When we think of simul chess (or simultaneous exhibition), we picture a Grandmaster walking around in circles playing chess against multiple players at once.
Simuls were a rather exclusive event where a select few expert chess players were invited to play against the master of chess. And you’d be lucky to find a seat in this prestigious show.
But then the pandemic hit, and we saw an unprecedented surge in the sheer number of chess players. That’s when many chess websites added a feature to play simul chess online.
With Lichess, you can easily create a Lichess simul event. Want to know how? Let’s learn:
What is Lichess Simul?
Lichess simul, or Lichess simultaneous exhibition, is a feature of Lichess that lets a single player play against multiple players simultaneously.
The one who creates a Lichess simul is called the host. When the host starts the simul, all games begin at once.
Historically, the host played with white pieces. But in Lichess simul, the host can choose either color or let the engine decide at random.
While most chess websites added this feature in 2020 or 2021, Lichess has had it live since 2015! And the best part is you don’t have to be a Grandmaster or a titled player to host a simul yourself.
How to use Lichess Simul
To access the Lichess simul page, hover on the “Play” tab and click “Simultaneous exhibitions” .
You can host a simul, choose to play in an existing simul, or be a spectator.
How to host a simul on Lichess
To host a simul, i.e., start a simul on Lichess, follow these simple steps:
- Go to https://lichess.org/simul.
- Click the “Host A New Simul” button under the “Newly created simuls” section.
- First, you’ll be asked to name the simul. You can let your username be the name of your simul. It’ll appear as “your username simul.”
- Next up are chess variants. There are seven types of chess variants, and if you choose more than one, the players can choose which one they want to play.
Most hosts choose the Standard chess variant as it’s easy to play, and more players will be willing to play simul in this format.
Avoid choosing multiple chess variants. Playing simul is mentally taxing, and adding another layer of complexity won’t help your simul experience.
- Now it’s time to set up clock time. You have 15 options in the Clock Initial Time and 20 options in Clock Increment.
Add a clock time of at least 15 minutes if you plan on taking more than 5 players.
- In the “Host extra clock time,” you get an option to add an additional clock time for yourself.
The extra clock time will help prevent loss by flagging and mental fatigue of playing so many players at the same time. So you can give yourself another 5 minutes on top of the existing 15 or 20 minutes game.
- You can choose White, Black, or random, i.e., let the engine choose for you in the “Host color for each game section.”
- Next is a section called “Only members of team,” which is visible only if you have a team. Go to “Community” > “Team” > “New Team” to create a new team.
You can add your friends or keep it open where anyone can join. The members of your team will be notified when you create a Lichess simul so they can join to play.
- “Starting position” is a fantastic feature that lets you start every game in a particular position. All you’ll need to do is paste a FEN in this section.
If you don’t have a FEN position, you can use the Board editor. You can arrange the pieces over there, and a FEN will be auto-generated below the chessboard.
“Starting position” does not work with variants. It only works on standard games.
- Click the empty box of “Estimated start time” to add the time and date of the simul to let your followers and/or team members know.
- You can add a message in the “Simul description” box or leave it blank and proceed to create the Lichess simul.
- On the Lichess simul page, you’ll see details of the simul on the top left of the page.
That’s it! You have successfully created a simul chess exhibition.
Here are some pointers on what to expect in a Lichess simul:
- You also have the option to cancel a simul by clicking on the Cancel button on the top right side.
- To invite friends to play simul, copy the URL and message them individually on Lichess.
- Once a chess player requests to play the simul, you have the option to either accept or reject them.
- There’s an auto-switch button located below the boards. The chess engine selects the board where you have the least clock time, and it’s your turn to play.
How to join a simul on Lichess
Go to Simultaneous exhibitions and click on a simul game under the “Newly created simuls” section to join a simul on Lichess.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to join a simul on Lichess:
- Go to “Play” > “Simultaneous exhibitions.”
- There are three sections on the Lichess simul page: Newly created simuls, Playing right now, and Finished.
- Go to the top section 一 Newly created simuls. The simuls created by only titled players are listed in this section. If there are no simuls, you have no option but to wait.
- Once you click on a Lichess simul, you can see the details such as clock time, host color, and host extra color time on the top left.
- Then the center of the simul chess event has a message from the host and the username of players who have joined the event. To join the simul, click Join on the top right side.
Suppose there is a Lichess player you like. And you wish to be notified whenever they create a simul chess exhibition. So you can go to their profile and follow them by clicking on the “like” icon. Lichess will notify you of their important updates like scheduled simuls.
Closing thoughts and why you should play a Lichess Simul
Hosting and playing a Lichess simul chess event has plenty of benefits. As a host, you get to interact with multiple players that challenge you to think quickly.
On the other side, you get to play against titled and experienced players, which you usually wouldn’t have had the chance to. All in all, simul chess allows all chess players to have some fun while playing chess.
And once you’re done playing with a titled player, you can head over to the Lichess Analysis Board to analyze your game.