Sunday, October 15, 2006

Financing CTS or The London Accord *

Hereby I propose The London Accord, or means of both insuring the continuance of CTS which we all love, secondly protecting to make sure we are not in a situation where in the future the system suffers an outage as happened to the shock of all of us users in June, and thirdly and lastly, acting to restore expanded reporting such as the individual performance in graphic or bar chart form as existed before then. We call it ‘The London Accord’ in remembrance of the efforts of “non-commercial service created and supported by chess enthusiasts from our chess club in Berlin”, or Schachgemeinschaft Hermsdorf, in securing continued sever capacity in London.

This seems like a good time to bring this up, and I have thought about this steadily since early July, but needed time and energy to write it up after sustained reflection. This site has seen prodigious growth and needs to be preserved and protected. Just thirteen days ago, we had 6,820,357 problems solved, then six days ago, 6,976,688 then the 7.0m jubilee, and now today at 7,100,548, we are now easily annualizing 600,000 problems a month, or adding a million every seven weeks. In June, we had 1,000 users registered as “active” or having RD’s <100.0. Today we have 1,481. Of those, the top 20% of those users or 296 have solved 47% of all problems.

While not all users are by any means wealthy, it is evident that hundreds of persons depend upon CTS for their training, and while every effort must be made for this to continue as a free site, many users also are more than willing to also pay annual subscriptions at, or internet, and so I propose we open discussion as a group as to fundraising or contributing at CTS. I hope that no one is offended. But if twenty percent of those 1,500 active users each contributed $10.00 or 8.00 Euro’s, we could raise $3,000 or 2,399 Euro’s. Some might give nothing, but others might gladly donate more.

Of the hundreds of active CTS users, much talent exists to contribute skills, resources, and ideas in the furtherance of this site. Let there be a forum of discussion to accomplish this. Surely if the graphics has been cut back while the user base continues to expand, and problems solved mushrooms in size, it is plain to see that the system must be taxed, or if not taxed, must insure this does not happen again, while expanding or restoring all the graphics that we all love. If some of us spend one to two hours a day practicing here, but less on playchess or ICC, how can it be no one would contribute, when this is so dearly valued—as indicated by hours spent on site? Let the discussion begin please and thank you to all the brilliant and hard working users at CTS. Direct comments may be made more public at



Anonymous Anonymous said...


The site certainly has value for me, and I would like to help out. I have one concern. Chess Tactics Server is not-for-profit, but can we get any assurances it won't become for-profit in the future? There's nothing wrong with making money doing what you enjoy, but compared to purely altruistic motives I would be willing to donate different amounts.

I'm only paranoid, because I've seen that happen a couple times. An example:

Sun Oct 15, 11:11:00 PM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

i had read this article maybe a year or two ago, and am particularly greatfull for the link, and all along the way, honestly wasnt sure what FICS was, although many of you make frequent mention of it.

the goal is not to make this commercial. the goal is not to charge. the goal is to see about a donation structure which is honest, since this is such a rich clean site, with many, many brilliant diverse minds, and i see it growing to 10,000 active users at 50,000,000 problems solved within maybe two and one half to three years. users have done up 45 to 50% since june, which is a double every seven months. there is no point in a microanalysis of the growth rate; im sure we have some MBA's that can parse this. but the growth rate and the challenges and opportunities provided are notable.

while none of us bloggers are trying to spread gospil, i cannot help but think that we are each of us contributing. we tell folks, who tell other folks. it grows. i alone have had over three hundred views since starting in july.

no doubt somebody somewhere will be upset, but well worth discussing, IMHO


Mon Oct 16, 12:51:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Loomis said...

Have you contacted the people who host or run the service? Right now, most of what you say is theory and conjecture, but if you contact the powers that be, you could have a concrete starting point.

If you're willing to make a donation to help meet the cost of the site, they are most likely willing to accept it. Perhaps your public donation will act as a sufficient example along with your solicitation of other users to create a swell of donations enough to secure the site financially. On the other hand, people rarely pay for something they don't have to.

