New member guide

It's easy to start in SchemingMind, but there are always some details that could be overlooked. Let's review some points.

1. Introduction


1.1. This is correspondence chess

We play CorrespondenceChess here. This means, that:

  • after making a move, you are likely to wait a day (or even a few) for your opponent's reply,
  • you are also likely to play many games at once.

If you never played this kind of chess - give it a try. In particular, if you like slow-time online games, there is a good chance that you will like correspondence chess.


1.2. The rhythm of play

We recommend the following way of using the site:

  • run a couple of games of simultaneously (how many - more on this below),
  • bookmark the site and visit it daily,
  • on every visit you should find some moves made by opponents, take a look at them,
  • if you are able to make your move immediately (say, you are still in the memorised
    • opening line, or there is a trivial recapture to be played), make it,
  • if the position is more complicated, spend your time thinking about it, maybe even
    • save your ideas as private notes to get back to the position again later,
  • once some game(s) approach their end, consider starting new games.


1.3. No, no engines

Some correspondence organisations allow for engine support. This is not the case at SchemingMind, we want the games to be played without such support. You are allowed to consult chess books and use opening databases, nevertheless. We do have two chess variants that specifically allow the use of engines - Advanced Chess and Advanced Chess960. Otherwise, no engines are allowed in any games at Scheming Mind.

If you prefer centaur (engine supported) games, we recommend IECG LSS Server, FICGS, or (official) ICCF Server.


2. Your first games


2.1. Welcome Game

When you sign up for an account, you have the option to play a "Welcome Game". Your opponent will be an established member that volunteers to be a guide for new members. Feel free to ask him/her any questions you have, or just ask for help if you need it.

While the Welcome Game is usually your first game on the site, you need not finish it before starting other games. Play some moves to get the feeling of how the site works, if you decide to stay, start more games.


2.2. Tournaments for NEW members

There are special mini-tournaments for NEW members organised on the site. Feel free to join one. Sometimes there can also be other tournaments available for you.

To see which tournaments you can join, select 'Community/Find Mini-Tournaments' from the menu, and select the appropriate option (usually 'Standard Chess tournaments I can join' is the one you need).

Before joining the tournament make sure the GameClock suits your taste (in particular, do not play Blitz tournaments if you are not able to visit the site twice a day), read the tournament organiser announcement if there is any, and make sure this is not a Variants tournament (unless you want to play one).

In case there are no open tournaments you can join, feel free to ask for one on the Mini-Tournaments forum. You can also ask your site guide for help.


2.3. Other ways to start the game

For more information about different ways of starting games, see here.


3. Warnings, suggestions, frequent questions


3.1. How many games to play

This is a frequent question. The answer depends on how much time you have for chess.

People new to correspondence chess sometimes tend to overload themselves. It is so easy to start 20 (or more) games, and play them initially. Opening move require just a few seconds to be played, playing opening moves in 20 games can take no more than a few minutes. Easy, isn't it? But then comes the middlegame, with complicated positions requiring deeper thought. And non-trivial endgames, which would be nice to analyse deeper. Let us assume you need only 5 minutes to think on every game, with 20 active games it would take almost 2 hours.

There are some ways to manage this workload, in particular it is good idea to start and play the games so they are not going in parallel, but so you have a few games in the opening, a few in the middlegame, and a few approaching the end. It can be achieved by starting the games successively instead of at once, and even if you start a lot of games simultaneously (as in the tournament case), you can play the opening in some of them faster, and somewhat slower in the rest.

But, at worst, assume you will need a few minutes for every game you play. Divide your spare time by that, the answer is the count of games you can play.


3.2. Do not play too fast

People who are used to playing live online games frequently hurry making moves, sometimes blundering heavily. Spend your time. Use the analysis board to play the variation you expect. If you are unsure which move is correct, leave the position and return to it the next day. If the position is complicated, consider saving a prepared variation as a private note, then returning to the game later, to verify whether the idea is correct. Correspondence chess gives one the comfort of having a lot of time to think. Do not give up this advantage.


3.3. Where is my rating?

SchemingMind publishes rating lists on a monthly basis, on the first day of every month. So you will get your first rating when the current calendar month ends (if you manage to finish some games before then). For more info see Ratings.


3.4. What if my opponent does not play?

It can happen that some of your opponents will not move at all, or stop moving after some time. In both cases ... just wait (and play other games). If your opponent does not start the game for two weeks, you will have an option to abandon it (there will be such option below the board when you visit the game). If your opponent played some moves, but stopped, wait until his clock expires. You will have an option to claim a win on time then (again, this option will appear below the board), in some cases the game will be even awarded to you automatically. See GameClock for more details.

Remember that your opponent is perfectly allowed to stop playing for some time as long as his clock allows for it. He can be travelling, having a hard time at work, or simply want to take more time thinking about a given game.


3.5. How can I cancel my account at Scheming Mind?

Accounts on SchemingMind are marked as 'inactive' when you have not logged onto the account for three months. Inactive accounts cannot be challenged to new games, they are not returned by the 'suggest a player' query, and they cannot be located from the player search page.

If you no longer wish to play chess on SchemingMind, leave any teams you may have joined and reset your challenge preferences to a maximum of zero games - this will ensure that new games cannot be started against you. We can't cancel accounts completely, as your opponents in the games you have already played may wish to keep a record of these games.

As a courtesy to your opponents, we suggest that you complete any outstanding games. However, if you do not wish to do this, please either offer a draw in these games or resign them. If you do not log onto the site again after this, your account will eventually become marked as inactive and effectively cancelled.

If you change your mind and decide to return to the site in the future, your account will be reactivated as soon as you log back on to the site.

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