Native Online Chess Play update for Luxury Mephisto Phoenix Chess Computer

  • January 24, 2024

Mephisto Phoenix update for playing online chess is now available! It's the fastest and most stable way to play chess online on a real board.


Why is this important? Fewer interfaces between your chessboard and the server results in more stable and faster chess gaming against others!


Typically, connecting eBoards to online chess involves multiple steps through PCs or smartphones, resulting in a more involved connection like this: chessboard - Bluetooth - mobile device - WIFI - server. Each step adds potential delays or "lag." Many systems also use graphical recognition of position changes, further slowing things down.

However, the Mephisto Phoenix offers a direct connection to the LiChess servers through the official LiChess board API. This means the transmission path with the Phoenix is simplified to: chessboard - WIFI - server. This is the shortest and fastest way to connect a digital board to an online server.

For Phoenix users, this means you can simply switch it on and start playing… after establishing your login with LiChess for the first time!

With the "Play Online" function, you can challenge friends directly from your Phoenix and play against others as effortlessly as you would with one of the Phoenix's built-in engines. It's just a touch away, with your chessboard and pieces in hand.

Now, let's talk about the update instructions:

For Phoenix owners of device serial numbers 101600 or higher, your devices come pre-equipped with version 4.01D. So, a simple update to 4.01E, as described below, is all that's needed.

Otherwise, continue with the full series of updates to bring it to the latest version.

If you have never updated your Phoenix far it is helpful to be aware that after downloading an update it does not automatically apply the update. You’ll need to SELECT the version downloaded, Confirm, and restart for each upgrade.

1. Ensure your Phoenix is already updated to the current version 4.01B. If not, perform the necessary updates until it displays version 4.01B.

2. First step: Update to 4.01C to prepare your Phoenix for the major firmware update. Here's how:
- Turn on WIFI and ensure your device is connected.
- Execute the update process via SYS SETT / UPDATE.
- Choose SELECT VERSION and select 4.01C.
- The device will restart.

3. Second step: Perform the update to 4.01D. This is a substantial update that replaces the entire Phoenix firmware and takes approximately 30 - 40 minutes.
- Turn on WIFI and ensure your device is connected.
- Execute the update process via SYS SETT / UPDATE.
- The Phoenix will download this update in blocks and install it when all blocks are successfully downloaded.
- Normally, the device will automatically restart with version 4.01D. If not all blocks could be loaded, the Phoenix will remain on version 4.01C. In this case, please perform the update again.

4. Please be aware that there might be delays in the delivery of download packages, especially shortly after the update announcement. If this occurs, try again at a later date.

5. Note that after updating to 4.01D, you cannot revert to previous versions. Your previously purchased license packages (e.g., engine package) will be retained.

6. Third step: Update to 4.01E.
- Turn on WIFI and ensure your device is connected.
- Execute the update process via SYS SETT / UPDATE.
- Choose SELECT VERSION and select 4.01E.
- The device will restart, and you'll now see the "Play Online" option in the main menu.

Here are the functions included in the update:

1. "Play Online" function, allowing you to connect your Phoenix to your LiChess account and play against others directly from the chess computer. It offers various options:
a. Rated or unrated games
b. Quick games or detailed opponent search settings
c. Play against LiChess friends or specific LiChess users
d. Play against the LiChess Engine
e. Participation in Arena and Swiss tournaments. Be sure to check our ChessLink app guide for additional functionalities.

2. Minor bug fixes in emulations, addressing issues like sound in some emulations.

3. Improved handling of the 40 cm Mephisto boards.

4. Bugfix for USB game output for conversion to PGN format.

For fans of emulations, please note that due to system adjustments required for the Play Online function, emulations may run slightly slower than older versions, with a marginal impact of about 5 Elo points. Remember that you cannot return to earlier versions after updating to 4.01D.

To use the Play Online function, you must generate an API access key/access token for your LiChess account. This token allows your Phoenix to access your account. Detailed instructions can be found here: https://computerchess.com/ChessLink-app-manual/

Important: When entering the token in Phoenix, activate all authorizations except the "bot:play" option. Pay close attention to characters like O and 0, as well as I and l, as they can be challenging to distinguish in the token.

If you encounter issues logging in or playing on LiChess from Phoenix, double-check your token entry. If the app starts but you cannot play, it's likely that not all token authorizations have been set. In such cases, create a new token and enter it again on the Phoenix.

We wish you a lot of fun with online gaming on the Phoenix and would be delighted to welcome you and your Mephisto Phoenix to our LiChess team at the next Millennium Tournament on LiChess. You can join these tournaments here: https://lichess.org/team/millennium




Leave a comment

Exploring Pi-based Mephisto Phoenix Chess Computer: Ways to Enhance Your Chess Game

This article with videos highlights some areas of interest in the new Phoenix chess computing system, following its release in winter 2022. Yes, it's one of the most expensive computers on the market... but it'...

<< Read Previous Article

How Flex Pad Chess Board rates in the REAL world

So you get your NEW Chess Board. At first you are THRILLED by it. "Wow, this is the stuff of kings!" But then that board gets subjugated to REAL WORLD use.  The average “junk-vinyl” board smells like it's been marinating in...

Read Next Article >>