As far as it is a donation and not a fee, it does not "insure the continuance of CTS." This can only be done if CTS requires a membership fee. After all, the makers and maintainers of CTS can simply decide at any time they no longer want to have the site.

Your rather loose projections of the size of the user base at CTS sound most like evidence for them to charge a subscription fee. Likesforests reference to the creation of the ICC is very apropos here.

As much as I use CTS, and it does play a significant role in my current chess training, I think if it vanished tomorrow I would simply shrug and move on to my next chess training activity. Additionally, if they did require a fee, I am likely to decide to simply give up CTS.

Good luck with your efforts, I know that we all wish to have security in the things we enjoy.

Mon Oct 16, 07:45:00 AM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

London Accord (ii)
Several constructive thoughts have already been shared towards the London Accord, and more are sure to follow and are welcome.

If other persons are willing to come forward and pledge contributions, as I do here, in the amount of $50.00 by some certain date, say December 31, 2006, or January 31, 2007, provided some oversight can be given by a constructive group of persons in coordinated effort, and report as to need if any by those who run this site, I sincerely believe that others will step forward. If one person steps up, then others will follow, and yet others following them, then perhaps some energy or momentum can aggregate some critical mass and furthering the good efforts "supported by the chess enthusiasts from" the "club in Berlin".

Who goes to dinner repeatedly without eventually wishing to bring your own dish or clean the dishes? Money does not grow on trees. Let others more skilled than me, who is only a generalist, say in finance, or non-profit structure, or who understands the cost and capacities of servers in information technology add their voices.

This is important I feel and will eventually be needed. Surely to have already have created this site indicates significant resolve and robust creativity, but in no way is to say that it is all said and done, please.

Tue Oct 17, 01:53:00 AM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

Skaro at saw fit to ridicule my suggestion: here is my reply:

To those who do not know it, CTS was completely out of service for a week+ in June. Also, some reporting features were removed completely thereafter. Someone was able to secure server usage in London, by the good graces of some person presumably. Complete outage, no warnings, and little explaination. Now trying shutting down playchess or ICC of FICS for a week.

Skaro it is unfortunate that you are so angry and disparaging in tone. Is there maybe something else that bothers you? Sorry about that. Do you use or understand this site?

I try to post this at my blog and at but hope that chessChat is where comments that can be so well edited are posted, but again, nothing to blow a gasket over?

My desire is an unselfish one to further this site. If you do not like my approach, then maybe other persons can suggest better ways? Maybe indeed no help is wanted or needed? But to fight about it? My goodness! Surely in dialogue things can be realized and a certain truth or circumstance placed into better resolution, and not the worse for wear.

So we have two new questions:

Is there any harm in seeing whether the site is secure, and if not secure, what can be done to make it more secure beyond the good efforts of a small handful of persons.

And if funds can help, what is the best way to get them.

Lots of folks would give $15.00 for beers with the boys but somehow $10.00 for tactics is a horrid suggestion?

Tue Oct 17, 12:04:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bungerting Baloner said...

I am totally in favor of donating to support CTS if the operators of CTS wish to go that way.

I would put up $30 per year without hesitation.


Tue Oct 17, 06:35:00 PM PDT  
Blogger wormstar said...

dk, I think you're going way ahead of yourself with this thing. I doubt the CTS people have much need for the 'accord', certainly they've given no reason to think so.

were CTS my site, I'd be reluctant to let it grow much bigger or more 'serious'. it's a nice hobby/experiment, but I wouldn't want to use any more time on administrating it than absolutely necessary. in fact, I would be very annoyed if some stranger started a public campaign behind my back, even if he meant well. have you talked this over with the CTS crew?

Wed Oct 18, 06:54:00 AM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

how kind of you wormstar as usual! 'ouch' if that is what you want.

behind their back? of course not. i have very carefully written to ask them whether they prefer that i continue or stop and of course await their reply.

as buddha said 2,400 years ago, 'where there are human beings, there is always blame'. you fulfill this perfectly here.

