Lichess OTB Mode (not really)


Back to basics?

[EDIT - 2/4/2021] We were just kidding! April fools!

With so many people kept away from over the board events by the pandemic, we've been doing our best to fill the gap. But something, something is missing from that true OTB experience. A few things actually. As such, we have decided to implement "OTB mode" on Lichess, bringing a number of innovative features to make you feel you're back in the club.

  • Touch and piece move rules! Everyone knows the thrill of seeing your opponent accidentally brush against the wrong piece, or pick a piece up and immediately see the refutation to their move. Online, we miss out on gleefully forcing them to go ahead and make their move anyway, but now any clicks registered on the board will lock in that piece for your turn. No going back now.
  • In order to help enforce this rule, player cursors will be visible to both players at all times, and pre-moves and keyboard move entry will no longer be possible. If a player cursor is visible on the board during the opponent's move, it will be considered distraction and an arbiter may be called to dispense justice.
  • Piece placement! We're spoilt by having no need for "j'adoube"-ing in the online world. Now, wherever you place the piece, that's where it will stay until it is moved again (or captured). However, if you type "j'adoube" in chat the pieces will automatically be re-oriented correctly. We will also, naturally, enforce 3D pieces for all users, and require manual setup at the beginning of every game.

Example of the new board with 3D pieces and realistic piece placement.

  • Clocks! Of course, we would be remiss not to include this. The hearty thunk of the rocker, striking fear into your opponent. We have added a press clock button (complete with sound effect for players and spectators alike), don't forget to hit it!
  • Move legality! A crutch of online play, allowing us to brazenly toss about our pieces willy-nilly, safe in the knowledge that the computer will prevent us from playing illegal moves. But no longer! Any illegal move will cause the invocation of established time penalties, and repeated illegal moves will forfeit the game. There is some safety though, an illegal move will only be counted as illegal if you hit your clock!
  • Voice chat! We've had this feature for a long time already but to get the true experience we will be enabling voice chat by default for all games. Spectators will also automatically be added to voice chat, but if they speak above a certain volume the automated LiShush technology will remind them to lower their voices.
  • Finally, last but not least - in the spirit of the classic club versus club OTB matches, a new arena mode where you must use the board and piece set of the opponent in half the games.

We hope you enjoy the authentic OTB experience, or at least the closest we can get to it, and we also hope you enjoy this April fool's day, have fun!