How to play by phone, radio, or conference call

The pandemic has severely limited opportunities to play chess over the board outside one’s own household.

But chess has not come to a halt. Internet connected players were already playing millions of games per day and have only increased their pace. You can easily get a casual game with a stranger on sites like and on any day, any time, even on Christmas.

Video conferencing has even allowed cash tournament play to be proctored, thus supporting the full spectrum broadcasted grandmaster competitions to Continental Chess Association (CCA) opens.

But, we don’t want to forget those without internet access, expensive metred access, or who are not comfortable with chess online. The pandemic has left these folks in a chess vacuum.

Thus, for most of our casual virtual events, we will support an option for participation by phone or text message.

If you are unable to play on the internet, you can call or text 204-666-5689 during our scheduled events and let us know that is the only way you can participate. For phone participation, you’ll have to provide your number so our live conference call system can call you back.

Please do not call or text outside the posted event times. We’re not answering or returning calls about upcoming events. Please do not call if you are able to participate in our events over the internet.

If you have internet access, check for upcoming casual event listings and visit during scheduled events for the event video conference and chat room.

How do you share chess moves over a phone call? You will be assigned a board number and a side (white/black). When you’ve decided on a move, wait for silence and jump in with your board number and move.

Keep a written record of the moves from your game and assigned board number.

Moves are to be conveyed with algebraic notation. Because the letters b, c, d, e, and g can be hard to tell apart when heard, we ask that you use the NATO phonetic alphabet for the letters a-h: ALPHA (a), BRAVO (b), CHARLIE (c), DELTA (D), ECHO (e), FOXTROT (f), GOLF (g), and HOTEL (h).

After your opponent moves, reply with an acknowledgement that you heard their move “board 6 acknowledged”.

So for example, here’s a transcript of the Benoni Defense (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5) on board 6 spoken by white (W) and black (B):

W: Board 6, DELTA four (1. d4)
B: Board 6 acknowledged

B: Board 6, Knight FOXTROT six (1. …Nf6)
W: Board 6 acknowledged

W: Board 6, CHARLIE four (2. c4)
B: Board 6 acknowledged

B: Board 6, CHARLIE five (2. … c5)
W: Board 6 acknowledged

Our casual phone/text games will be untimed.

We’ll limit ourselves to 4 conference call games at a time. We may pair you up with an internet connected player and relay the moves.

Jamie and Mark provided a demonstration of conveying moves by voice in November. (YouTube embedded below)

Note our accidental use of EPSILON instead of the proper NATA phonetic ECHO, and an attempt to also convey the colour and move number. These are probably not necessary in a small conference call.

Our game as a study and imported game on lichess.

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