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, a popular open-source chess server, 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, go to https://lichess.org/simul. You can either host a simul here or 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:

  1. Go to  https://lichess.org/simul.
  1. Click the Host A New Simul button under the “Newly created simuls” section.
  1. 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.”
  1. Next up are chess variants. There are 7 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.

Tip:

Avoid choosing multiple chess variants. Playing simul is mentally taxing, and adding another layer of complexity won’t help your simul experience.

  1. Now it’s time to set up clock time. You have 15 options in the Clock Initial Time and 20 options in Clock Increment.

Tip:

Add a clock time of at least 15 minutes if you plan on taking more than 5 players.

  1. 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.

  1. You can choose white, black, or random, i.e., let the engine choose for you in the “Host color for each game section.”
  1. 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.

  1. “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.

Note:

“Starting position” does not work with variants. It only works on standard games.

  1.  Click on 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.
  1. You can add a message in the “Simul description” box or leave it blank and proceed to create the Lichess simul.
  1. 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

To join a simul on Lichess follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to  https://lichess.org/simul.
  2. There are 3 sections on the Lichess simul page: Newly created simuls, Playing right now, and Finished.
  3. 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.

Tip:

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.

  1. 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.

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.

Lichess Simul FAQs

Simul is short for Simultaneous. Simul in chess means simultaneous exhibition, which is a chess event where one player (generally titled) plays against multiple chess players at the same time.

The player is called the host. So traditionally, the chess players would be seated around, and the host would go board to board to play their move.

But due to the pandemic, we now have simuls conducted online. Many chess websites don’t have the restriction of having a chess title to host a simul chess event.

The maximum number of players allowed in a simul on Lichess is 300. And the maximum number of spectators allowed to watch a simul is 200.

There are 2 ways to invite players to your simul chess event on Lichess:

  1. Share: You can share your simul chess event URL to your friends by individually messaging them on Lichess.
  2. Advertise: You can advertise your Lichess simul on Lichess official discord server.

Note:

You can’t advertise your simul chess event on the Lichess forum as it’s against the Lichess forum etiquette.

No, Lichess simuls aren’t rated. The games played in a simul are casual and have no effect on your rating.

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