Candidates’ heats up…


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The 6th round of the Moscow Candidates Tournament took place yesterday.  After a somewhat boring start in first rounds, the players now are playing less cautiously and seem more willing to take risks.


Readers will remember that this is a double round-robbin (meaning everybody plays everybody else twice) and after tomorrow’s 7th round we will be at half time.  Then each player will play another 7 rounds.  The player with the highest score will become the official challenger to title-holder Magnus Carlsen later this summer in NYC, with a million dollar (minimum) prize fund.


The Moscow organizers are pretty tight-lipped about the success of the innovative ‘shock-treatment‘ of limiting LIVE transmisson of the moves, not releasing the numbers of visitors to the official tournament website. I suspect that the LOW numbers shock the organizers.

The games are exclusively available on the official website while the games are in progress. Normally in the chess world, the pgn-file of the games circulates freely, enabling hundreds of other chess sites to offer the moves to these sites’ members.  The new policy introduced by the Moscow organizers cuts every single web-chess site from the equation, forcing individuals to go to the official site to see the live games.

Even though anyone can get access to the games FREE of charge, the organizers require that these people first register and then agree to a series of non-negotiable conditions, the violation of which could lead to legal prosecution.  This is one of the reasons why I would NEVER go to the official site to see the games, and one of the reasons why I am not part of some other sites, such as FACEBOOK.

For me it is a matter of principle: I enjoy chess, passionately, but I don’t want to give anyone any power or influence over me just for watching some chess games live.  Why should I have to sign a legal waiver in the process?

I don’t miss anything if I wait a few hours after the tournament round is over before getting full access to the pgn file.  Besides, most of the time watching a livestream of a tournament game is about as exciting as watching two snails mate.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a cheapskate.  I regularly buy books and spend thousands of dollars on chess software, etc.  But a livestream of a chess tournament–no matter how prestigious it is–has absolutely NO dollar value.  I say this because studies have shown this, and the Moscow organizers know this.

But, apparently, they feel success in organizing a tournament is linked to FORCING chess players to become spectators–THEIR SPECTATORS–rather than attracting spectators with a quality product that chess players WANT to see.




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