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How can you play against GMs and IMs on Playchess

by Nadja Wittmann - 28/04/2018

Historically, ducats are trade coins which were used in Europe from the middle ages to the early 20th century. Modern ducats are used to pay on the chess server: to bet on games, to pay for ChessBase products, to hire strong players for lessons, to play simuls, etc. It is an easy way to transact on the ChessBase and Playchess platform. Usually playing against a GM is very difficult but with Ducats, the chances of them playing are much higher. But one thing did not change over the centuries: the more ducats, the better!

What is a Ducat?

A"ducat" (pronounced like "bucket") is the official "server currency" on "", the ChessBase chess server. Ducats can be bought in the shop — like any other product — or transferred from another account.

For a number of transactions in the ChessBase world it is helpful to have ducats, to (e.g.):

a) Play a trainer for a private lesson

b) Play against a grandmaster

c) Rent a top engine on a supercomputer to analyse

d) Bet in a live-game on the next move (in Fritz 16)

e) Buy products in the shop

f) Offer services if you are strong player

g) Bet on moves or games


Bet ducats on the next move in a live-game with Fritz 16!

How to buy ducats

Ducats are available at the ChessBase India shop for Rs.1650 for 200 ducats. In our ChessBase India shop we have all the products at a discounted price as compared to the International prices. However, the rate of Ducats is the same because it is an online currency of Playchess and its value should remain the same.


Once you order the ducats you get the serial number and the procedure to top up your ducats account.

Conversion rate

The exchange rate is 1:10. You get 10 ducats for 1 Euro or 1 ducat for Rs. 8.25. You can order ducats in the ChessBase India shop.


Grandmasters or players who offer training or simuls for a fee can exchange their ducats into Euros. The average player doesn't have this option, but can spend ducats in the various ways outlined above.

Checking your account

Account → View account shows how many ducats you have in your account

In our example, there is a total of 906 ducats in the account

Rent engines for ducats

You need ducats to rent an engine. If you are lucky you might find a free engine but usually, engine owners ask for a fee if you want to use their computer and engines. More information about how to analyse with engines offers the tutorial "Analysing with Fritz 16".


Most of the top players in Indian chess analyze use the cloud engines with ducats because they can get superior speed and accuracy without having to invest heavily in the hardware. It is one of the cheapest and reliable ways to analyze.

Rent an engine

Playing for ducats

You have a few options:

a) pay other players

b) play for a fee

c) betting on a game

You can bet a certain number of ducats on a game or you can agree on a fee for the game — no matter how it ends.

Note! If you offer your opponent a positive number of ducats your opponent has to pay you to play the game. If you send a challenge to an opponent and offer a negative number of ducats you offer to pay him if he plays against you.


An example:

You challenge a grandmaster and you want to offer him a fixed fee if he plays against you. When challenging him you offer him a fee of e.g. -10 ducats (minus ten). On top of that, you can bet e.g. 4 ducats to bet that you will win the game.


The payments would be as follows:

a) If you win the game you would pay 6 ducats to the grandmaster (10-4=6)

b) If the game ends in a draw you would pay 10 ducats to the grandmaster

c) If you lose the game you would have to pay 14 ducats to the grandmaster (10 for the game and 4 because you lost the bet that you would win).

Transfer ducats to other players

Right-click on the player name in the list, then select "Offer Payment"

This opens a window in which you can enter how much you want to pay and for what. In our example we offer the International Master and ChessBase author Sergio Estremera 50 ducats for a private lesson:

Pressing "OK" sends your offer to the player on the server. A window opens in which it is confirmed that Nadja offered 50 Ducats for a "Private training lesson". Sergio Estremera can now accept the offer with "OK" or reject it with "Cancel". Offering ducats to play a game works in the same way.


It is helpful to give the reason for the payment, e.g. "Private training lesson" or "Simultaneous event" — you can always check how many ducats you paid — or received — for what.

Pay with ducats in the ChessBase Shop

Of course, you can pay our products in the ChessBase Shop (note: not the ChessBase India shop) with ducats. Go to the shop, select "Account" (if you do not have an account yet, you can easily create one), and now pick the products you want to buy. In our example, we want to buy the Mega Database 2018 for 159.90 euros. Follow the payment process and if you come to "Payment Details" choose "Ducats" (in this example you should have at least 1,599 ducats in your account.)

Why "ducats"?

The ducat was a gold or silver coin used as a trade coin in Europe from the later middle ages until as late as the 20th century.


a) ChessBase 14 help about "ducats"

b) All tutorials

About the Author:

Nadja Wittmann is the Chief editor of the Spanish ChessBase website She has been a part of the ChessBase family since many years and has covered innumerable top class tournaments as a journalist.