With the above title, I just thought I'd top DG's "Tightening the screws" post yesterday. Most of you have probably already heard of the Internet Chess Club's decision to increase their basic membership cost to US$59.95 (about AUD$85). The ICC is also removing the ability for "guests" to chat and play.
Two things. First, the cost is really nothing. But with rising interest rates and petrol prices, not to mention over-priced bananas, the ICC may find itself with a reduced customer base.
It will be interesting to see how Playchess will respond whose basic membership fee is still at the much lower US$31.50. The German service offers a much slicker interface and I particularly like the multiboard view during live tournament coverage. Plus there is, of course, GM Yasser Seirawan's dulcet voice ("dulcet" is a word I learned yesterday in a project walkthrough session, believe it or not. I just thought I'd slip that in).
What Playchess lacks, however, is atmosphere. Nothing beats kibitzing on ICC.
Secondly, why does ICC do away with guest chat and play? Surely a blunder! I recall my first trial years ago. I logged in as a guest, played a few games, went around the chat rooms, then decided to join for good. I always like going for a bit of a test run before a final commitment.
I have no doubt that are those who are basically "permanent guests", folks who just keep it creating new FREE accounts. These guys consume bandwith. And Caissa knows, I need all the bandwidth I can get - what with this stupid Australian senator who thinks that 1.5Mbps ADSL, offered by my ISP Telstra, is perfectly satisfactory. How do these women get elected for crying out loud?
I'm sticking with ICC.