12 June 2020

The Switch to Online Chess

Last week, in The Collapse of OTB Chess, I wrote,

Now that I've started looking into the data behind 'TWIC and the Coronavirus', I'll make a short series out of it.

The post was based on the following chart, which I include again to reference the relevant numbers of TWIC ('The Week in Chess' by Mark Crowther) and their issue dates.

The chess events reported in TWIC always carry a 'Place:' tag that documents where the events were played. Using the same eight issues of TWIC, I scanned the 'Place:' tag, searching for online sites, and developed the following chart. It shows online sites that were connected to an event covered by TWIC in a specific week.

T1323 : 'The Week in Chess 1323, 16th March 2020'

The chart shows three online play sites, plus 'TCEC-chess.com', an online engine vs. engine site. I've been following that site on this blog for the last few years, where the most recent post was TCEC S18 DivP Underway; CCC14 Started (June 2020). In the past Crowther didn't often report on computer events, so their inclusion was already a sign of the changing times.

The first TWIC issue in both charts (TWIC1323 16-Mar-20) carried reports on two online events, one played on Chess.com, the other on Chess24.com. Both were events that had started months earlier.

PRO Chess League 2020 • The PRO Chess League takes place 7th January to 5th May 2020. The Group stages finished last. The top 4 teams in each division will played off over two rounds, the final four will now play for the title. It seems unlikely they will do this in May in Norway due to the Coronavirus.

Chess24 Banter Blitz Cup 2019 • Chess24 Banter Blitz Cup takes place 25th September [2019] to some time in 2020.

The next issue of TWIC (TWIC1324 23-Mar-20) announced the shift to online play:-

Introduction • The FIDE Candidates are being led by Ian Nepomniachtchi with 4.5/6 going into the second rest day. The event has been interesting, no-one is playing really great chess but it's been gripping so far. Sadly the Coronavirus emergency is just getting worse, most chess events are being cancelled and I personally believe there's now less than a 50% chance of this Candidates tournament being finished without a long postponement.

TWIC will obviously have far less chess to cover in the coming weeks. I suspect I'll end up covering more computer chess (TCEC Premier League this week) and more online events. Note that the College Final Four in the States is going to use the Internet and arbiters to run their event. This will be a very interesting experiment to follow on 4th-5th April. I expect a postponed top class event to try something similar at some point in the coming months. I wish everyone well. Stay safe.

On top of the two online events in TWIC1323, the issue mentioned two more events on Chess.com:-

PNWCC Online Blitz - Jackpot II 2020 • The PNWCC Online Blitz - Jackpot II tournament took place on March 21st. Full details next week. 1st GM Lazaro Bruzon 9/11 half a point clear of Yaroslav Zherebukh, Kamil Dragun, Andrey Baryshpolets, and Zoran Jovanovic who all scored 8.5/11.

Forthcoming Events and Links • Note that most of these events will not take place now. The College Final Four [USA] will take place on the Internet [Chess.com].

The next issue of TWIC (TWIC1325 30-Mar-20) was back to the two events in TWIC1323 : 'PRO Chess League 2020' and 'Banter Blitz Cup 2019'. I've already covered that issue in the post titled 'Collapse of OTB Chess'. A previous post on this blog, Coronavirus Candidates (March 2020), covered the collapse of the last world class OTB chess event, the 2020 Candidates tournament played at Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Back to the second chart above, the next issue of TWIC (TWIC1326 06-Apr-20) saw the first significant increase in the number of online events. I'll cover that in the next post in this series.

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