Wed Oct 18, 12:04:00 PM PDT  
Blogger wormstar said...

why did you delete my comment? I really can't understand what that 'blame thing' or 'ouch' is about. I didn't blame you of anything.

Thu Oct 19, 08:31:00 AM PDT  
Blogger transformation said...

I have written the founders and operators of ChessTactical Server in Germany, simply asking whether they prefer that I continue or stop my efforts, that is to say, ask whether they welcome this London Accord effort or not.

You know, when Jeff Bezos drove to Seattle across the USA in a small hatchback car, he had an idea to start something on the internet. Albeit, he wanted to start something commercial, which is NOT the goal here, but he was searching for something that did not as yet exist, but which filled a need. He came up with a list of four products that he thought that he could sell, and analyze them. He conceived Amazon in reverse.

But folks could have well asked: “who needs a bookstore on the internet”? And if you live here as I do, you know you can always find some yahoo who hate or despise him, but in fact, to those who know him, Bezos is truly a good guy. Even humble door men who work at the front of hotels say this. Now try being a billionaire and having that reputation down on the street? Amazon has a gigantic accounts receivable center immediately next door to my place of employment, and all the high level programmers that I have met, in fact many who figured largely at Amazon founding infrastructure but who are no longer there, they speak well of him…

Now fast forward. A simple, but elegant web hosted free tactical trainer. Some guy comes along to raise capital, not demand it, but a few will say, of what need of this have we? Or who asked you? Or no one brought this up, and isn’t this a bit presumptuous? Or what are you scheming?

******In process psychology, or group process psychology, there is a saying that the resolution of a disturbance lies within the disturbance itself.*******

No does anyone imagine that I had not thought about this for five months? Does anyone who knows me think I had not cooked this inside me for MONTHS, and only brought it up when in a meditative or intuitive way KNEW that I had to bring this up? Does anyone here who knows me imagine that I didn’t foresee that somebody somewhere would be irritated or indignant?

Build it and they will come--a free website for tactical training. Wonderful. Simply ask: after an outage, is it secure, and, if not, can anything be done by willing users to support it?

Thu Oct 19, 01:30:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I estimate CTS costs $125 USD/yr in web costs above and beyond what they already needed to spend on webspace for their risk assessment firm. They also spent many hours planning, development, and administering this site--perhaps worth $8,000 total.

This is a great effort. I want to support the owners in some small way as they've done much to help me.

I'm willing to donate $20. If they register themselves as a non-profit, I can additionally provide their webspace ($125 value) for free.

By the way, to restore the graphs I think they need to limit how often they run them to once per day or so, rather than every time you click on your profile. Otherwise it eats up too many server resources and gets expensive very quickly.

Fri Oct 20, 09:48:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I’m trying to solve some problems with my new template and wondered if you could help me out. Could you please check out my blog and see if the layout is as it is supposed to, that is with the title “Samurai Chess” at the top of the page.

It seems that people with Internet Explorer 6.0 or older has problems viewing the page correctly, namely some problems with the scrolling function which puts the title and posts further down on the page.. Some have updated their IE to the new 7.0 which seems to have worked out fine. Please get back to me if you experience any problems.



/Chris aka Samuraipawn

Wed Nov 01, 05:40:00 AM PST  
Blogger transformation said...

[note to tempo tonight, after a long hiatus}
hello tempo. im back. im playing chess every single day, sometimes six or seven games 3/8, and 2/12...

ive not been to chessEmr but did get a few sweet comments from cDog at my blog, so first shut it down to unregist users, then virtually everyone.

pretty intense on CT-Art, so now im switching to OBP or intern play... after maybe 26,000 tactics.

lots of endings, too.

i have not visited a single blog for weeks, but stopped here first. quite wonderfull when so much great exposition is fresh to the eyes, weeks of it. bravo.

if cDog doesnt read this, then maybe i wont be attacked today for lord knows what!

i asked yasser if i could see him in nov as discussed, and pick him up at his Dads, upon return to the usa for a bit? he cannot. he simply will be with kramnik and fritz ten, so not a bad reason to be declined! himmmmm.

