Fool’s Mate Friday: Jin, FICS, and Correspondence Chess

Apparently, the earliest documented correspondence chess game was played between Henry I of England and Louis VI of France, but the earliest correspondence chess game in which all of the moves were recorded took place sometime in 1804 between F. W. de Mauvillion of Breda and an officer at a city of Holland, The Hague. According to Harry Golombek in his book ”Golombek’s Encyclopedia of Chess”.

Since then, we’ve moved to more modern methods of distance play, especially since the Internet. Now you can play on your computer, your cell phone, via email, or even telephone.

That brings us to Jin, but not rummy. That’s right, I’m talking about Jin, the chess interface. Here’s what the author of this great program says about it:

Jin is an open source, cross platform, graphical client for chess servers, written in Java. Jin can run either as a standalone application (available at this website) or as an applet, directly from your browser (available at the chess server’s website).

I’ve been using Jin for quite a while now on my Linux based machine. Among the many great things about Jin is that it is open source and cross platform. There is not enough of these kinds of good programs going around.

One of the best features, of course, is the ability to hook up to several chess servers, including FICS, the Free Internet Chess Server. I play there regularly myself. Of course, I am a big fan of free, so the price is right, but I also like the ability you have to message other players (somewhat like email), chat with your opponent during the game, keep a journal of your past games, and even email your played games to yourself. Perhaps later I can do an article specific to FICS and some of the great features there.

For now, you are probably wondering if this has anything to do with my Just Chess Engine. Well, I hope to one day have it playable on chess servers (although I doubt it would garner a great score), but it is not there yet. It is, however, available for others to drag and drop into their Android or Java applications to be used as a weak starter engine. No, I want to focus today on correspondence.

My next goal with my chess programming is to stick with Android for now, and in particular, cell phones. I’d like to build an android app that allows you to play other people who are not in the same room. I plan to venture into several different methods of communication, which will help me learn a lot about programming. In all of these methods, I hope to make a playable chess app as the objective.

My plan thus far is to make an app that starts with the option to play against the Just Chess engine, as a single player game. Then, I hope to move to a local, player verses player game, and for kicks, I’d like to progress to a game in which two players may play remotely, with the moves being sent via text, and the game app automatically importing those text moves into play.

From there, who knows? If the text games work well, I may branch out to how to have multiple games going at once, distinguished via some tag in the text messages. Or perhaps I’ll try my hand at a Bluetooth chess app. I’m not really sure. Either way, I have some work ahead of me, and hope you enjoy following along with my journey.

Linux – keep it simple.

2 thoughts on “Fool’s Mate Friday: Jin, FICS, and Correspondence Chess

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