Frequently asked questions

Below are the answers to the most common questions members ask about Premium Chess online arenas. Other very useful information can be found on the info pages in your arena. 


  • Getting Started

    • How do I enter the lobby playing area?

      Only registered free or full members can log on to the Lobby area. All you have to do is insert your username and password.  We suggest downloading your online arena direct-access app so that you avoid any browser hassles. Provided that you are connected to the Internet, the access app will automatically take you into the Lobby. You then click on the appropriate tab for the Lobby area you are interested in

    • Once I have installed the direct-access app, how do I get it to work?

      Just click on the icon and the app will start. If you have Windows, the icon should appear on your desktop; otherwise, go to the Start menu > Programs and open the online arena folder. If you are a Mac or Linux user, select the online arena  file  where you saved it (e.g. the desktop).

    • What are the Technical Requirements (PC, Mac, browsers, Java, etc)?

      PC users

      Operating System:
       - Windows 7 - 8
       - Windows Vista
       - Windows XP SP3
       RAM: 512 MB
       Java version: 6 Update10 or later version. Though earlier versions of Java may work, it is highly advisable to have the latest version installed on your computer. You can download the most recent version at

      Mac users
       Processor: Intel
       Operating System: Mac OS X 10.5
       RAM: 512 MB
       Java version:
       - Mac OS X 10.5: Java for Mac OS X 10.5, Update 4 or higher
       - Mac OS X 10.6: Java for Mac OS X 10.6, Update 1 or higher

      Though earlier versions of Java may work, it is highly advisable to have the latest version installed on your computer. You can download the most recent version at

      Linux users

      - Oracle Linux 5.5+
       - Oracle Linux 6.x (32-bit), 6.x (64-bit)
       - Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5+, 6.x (32-bit), 6.x (64-bit)
       - Ubuntu Linux 10.04 and above
       - Suse Linux Enterprise Server* 10 SP2, 11.x
       RAM: 512 MB
       Java version: 6 Update10 or later version

      Though earlier versions of Java may work, it is highly advisable to have the latest version installed on your computer. You can download the most recent version at

       - Internet Explorer 7 or any later version
       - Mozilla Firefox 3.x or any later version
       - Safari 4.x or any later version
       - Chrome 4.x or any later version

      Browser requirements
       JavaScript and cookies enabled.

    • Connection Requirements

      The Online Arena client  application operates on tcp port 9351 and 9352.

      If a firewall is enabled, on the computer or on the DSLrouter, outgoing communication on port 9351 and 9352 must be explicitly allowed.

      If the internet connection is established through a proxy server be sure that outgoing packets to port 9351 and 9352 are properly routed.

    • What should I do if I have a technical problem?

      Premium Chess arenas are highly reliable and problems rarely occur.  You will find the solutions to most technical problems below.


      Install the latest version of Java

      Sometimes technical problems can arise because members do not have the latest version of Java installed on their computers.Though ealier versions of Java may work, it is highly advisable to install the latest version . You can do this at


      JAVA error message

      The following is a Java error message that is not directly related to the FIDE online arena application:

      Failed to validate certificate. The application will not be executed.

      It is often difficult to determine why this error occurs.  To try to resolve the problem, we suggest you follow the instructions at:

      In ‘perform certificate revocation checks’ select ‘do not check’


      Reinstall the online arena direct-access app

      In some circumstances it might be necessary to uninstall and reinstall the online arena direct-access software. This is most commonly advisable when the following occurs:

      1) the FIDE online arena direct access software icon disappears from the desktop or appears incorrectly;

      2) if when you click on the  icon you get a message saying it is impossible to locate  "javaw.exe".


      In such cases, you can install and uninstall the direct access software by doing the following:

      1) If you have Windows, open the Control Panel and click on the Java icon either on the main screen or in program installation

      2) when the Java window opens, click on Visualize

      3) Select your online arena, and then delete it using the button marked with a cross

      4) Download and install the your online arena direct-access app


      Use a fast and stable Internet connection

      It is extremely rare that malfunctioning technology creates any serious problems and the vast majority of games and events proceed smoothly. Premium Chess does not accept any responsibility for any problems related to Internet speed, connection quality or interruption unrelated to our server, as these are completely beyond our control.
       The information that is exchanged between our server and a user’s computer passes through an enormous number of nodes, i.e. connection points that are completely independent and separate from the online arena and the user’s Internet provider.
       Members are advised to consider obtaining an alternative means of connecting to the Internet, so that they can reconnect quickly in the event there is a problem with their principal means of connection.
       In the very rare event that there is a problem with a Premium Chess online arena server, all connected players are affected and the problem is immediately apparent to our technical staff and all players online.  See Regulations for information regarding tournament and challenge game procedures in the event of a problem with the Premium Chess online arena server.

