The History of ICSes - Parts 5 & 6

"If they would spend just six hours working at McDonalds they would make that money. Instead, they are spending six hours every day complaining on the Internet." - Daniel Sleator, founder of ICC

Part 5: The Death Knell of the Small Servers

There have been several small servers over time that have run some form of FICS code.  The most common of those small servers were the after mentioned "country" servers such as the German ICS (GICS).  Several servers have disappeared over time and along with them, a part of ICS heritage has disappeared into the void as well.  Every year, there's always a few new servers but rarely do they ever last a long time.  Some servers such as MEWIS have disappeared and appeared every few years and along with it has gone a whole set of unique variants that could be found nowhere else on the Internet.  MEWIS was the "Middle East Wild Internet Server" specializing in variants, such as Thai chess (makruk), Atomic, Crazyhouse, Suicide and a bunch of others that at the time it was set up (1996-7), no other server had even dreamed of those variants.  Even to this day, no other server has adopted "Thai chess" for use on their server.  Another server that attempted to do this was nextchess.com which failed as well because the programmer and the head administrator had no time to devote to the project (I was the said head admin).

GICS (chess.unix-ag.uni-kl.de:5000) is the last of the original "country" servers that still exists ever since BICS (the british ICS) went under and DICS (dutch) as well within the past year.  The EFICS (european FICS) went under a couple of years ago, so GICS is the last of the old-school country ICSes still in existence.  I do not consider SICS to be a real server (Swedish).  The reason it still exists is because of a strong grass-roots community that exists at that server.  Another attempt at a "country" server has been begun in the past few years, however I do not predict that ZICS (Australasian) server will last that long:

ZICS (zics.org:5000) is being currently run by an incompetent head administrator that has set his own ratings so that he could be on the best lists.  This amongst other things leads me to believe that this server will not last much longer.  As for those small servers that have tried to run a "non-country" server, they have been afforded the option of running either FICS or GICS code.  Most opt to run one or the other, although GICS has been the choice more often picked because of Suicide and Atomic chess being already included within the code.  Some other servers have popped up that have featured attempts to include more variants.  One such example of this would be icchess.net, a play on words between ICC and chess.net:

ICChess.net (icchess.net:5000) has attempted to run a brand new server, although its programmer (dirk) might need assistance regarding which wild variants are suitable to be rated and what are not.  Wild 5 Crazyhouse should not even exist as it is a forced win for White in 10 or less moves.

Just remember that there are and have been a ton of smaller servers.  The only servers that I can remember that ever amounted to anything would have to be GICS, MEWIS and the defunct CHICS run by gilly of LR fame.  CHICS was an ICS where everybody was a superuser administrator and was useful in that regard that everybody had access to the admin commands except a few that he had removed on purpose, such as the ability to ban "gilly", ip-ban and "shutdown".

Then an upstart company sought to change everything in the ICS world all over again.

Part 6: US Chess Live!

That company was GamesParlor, Inc.  The USCF wanted to sever its ties with ICC and run its own ICS under the Redman administration.  Bids were submitted and GamesParlor won the bidding war.  Instead of spending time to develop its own server code from scratch, GamesParlor attempted to license the current version of FICS code instead.  In this, they succeeded.  Another deal that they proposed to FICS was turned down.  With the problem of the server code itself resolved by licensing the proven FICS code that was mostly bug-free, GamesParlor turned its attention towards creating YET ANOTHER PROPRIETARY INTERFACE.

The Interface that was created was USCL, named after the server's name: US Chess Live.

USCL Interface for (server.uschesslive.org 6000)

Now I don't like any proprietary interface but this interface I personally take offense to.  It caters to STUPID people, thus propgating that anybody that remains on USCL will be stuck with those STUPID people as it offers them NO chance of learning anything on their own.  What ever happened to the school of hard knocks?  Channel tabs are the main feature of this thing, that and the HIDING OF INFORMATION.  I never have liked the concept of information being hid in any form at all.  Nor do I even like the tabs, it leads to too many idiots that are spoon fed things and STILL remain idiots.

Another issue I take offense to is that they have coded some sort of login issue to prevent people from logging in with their own preferred interface unless they are a Royal Member.  There is a way around this by reverse engineering it but they will usually find you, ban you and then filter your domain.  This place allows unlimited free duplicate accounts as long as you don't play yourself.

Continue on to Part 7: Why Yahoo! Is NOT an ICS and Part 8: Five Years of Reflection


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[Last original modified: 25 January 2003]
[Last revised modified: 20 May 2009]