FICSYou may have done as much reading as you can handle in a day, and certainly have had as much as you can take of depressing analysis for the week. You want to play, but it is only Thursday, and the club does not meet for another five days. What to do, what to do?

Well, thank god for the Internet.


Signing up to the Free Internet Chess Server is, as the name implies, completely free, just visit their website and hit the "Register" button. Once complete, you are ready, you will receive an email confirmation and a password.

Next you need software. We are going to show you two completely free options for your PC:

PC FICS Clients

JIN is a java based client and can be downloaded from 

Download it and unzip. When you start you are presented with a login window

Jin Login

When logged in you are presented with a black window. Click "Windows" -> "Sought Games Graph" which shows you currently sought games:

As you hover over the various circles, you will be given the time sought in each game and the rating of the player. Games to the left are lightning fast times, and games further to the right have increased times.

Please note that players with a (C) after their name is a computer, whereas the green buttons are regular players.

You can also issue your own game request by clicking "Actions" -> "Find an Opponent"

Set your preferences and soon you will be playing a game:

Scid vs PC, which we have mentioned before, can also be used as a client. It is not very different from using Jin: 

Open the program, and choose "Play" -> "Internet FICS"

First time you will have to type in your username and password, then click "Login"

The main window is again a terminal window. The main two things to notice are the "Offers Graph" which will bring up the current games being offered, and the "Find Opponent" button.

The offers graph is slightly different, but not by much, here. Green means computer player, hovering over one of the circles will show the (C) after the name. Blue is regular players, and grey are guests. Circles are rated games, squares are unrated.

Find a game you fancy and click on it.


Or you can choose your own time settings by clicking the "Find Opponent" button. A window will come up with various options:

Finally, you are ready to play:

This was a slight whirlwind tour of how to get a game when the rain is coming down outside and the wind is threatening to tear down the house.