We have Chess Ninja to thank for this one. The Internet Chess Club (ICC) recently acquired two competitors, WCN and Chess Live. Those two will now instead form one entity they call World Chess Live. The new WCL site may be accessible but it looks like formal services won't commence until 29 May.
Press releases are here, here and here.
I guess this move isn't really surprising. It's what tends to happen in a marketplace with an ambitious player right from the get go. By the way, and I know this is a re-run for many of our well-informed readers, this article by Brad Stone on the history of ICC is worth reading.
I did have some experience with WCN (none with CL), thanks to our friend Goran Urosevic who kindly gave me a free gold subscription, and it was always hard to imagine them lasting for much longer. If Joel Berez, ICC CEO, is to be believed - WCN's memberships have been recently declining. No surprise there. Out of my 3 services - Playchess, ICC and WCN - this last chess server was by far the least of my faves and after a short period of addiction, I eventually gave up. My special problem was with the interface: it wasn't very friendly and reminded me of the old Yahoo! chess UI, very "cartoony". Plus the community on WCN wasn't quite as noisy as I saw on ICC and Playchess. Those remaining WCN members can count themselves lucky; you guys are moving to better services.
All this makes me wonder what Playchess' next move will be, if any. Or maybe there's nothing to worry about. After all, a lot of people, like myself, would have dual memberships.