Chess.com Makes First Move with Awesome Developer Program

Derry Birkett
Feb. 20 2014, 01:00PM EST

Chess.com is receiving submissions from developers who are interested in developing ideas for Web sites, apps, extensions, or add-ons with a Chess.com API and support from the staff.

Currently, the developer program seems to be in the early stages -- developers are required to register their ideas and interests through a Google form; however, in reading some of the comments relating to the program announcement on the blog, the response time to these requests seems slow. This could be because of high demand. The Chess.com community boasts some 8 million users, of which a percentage will also be developers who love Chess -- so interest is probably keen.  Further, the announcement of the developer program included some interesting developer bait such as free hosting and support.

Here is what Chess.com states that it is offering to developers accepted to the program (from the Chess.com blog):

  • Free hosting (with Heroku and CloudFlare)
  • Domain names (We can purchase a unique domain for you, or you can use "subdomain".chess.com)
  • Access to our API
  • Custom API requests
  • Front-end support (Web-design help, graphics, CSS files, font, logos, board and piece assets, interactive board code)
  • Marketing (We'll share your creation with our community!)
  • Product feedback & QA (Get insights from our awesome team)
  • Affiliate account (to earn money from your creation!)

According to Alexa (December 2013), Chess.com is the most visited Chess-related Web site on the Internet.  Originally launched in 1995, and relaunched in 2007, its growth has been impressive since purchasing Chesspark in 2009 and ChessVibes in 2013.

What can we expect from the launch of a 2014 developer program? No doubt, stats-based mashups, Google maps mappings, and a Windows chess app seem to be popular requests from the comments. Also interesting are the new variants on the chess theme -- such as "Economy Chess" whereby an "economy" is generated on Chess Square ownership and turns basic chess into video game territory -- a very interesting concept that we could see more of as the Chess API opens up to developer creativity.

Derry Birkett I'm a web designer since 1999 - addicted to pixels, design, tech and the web in general.

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I applied the day they announced the program and submitted three ideas I've been thinking about doing on my own. I haven't received any kind of response. :(