      Check your computer’s configuration

      Problems can be caused by the members’ computers or how they are configured. Where possible we can supply limited assistance as to possible remedies. However, in many cases it could be advisable for members to consult their personal computer technician.


    • What's the difference between PremiumChess membership and FIDE online arena membership?

      Each Premium Chess arena offers its own unique advantages. Now you can choose the chess experience that's just right for you and your individual needs.


      Premium Chess free

      Ideal for the more casual player interested in playing friendly games in a fun and relaxed chess environment with limited services. Optional upgrade to Premium Chess full membership or FIDE online arena is available at anytime


      PremiumChess full

      The first two pluses are unrivalled cheating protection and free national federation online arena membership with official fed ratings when available, giving you access to your country’s best events, players, programs, coaches and local news 24 hours a day – 7 days a week.   With Premium Chess full membership you enjoy a full array of services, including challenge games and matches, Sit & Go tournaments, teaching and training, events broadcasting, clear easy-to-use multi-lingual interface, post-game analysis with the engine of your choice, full games archive, superb fully customizable chessboard and pieces, great graphics, a reliable downloadable app to avoid browser hassles 5 seconds before you are about to checkmate, and much more.


      FIDE online arena

      As members of the official playing platform of the world chess governing body, FIDE, players get to experience the very best the world of international chess has to offer. FIDE ratings and titles are the highest achievment a chess player can aspire to. Thanks to Premium Chess' unequalled anti-cheating monitoring, prestigious official FIDE blitz and rapid  ratings can now be obtained online, with no difference between ratings for over-the-board and online games - just one rating for both time controls. This effortless access to official FIDE events has revolutionised the way we play chess forever. Some of the world's most important programs are organised by FIDE - in the future these too will be available online, making it possible for millions of players around the world to learn, participate and compete in a way that could only be imagined in the past.

      Needless to say, FIDE online arena members enjoy the complete array of services, advanced technology and features that make a Premium Chess arena so special.


    • Are my registration details fully protected?

      Premium Chess employs sophisticated technology and stringent procedures to protect all members’ personal data and privacy. Premium Chess data processing and usage is always in strict compliance with applicable law.  You can read more on the regulations and privacy page.

    • What are the payment options you currently accept?

      Membership and other payments can be made either by major credit card or PayPal .

    • How long does it take to activate my membership after I register?

      Free membership is activated immediately upon email address verification.

      Membership is activated immediately on the completion of payment processing. Payment by PayPal and credit card via PayPal is usually processed very quickly. The email address of members must be verified within 30 days of taking out membership.

    • I'm a member but I have forgotten my log-in details

      This information can be requested via the application logon window or the logon box on the webpage of federation arenas that can be accessed with a browser (FSI and SSCR). The requested information is sent to the email address you used when registering for membership

    • Can I change my username?

      No, usernames cannot be changed or modified. If you want another username you have to take out another membership.

    • Can I create multiple memberships?

      Multiple free membership of Premium Chess is possible but they must be made using different email addresses. Only one paid membership can exist for FIDE and Premium Chess.

    • How can I cancel my membership?

      Membership cannot be cancelled; you simply stop using it. 

  • Online Arena

    • What rules are there for chat?

      Exchanging chat messages with other players can be fun as well as informative. However, it is fundamental that all chat be of a cordial nature; the use of unacceptable language is a clear violation of Premium Chess online arena regulations.

      The following are strictly forbidden:
      • the use of insulting, offensive language, swear words, and obvious euphemisms or code words for such language
      • the use of obscene, racist or intimidating language or comments of an offensively personal nature, and inappropiate or offensive remarks regarding Premium Chess online arenas or their staff

      Any chat misconduct will be evaluated by the Games Manager, who will then decide on the appropriate course of action. Such decisions are not subject to appeal or discussion.


    • I’m trying to send a chat message but it doesn’t work!

      Free members cannot use the chat service.

    • How can I change the size of the chessboard?

      The chessboard size can be adjusted by placing the cursor on the lower right-hand corner and then dragging it to the desired position

    • How do I challenge more than one person at the same time?

      Click on the Players tab and then on the Challenge All button. If you wish you can set the challenge parameters in terms of player rating, Fairness Index rating, etc., which limit the number of players that receive the challenge to those indicated by the parameters.


    • When I make a challenge with one time control, my opponent proposes a different one.

      This happens when you choose the preference option of negotiable challenges. Your opponent can also negotiate other factors (e.g. the number of games in a match). Negotiable challenges have the advantage off allowing you to choose from multiple respondents. 

