FICS - Free Internet Chess Server
FICS QuickGuide
If you are here probably you have never connected to the Free Internet Chess Server. This page will help you to connect for the first time to FICS, and to register as a FICS regular player. It will also show you how to make the first step in FICS, such as play your first game, ask for help on line and get a graphical interface.
If you have never played chess in your life, if the words "castle" or "en passant" leave you confused maybe you want to have a look at the rules of chess pages, which covers the fundamentals of the game of chess.
When you are acquainted with FICS you may want to know about the more advanced features. All information can be found looking at our Help Pages, or in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. In the meantime, we strongly recommend that you spend a few minutes reading the rest of this page before connecting for the first time.
Connecting to FICS for the very first time is very easy: just click on Login Now on the menu on the left hand side and the Jin Applet, a graphical web interface, will start loading.
In order to have it work you need to have java installed on your computer.
After the Java Applet is loaded:
You just need to insert your handle and your password and click on login.
Basically the Jin Applet is a simple interface, ideal for beginners, but not suited for the skilled FICS players. You will find below some information on the graphical interfaces available for FICS.
Once you have connected you will probably want to play a chess game, after all, FICS is a chess server. The quickest way to start playing is by using the getgame command. Getgame automatically controls if anyone on FICS wants to play a game with your default time controls. If someone is found, getgame accepts his game offer for you, otherwise it automatically issues a game request to all available players.
The time controls are the total time you have to complete the game. The defaults on FICS are 2 minutes to complete the game, plus 12 seconds are added to your clock after you make each move, also known as increment. You can change these values setting the time and inc variables.
Registering on FICS as a regular player is very simple. Click on Register on the menu on the left-hand side and follow the instructions. You will be asked what is the username you want to have on FICS, your email and your real name. All the information you provide us will remain confidential.
After you submit the form with your information you will receive an email with an 8-digit activation code. You will then need to enter your username and the activation code in the Activation Form and your password will be emailed to you.
Once you have the password you can use Jin Applet or any other graphical interface of your liking to connect to FICS using your permanent username. Remember passwords are case sensitive
Should you have any problems registering, you can ask for help by sending an email to FICS support, or simply login to FICS as guest as described above and ask in channel 1 directly for help.
Please check your spam folder of your email program for mails from before sending us a support email or contacting us directly on the server. Some email providers automatically mark our mails as spam.
We would like to remind you that FICS is a free server, that is we do not charge for any of the facilities provided by FICS. You will still be charged for your internet connection by your internet provider and phone bill by the phone company (if applicable). FICS itself does not charge.
Email addresses that are freely available from the web (such as Hotmail, Yahoo, or google) are not allowed here in the automatic registration system; contact an administrator online if you have no other address to register with.
If you need help once you are connected to FICS the best thing you can do is get in touch with a Service Representative. Service Representatives are marked by an (SR) by their name, and you can always find which ones are connected by typing showsr.
You can then use the tell command to contact an SR and ask for help, for example: tell RFFISCHER Hi I need help. If you get no answer the SR is probably busy so you should try another one.
Another very useful way to ask for help is using the help channel, which is channel 1. Using something like: tell 1 Hi I need help you let everyone in channel 1 know that you are looking for help. If you need help, just ask. No question is too stupid, and you'll usually find someone who can answer it. We remind you, however, that channel 1 is for help only, so please do not use it to chat with other players.
After a while you will notice most FICS users do not use the Jin Applet, but prefer downloading a different graphical interface. There are several reasons for this:
  • it is not a very sophisticated interface, you cannot customize it like one can do for most other interfaces;
  • it does not support all chess variants available on FICS such as atomic, bughouse, or crazyhouse.
FICS provides graphics boards for nearly all operating systems and connection protocols. Click on Download on the menu on the left-hand side, select your operating system and you will be presented the list of available interfaces. You can also find user comments on the various interfaces, the latest news on the upgrade and more.
As an example the picture below shows a snapshot of BabasChess which at the moment is probably the most popular interface for windows based operation systems.
While you are playing you might realize that the time of your opponent runs into the negative. According to the the rules of chess you can claim the win. This can be done by means of the flag command. Alternatively you can set autoflag 1 to let the server automatically claim the win for you. If the win is not awarded your opponent may have lagged out or lost connection, without the server realizing it. Type adjourn to courtesyadjourn the game. The game will be stored so that you can continue it at a later stage.
The command stored can be used to view a list of your adjourned games, while the command sposition <opponent handle> lets you view the adjourned position of a game.
It is possible to have at most 16 adjourned games. When you reach this limit you will not be allowed to start a new rated game until you have completed at least one adjourned game. If you feel that one or more adjourned game is clearly lost you can resign it by means of the command resign <opponent handle>. Bear in mind that resigning non-lost games to clear the adjourned games list is considered abuse. If the game is still in the opening stage, or in a clearly balanced position, you can offer your opponent to abort the game without resuming it with sabort <opponent handle>. Finally, if you cannot manage to complete the game, you can follow the adjudication guidelines to ask the admins to set a result.
One final word: FICS is free and available to players of all ages, irrespective of sex, country and religion and so on. We want it to be as friendly as possible so please avoid acting in any way that can be seen as rude or offensive to anyone. If you think you have been wronged talk to an administrator rather than have a quarrel with another user. Everyone is most welcome to come and play on FICS, but bad behaviour will not be tolerated. Guidelines on what is expected from players can be found by reading our help abuse file. Please take a minute to read these help files. Also, we remind you that these files provide only general guidelines and administrators reserve the right to deny access to the whole server or to revoke certain privileges to anyone.
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Last modified: Fri May 29 17:22:27 W. Europe Daylight Time 2009