date with your games.

Will I be able to find a suitable opponent here?

Absolutely! Currently we have 428 established members of all levels actively playing on the site. There is a rating system, so as soon as you finish some games and have been assigned a rating, you'll be able to select opponents of a similar playing strength to your own, you won't get any easy wins, but neither will you be crushed mercilessly. Or, you can challenge a higher-rated player and try to kill a giant!

Right. What do I do now?

If you feel that you know enough and want to start playing chess immediately, please just go here to create your trial account. Remember, a trial membership gives you full access to the site for free, and you only need a valid e-mail address to use it. The only differences are that you're limited to 50 games (although if you feel that's not enough to fully evaluate the site, drop us a note and you'll be given more); and you don't have access to some 'managerial' options like creating teams or tournaments. If you decide that you don't like the site, or correspondence chess at all, there is no obligation to continue as a full member after the trial period.  All we ask is that you extend your opponents the courtesy of finishing your games.

Your e-mail address will never be used for marketing purposes of any kind. The only messages you will receive are the account activation e-mail and any types of e-mail reminders you yourself decide to receive by enabling such option in your account.

  • Here you can read why exactly a full account is not free, how much it costs and where the money goes,
  • Here you can check out our 'About us' page, which covers in detail various possibilities a SchemingMind membership gives you, including those not mentioned here, like tournaments or league games,
  • Here you can read some Frequently Asked Questions and answers to them,
  • Here is our complete knowledgebase, built by our members, the SchemingMind Wiki.

The club is a member organisation of the British Federation for Correspondence Chess (BFCC), and the Welsh Correspondence Chess Federation (WCCF); nevertheless, we welcome members from all countries of the world.