    • When I accept a challenge, I want to play immediately.

      In the challenges box, choose challenges that are marked with a flash of lightning (immediate start). When you click on one of these, the game starts immediately.

    • What are the advantages of the default immediate start to a challenge ?

      Clearly, you start your game more quickly, but you must play the first person that accepts the challenge. 

    • Why are there players without a flag?

      These are free or full members of Premium Chess, who are indicated by a crown symbol and the letters 'PC'.  Games played between two free members or between a full member and a free member are not for official ratings and are only periodically monitored by the anti-cheating system.  The results of such games change your single merged unmonitored rating and not your official one for time control of the game in question.

    • How can I watch a game in progress?

      When you are in lobby area you can see a list of all users currently logged on by clicking on the Players tab. You can also click on the glasses icon too see a game.To the right is the Challenges tab; this opens a window that will show you recently finished official challenge games and official games in progress. To look at one of these, just double click on the game you are interested in.

      To the right of Challenges are the tabs for the two tournament windows (Sit&Go and Tournaments). In either of these windows, if you select a tournament in progress, you will see the list of participants and the current standings table. You can visit the tournament room by double clicking on the tournament you are interested in; then to look at a game in progress, just double click on the appropriate game in the table.


    • Is it possible to see past games I have played?

      Yes, it is. All you need to do is go to the games lobby, click on the details tab, use the Tournament/Challenge history search function, and all your games for the selected period of time will appear in the main window. Double click on any game of interest and you can review the game. In addition, you can review games archived on your computer. Guest members can manually archive a limited number of games. Full members are entitled to an automatically updated and unlimited games archive.

    • What happens if I am disconnected while playing a game?

      The vast majority of games are played with no problems of any sort occurring. However, it is always possible that for a variety of reasons a player can become disconnected during the course of game. To help avoid this, all players should make sure that they have a stable and fast connection. If disconnection occurs, the server continues to automatically monitor the game in progress. If the player reconnects, they can resume the game but they will lose the period of time they are disconnected; if the player does not reconnect before their flag falls, they will lose the game on time.

    • What happens if it is my turn to move but I don't return to the board before I run out of time?

      You lose the game. If it is a tournament game, you can still play the next game. If a player forfeits two consecutive games in a tournament, they are automatically eliminated from the tournament.

    • My opponent has left the arena without resigning. What can I do?

      Your opponent will automatically lose the game if they have done this deliberately. When a member with a game in progress leaves the lobby, they receive a message warning them that this will result in the immediate loss of the game in progress.

      This means that if your game is still in progress your opponent's leaving the lobby was not voluntary but the result of some external factor (e.g. an Internet connection problem). In this case you must wait. Your opponent has 4 minutes to return to the lobby and resume the game. If this does not happen, you win the game.

    • What happens if it is my move, and something prevents me from playing until my time runs out?

      You lose the game. If this happens in a tournament, you should keep playing as you can easily make up for this loss with later victories. 

    • My opponent has not resigned in a lost postion and has started another game. What can I do?

      This is not against regulations. However, to discourage this unsporting behaviour, the player in question will receive a request to confirm that he wishes to continue playing the game with the lost position, requiring he or she to discontinue playing the second game in order to reply. If the player does not click on Yes, they will immediately lose the game.


      The amount of time before the request is made depends on the time control: 

      5 min time control > after 2 minutes without playing a move > request
      10 min time control > after 4 minutes without playing a move > request
      15 min time control > after 5 minutes without playing a move > request
      20 min time control > after 7 minutes without playing a move > request
      30 min time control> after10 minutes without playing a move> request
      60 min time control > after 15 minutes without playing a move > request

    • What are the rules for aborting a game?

      Can I request to abort a game at any stage of the game?

      If both players agree, a game can be aborted at any stage of the game.  White can abort the game without Black's permission provided White has not made his or her first move.  Only full members are entitled to abort or request to abort a game. 
      If White has made a move and Black hasn't, can Black abort the game without White's agreement?

      No.  The reason for this is that Black could gain an unfair advantage by being able to play exclusively his or her favourite defences. For example, a Black player expert in the Sicilian could choose to abort every game where White opens with 1.d4.

      Clearly, White cannot anticipate Black's defence and therefore can abort the game without having Black's agreement as long as White has not played his or her first move.


