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Timeseal is a program that has been developed to improve chess play timing on the Internet.

Netlag often causes players to lose valuable seconds or even minutes on their chess clocks. Transmission time is counted against you, unless the chess server can tell exactly when information is transmitted. What timeseal does is record your thinking time, so that transmission time is not counted against you. Timeseal will not prevent netlag but it makes the games fairer when lag occurs.


What you need to do is get a version of timeseal working on the computer that connects you to the chess server. The timeseal program will work as a relay station, and will keep track of transmission times.


Follow these directions:

  1. If not using SLIP or PPP or any other direct internet connection, login to your unix/inet provider. Type "uname -a" to check what kind of Operating System you are using and remember the output. You will need this output to figure out which version of timeseal will work on your system. (VAX/VMS not supported yet).

    If using SLIP, PPP or Winsock (on DOS/Windows(TM)-Machines) you should already know what kind of Operating system you are running (i.e. Linux, FreeBSD, DOS etc.).

  2. Get the correspondending Timeseal binary from the Server-Webpages at chess/soft/ using a WWW browser like lynx, www, Netscape or Mosaic.
  3. You may have to unpack the binary timeseal program in case your WWW Browser didn't already do this for you:

    On unix systems you may have to Type "gunzip filename.gz", on DOS Systems "pkunzip".

    To make the timeseal command available, rename the unpacked program to "timeseal". ("mv filename timeseal" and "chmod 755 filename" on Unix- Systems)

    Here is an example for the case you have downloaded the version called timeseal.ULTRIX-4.3-RISC.gz on your Unix/ULTRIX system and your WWW browser did not already run the uncompressor automatically:


Now you are ready ... to go to the next step. ;-)


There are different procedures depending on which interface/system you are using. If you use Xwindows +Xboard / xics, then go to A); if you use Windows(TM)/winsock then go to B); otherwise go to C).

For UNIX/Xwindows users, there are two methods (listed in order of preference). Whatever approach you use, make sure that xboard and timeseal are in your Shell's SEARCH PATH. Use one or the other possibility, but NOT BOTH!
  1. Use this command (it is the more direct, simpler approach, but does unfortunately not ALWAYS work on each system):

    xboard -ics -icshost -telnet -telnetProgram timeseal

    The usual login sequence should occur as if you started xboard like you are used to do. If the output looks weird or if you cannot type anything, this method does not work for your system. If your xboard tells you something like "Cannot execute timeseal" then timeseal is not in your Shell's search path (check the $PATH variable) or it is not executable (fix with "chmod 755 location_of_timeseal).

  2. Executing "timeseal 5000 -p xxxx &" causes timeseal to bind itself to port xxxx and wait for a connection to the chess server. Then you can start xboard / xics like this (remember to exchange xxxx with a valid port number, like 5500, 5501, whatever you like):

        timeseal 5000 -p 5555 &
        xboard -ics -icshost localhost -icsport 5555
    or, if using xics instead of xboard
        xics localhost xxxx

    You MUST use the string "localhost". Do NOT write the chess server host's address because then timeseal will NOT WORK. "localhost" is a perfectly valid address since it's aliased to (loopback) which always means the machine you are logged in at, where the timeseal program is running on.

For DOS/Windows(TM)-Users: There are two steps: INSTALL and USE:

Move the file tmseal.exe to the same directory as your client program (chessbd, winboard etc.). Create a program manager icon for TMSEAL, using the normal method. (Select File|New from the program manager menu; click on New Program Item, then in the dialog set the Directory field to the same directory as above; set the command line to TMSEAL; you may check the Run Minimized checkbox if you wish.)

Double-click on the TMSEAL icon before beginning your FICS session. Then, in your client program, connect to "localhost" instead of the usual "". Soon the usual logon messages will appear. Errors if any will show up in the TMSEAL window.

For other users (no xboard, no winsock) such as ziics, jiics, E-ICS, etc:

Modify your interface configuration to replace the normal telnet command with: "timeseal 5000".


Questions? Ask channel 1 or an admin.

See also: lag, moretime

next up previous contents
Next: tournaments Up: Informational Files Previous: Team games on ICS

Klaus Knopper <>