my chess energy is great, and i fight every day. i will probably play 1,000 games then do a bunch of ending and tactical study after, once ive gotten many standard games to hibernate into.

warmest regards, dk

Sat Nov 11, 01:14:00 AM PST  
Blogger chessdog said...

hey DK, welcome back. I was beginning to think you had lost the stomach for the fight and had quit chess or something. Dude, have you givin up on CTS? I've been keeping an eye on your two "known" handles, and they are fading fast...did you create a new triple secret 3rd handle? Whatever the case you had better get with it, I'm totally smoking you! I'm now at 31K @ 95.7 one even comes close to theatening my accomplishment in this category.

F.Y.I. have you checked out samuraipawn's blog...he's got some great substance on there about chess training regiment. It's good stuff, and i'm sure that following this advice will give me the edge I need to crush you OTB.

peace out bro!

Sun Nov 12, 06:04:00 PM PST  
Blogger transformation said...

Greetings chessDog. If it flatters any, yours is the first note of this type that I have responded to in weeks. Thank you for your note.

I am still stuggling with my concussion and regretably hurt my lower back days ago on top of that, also at work, so I have had to focus my energies into very specific places chesswise...

Nevertheless, quite the contrary--I have been very, very hard at work at chess. Throughout October, I hit CT-Art 3.0 very hard, and got to about practice problem 700 at 2131 elo. You are certainly correct that I am on hiatus from, but in no way to deminish the worth of salutary benefit from that activity.

I have hit deminishing returns there, I feel, at this time... As I have told Tempo and Samurai and LikeForests many, many times, there are long spaces where all I do in chess is study. But then this is followed by months of chess, and I have played a lot of games this week, and intend many more: over 78 bullet games at ICC in the last days and one half. Why? I got stuck in a crazy one minute game by accident, some mouse craze thing or who knows what... and unprepared lost such a silly affair, loosing eight seconds before I even knew the game had started.

But upon investing further, could see that you could play 1/2 or 2/1 or even 0/4 there... a quick way to practice many, many simple and fast tactics.

Last year, I played about 900 rapids from August to February, 3/12 then switched to 3/8 when I got a chess coach, the one who turned me onto CTS and CTA3, then cBase, so a big help he was... but then from Mar to September, what about 25,000 CTS and 1,000 CTA3, so now it is time to play chess indeed and integrate what has been discovered.

So there it is.

I will see you at chessEmrald in the year ahead, but not for now.

Where and when do you wish to play, kind sir? I did not know that we were competiting, but it seems that you wish to in an objective framework? Well ok then.

And lastly, congratulations on the ne plus ultra results at CTS, indeed, no one has come close to that. Bravo sir.

Take care, dk

Sun Nov 12, 10:30:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi transformation

do you mind sending me the pgn file with the 941 games that you talked about at "and there was chess" blog site?

My email is newerjazz

thanks a lot

Mon Nov 13, 11:01:00 PM PST  
Blogger transformation said...

what follows is a copy of my personal note to samurai. ive not been at blogger for weeks.

but, fyi, if it makes any difference, this is my second post in maybe a month, only tempo a few days ago and now you! such is my regard for you, kind sir!!

[Chris, I broke a rib at work last week, and had to go to a hospital emergency room yesterday. I am 48 and while in very good shape physically, have had injuries since August… And now medication and a week off work, authorized by a doctor.

{i tried playing at ICC heavily sedated last night, unrated, and was amazed how well i played}

In short, I value your friendship and ability to talk with you here, and in no way are forgotten.

{more latter, please}

I got to problem 720 at CTArt, and now am playing at ICC every day after a long time away from live play and a long time doing 25,000 CTS, so now in a whole new angle or cycle of chess {in application, rather than exercise; I love CTA and it IS FOR ME, but totally appreciate what you say at your 100% fabulous blog. Your stuff is fantastic. I will read it all latter.}

How are you sir?


Tue Nov 14, 03:38:00 PM PST  
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