Online safety and best practices

Online safety and best practices for chess

  • Don't include your real name, birthday, or zip code in your online ID.

  • Don't post a personal photo to your profile.

  • Other than within the Way of the Board club which is closed to public, don't chat with your opponent during games if playing online.

  • Only play online from your own profile and don't use a chess engine to get the best move. and similar websites have robust algorithms which will try to detect if a player is playing above their normal strength; I occasionally will get an update saying that one of my past opponents in an online game cheated and my rating has been adjusted upward to compensate. Parents who play online should also play only from their own accounts and not that of their kids, as that may also trigger negative attention.

  • As with OTB (over the board) chess USCF rating, don't obsess over your online rating. Ratings go up and down, if you never try a new opening or strategy your rating may not dip as a result but you will not see significant improvement long-term.

  • When playing chess, only play chess. Don't watch Youtube or Netflix from your other monitor, focus on your game.

  • If you have a phone, put it away for the duration of a game (unless your parent is trying to reach you).

  • After finishing a game, don't immediately play another one. Review your past game and think about what blunders you made, your time management, what you could have done better, and likewise critically assess your opponents' play, etc. Beginning players tend to stick to a few openings, practice yours so that you don't make an early mistake.

  • Don't rely too much on the website analysis of your play. A player needs to have the right foundation to benefit from some of the feedback. Focus on finishing your tactics workbook puzzles.

  • Players can try different time controls, but for beginners the best online game format for beginning players is G/10. Faster games don't give players enough time to think, but it can be difficult to find a player for a longer game and beginners tend to abandon a game if they want.

  • Don't start an online game if you don't have enough time to finish it; will penalize your account if you repeatedly abandon a game and it's bad online etiquette. If a player only has a few minutes to play do some online puzzles instead, or solve puzzles in your workbook.