    • How to analyse with a chess engine

      You can use a UCI chess to analyse games in the lobby area.  These engines can be obtained for free, e.g. the powerful Stockfish engine at   or they can be purchased.  Once you have such an engine, you need to go click on the ‘details’ tab and then click on ‘tournament/challenge history’, where you will see your most recent games. Click on the game you are interested in and once it opens click on the ‘analysis’ button and then ‘settings’. Use the browse window to find the uci engine file and click ‘ok’ to load it.  All future games looked at through tournament history will automatically use the engine you have chosen.  Note that chess engines use a lot of your processor resources.
      All games played by full members are downloaded automatically in PGN file format in the PremiumChess folder on their computers.  You can analyze any of these games using a commercial chess program such as Fritz.

  • Elo and Rankings

    • What is the difference between Bullet, Blitz and Rapid ratings?

      A player’s bullet rating indicates his or her performance for games with less than 3 minutes thinking time per player; 

      A ‘blitz’ game’ is one where all the moves must be completed in a fixed time of 10 minutes or less (but over 3 mins) for each player; or the allotted time plus 60 times any increment is 10 minutes or less.

      A ‘Rapidplay’ game is one where either all the moves must be completed in a fixed time of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player; or the time allotted plus 60 times any increment is of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player.

      The reason you have different ratings for the various time controls is that each time control involves different skills. A style of play and approach that may be very effective at 3 minutes may not be nearly so good with 20 minutes thinking time. Individual ratings for each time control supplies a more accurate overall picture of a chess player’s ability.

      Only full members are awarded official ratings, free members are only given a single unmonitored rating that merges performance for all time controls.

    • What is an unmonitored rating?

      This is the single merged rating given to unofficial games of any time control. Unofficial games are not monitored by the AceGuard anti-cheating system and include all those played by free members or those played between free members and FIDE and national federation full members

    • Is my free membership rating maintained when I upgrade?

      Premium Chess free members have a single rating that combines their performance in all time controls.  As the games played by free members are not monitored, the rating awarded for these games is called an 'unmonitored rating' and is not recognised by FIDE or the federations. After an upgrade to full PremiumChess membership, your unmonitored rating is maintained but you also receive individual ratings for bullet, blitz and rapid games, which are all monitored by the AceGuard anti-cheating system.

      FIDE online arena members receive individual FIDE ratings for bullet, blitz and rapid games played online. They also have an umonitored rating for games that are played with free members. Full Premium Chess members also have individual ratings for the different time controls and an unmonitored rating. If Premium Chess membership includes  national federation online arena membership, their different time control ratings are official fed ratings

  • Tournaments and their rules

    • How can I register for a tournament?

      Registering for a tournament is easy; just click on the appropriate tournament tab in the games lobby, and then click on any tournament of interest that is open for registration; now all you have to do is click on the Register button.

    • Can I participate in more than one tournament at the same time?

      Yes, you can. However, you can only play one challenge game or challenge match at a time.

    • What is a Sit & Go tournament?

      Sit & Go tournaments are fun mini-tournaments for different time controls that can be played in at anytime. The tournament starts as soon as the required number of participants have registered.

    • I have registered for a tournament, but I no longer wish to play. What do I do?

      If a tournament has not started, you can cancel your registration by simply clicking on the Cancel Reg button. Naturally, once a tournament has begun, it is not possible to cancel your registration.

    • What is a Bye in a tournament?

      It can occur in a Swiss tournament (i.e. tournaments where pairing occurs on the basis of classification at the end of each round) if there is an odd number of players. On the pairing table for each round the lowest placed player is paired with a non-existent opponent and wins the game by forfeit. The word Bye is written in the space that would normally be occupied by the opponent’s name. 

    • In a Swiss tournament I had the same opponent twice; isn’t that impossible?

      No, it is possible. Premium Chess online arena uses FIDE approved Vega software for player pairing, so all tournament pairings are in accordance with international regulations.
      Being paired with the same player twice can only occur when the previous game with that player was won by forfeit. The reason for this is that a win by forfeit is considered a victory against no-one as no game is played. 

      Premium Chess arena procedures are in accordance with the FIDE directive regarding forfeited games and Bucholz (the tie break system used in Swiss tournaments), namely that a win by forfeit represents in effect a draw against yourself and therefore there is no penalty.

    • I got the same score as another player in a round robin event, but I only came second. Why?

      In the event of a tie for first place in a round robin tournament (i.e. a tournament in which everybody plays everybody ), first and second place is decided using the Sonneborg Berger tie break system.  This system essentially rates each player’s wins and draws, giving precedence to the players who performed well against higher rated opponents. If this does not produce a result other criteria are used. For more info click here. 

    • Swiss tournament: How are the standings determined if there are tied positions?

      In case of the same score in a Swiss tournament, the Buccholz system is used to decide which player goes ahead of the other . For information on this and tiebreaking


      click here.