In late 2018, I (DJ Allen) decided I wanted to try concentrating on developing my chess as well as trying to bring some focus back to a “match play” style of chess (as opposed to tournament play). SpecterChess was born.

The concentration is reviewing my games as I played, learning from my mistakes, which I have failed to do (reviewing games), and improving my own chess. As with anything I do, I wanted to develop this idea into something a little larger than just a self-improvement exercise.

Mimicking the idea of MMA, I decided to break chess up into a series of “rate classes,” a play on words for weight classes. Each rate class would contain a championship, something to shoot for, and I’d be the governing body for anyone else that might want to “jump in on this.”

The rate classes are listed below:

Rate ClassRate Limit
Heavy Rate (HR)2650
Cruiser Rate (CR)2250
Light Heavy Rate (LHR)2050
Middle Rate (MR)1850
Welter Rate (WR)1700
Light Rate (LR)1550
Feather Rate (FTR)1450
Bantam Rate (BR)1350
Fly Rate (FLR)1250
Straw Rate (SR)1150

The classes are named after the UFC’s weight classes, as well as the inclusion of the intermediate class of cruiser. The rating was determined in a rather simple way: it’s the weight limit of each of the classes with a zero added at the end, creating a perfect rating limit per class.

There are a few rules that come with this exercise and if anyone else would like to join this little experiment, they’ll be bound to these rules as well: 1) this is match play, only… 2 games (1 as white, 1 as black) against each opponent; 2) opponents are chosen prior to the games beginning play; 3) every game must be analyzed publicly (to be included in SpecterChess, those must be included on SpecterChess, this analysis should be in audio form); 4) until a league of dedicated players is formed, all names must be changed and must be realistic (no screen names, and if you’d like help with this, I will be glad to assist); 5) each player must complete 25 matches (i.e. 25 opponents, preferably 25 different opponents) before being “ranked” and/or given a shot at a championship; 6) championships will be defended no less than monthly, else the championship is vacated automatically; 7) SpecterChess is exclusively owned by and DJ Allen… which means all decisions made by me are final.

As I am being fair with myself (impartial and approaching this endeavor as if someone else was in charge), there won’t be any “shenanigans” with decisions involving others. I will approach them with the same impartiality as I do my own involvement. If SpecterChess “becomes a thing,” I’ll step down from active participation to administer to remove all doubt in decision making, as well as consider including others in decisions that need to be made.

Here’s the initial championship “belt” design for SpecterChess:

All of the games (of mine) are played on, which is where the PGN and game files will come from. There will be an audio file (the SpecterChess podcast) that you listen to in order to play along with my personal commentary.

If you’re interested in joining this experiment/endeavor, then drop me an email at with the subject line SpecterChess.

The first four events are booked, so if anyone else would like to join in, SpecterChess 5 is the earliest you can join. There will be an event weekly (planned).

SpecterChess has moved to exclusively. Tournaments (as of writing this) are up to Middle Rate from Straw Rate. If interest continues in the tournaments, they will continue to be held, but the ultimate goal is to have a regular “top 15” with a champion for each division. If you’re interested, please join the Emerald Specter Chess Club on

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