2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

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Jonathan Bryant
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:05 pm

Ray Sayers wrote:It links to the Live tournament pages, so that's a fair indication.

Indeed. Talking of emails, I’ve just had one from chessgames which explicitly states that they’re broadcasting the games live and inviting chessers to "discuss the games with other fans".


Edit - I dispute the "incorrect attribution" claimed by Carl Hibbard - under threat of legal action - which lead to his editing this post
Last edited by Jonathan Bryant on Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

Dylan McClain
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Dylan McClain » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:22 pm

Hi all,

Well, I have read the comments here with interest. I do understand the concerns (or more than concerns), but the idea behind what Agon is doing is really for commercial reasons and ultimately, we believe, for the benefit of chess. It's quite simple: advertisers are willing to sponsor big chess events if there is enough traffic that their advertising is seen by a large audience (millions, not tens of thousands). If multiple Web sites broadcast the event, if splits the audience and advertisers won't advertise (which is what they have told us, directly). This is exactly what happens in major sporting events. Ironically, as someone pointed out on Chessdom's Web site on one of their posts attacking this decision, if a network in the United States, for example NBC, broadcasts a game, then it cannot be broadcast on CBS, ABC or ESPN. It is both a question of legality and good business practices, at least from the standpoint of attracting advertisers. Again, we are not making this up -- we've been told by advertisers what they need and want before they will begin to sink real money into chess.

Does this affect fans? Hopefully not. The World Chess site is free. But, anyone who logs on has to agree to something called a click wrap agreement (at least that is what I think it is called; I am not a lawyer) and if, because of that person's actions, any moves are retransmitted during the games, they become personally liable for damages. These type of agreements have well-established legal standing in American courts, European courts and Russian courts. So, I am saying this straight out: Don't retransmit if you are thinking of doing it. You may win, but if you don't, you will lose everything. Agon has to come after anyone who tries to get around it, for the reasons I explained above. And, again, why try to circumvent the broadcast? Why run the risk? The site is free. There are two grandmaster commentators, in English. There will be guest commentators. And the players are required to comment on the games as soon as they are done? What exactly is that you want that is not being provided? At least try it before dismissing it out of hand. Who does that?

Two last notes. I hope no one here in any way blames or holds Dr. Harding somehow accountable for what we are doing (although, again, it is both legal and, Agon believes, in the best interests of chess). I am sure many of you know him, whether personally or through his work. He is obviously an excellent scholar and I can say I have grown to respect his professionalism, ability and journalism through the wonderful work he has done for the World Chess Web site (which, by the way, has been well read and well received by readers on the site). He is exceedingly honorable.

As for your opinions of me, well, I can live with them. Over the years, I have sometimes upset people through my work as a journalist. It comes with the territory. But for clarification, I am working for Agon and working on World Chess not because I need a job (I actually have one, thank you) but out of a desire to help chess and because I believe that, at this moment, Agon has a chance to do something right and help promote the game, which has too often been damaged by people who control the game who do not have its best interests at heart. You may say I have gotten it wrong and I would be incredibly arrogant to not entertain the possibility. Often we have to make decisions based on the best available information, and sometimes we make bad decisions. I hope that is not true this time, but obviously the possibility exists that I have not analyzed the situation correctly which is why I do not exclude the other possibility.

It is also why I said that I hope everything works for this tournament. Unless people were mean-spirited or had interests contrary to what I believe is in the best interests of chess, I would hope everyone hopes that the broadcast will work. Not necessarily because you like Agon, or me, but because you want to see the event be a success -- for fans, for players and for chess. When I wrote that I hope it works, I am just allowing for the possibility that failure can occur. Again, it would be incredibly arrogant of me, and the people at Agon to not entertain such a possibility. Ilya Merenzon, the chief executive, hopes that the broadcast works and that the servers hold up. Why does he not say that we will succeed? Because he is actually a reasonable human being and he knows things can happen. People plan, prepare, try to anticipate problems, but things still go wrong. Do we think that they will? No. But they still do.

So, here's hoping that everything works, that no one tries to break the embargo during the broadcast (for everyone's sake, as we certainly don't want the chess world mired in lawsuits) and that fans enjoy what we are doing and give us helpful, constructive feedback on any mistakes that we make (and we are bound to make them) so we can improve and do even better in the future. Our goal is to organize world-class and entertaining chess tournaments and matches while raising the profile of the game to attract and retain global sponsors who can bring more money into the game -- for all players and businesses that have long been associated with chess, including the Web sites that are so angry with us right now. It is a tall order. It is not simple. But even if you think we have gotten it wrong, those are our motivations.

All the best to everyone who has read this.

Ian Thompson
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Ian Thompson » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:41 pm

Dylan McClain wrote:Does this affect fans? Hopefully not.

Of course it will. There are always threads on this site discussing the games of major tournaments as they are played and you can't sensibly do that without referring to the moves that have been played.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:42 pm

Dylan McClain wrote:
Does this affect fans? Hopefully not.


As I understand it, you are trying to prevent discussion of games whilst they are in progress. When discussing a game, it's courteous to say, "this is the position", "this is how they got there". pgn is a public standard, not Agon's property.

Provided you have not clicked on the agreement at the Agon website, Agon or its British Virgin Islands company can have no comeback against those discussing the games in progress. There are numerous websites that discuss matches in other sports whilst they are in progress. In the UK, cricket and football are the obvious examples. So people , perhaps including newspaper sites watch the live feed and comment on it.

Certainly in the UK, perhaps even worldwide, the Liverpool v Manchester United match in the Europa League attracts far more attention than the Candidates in Moscow. It was live on BT Sports, but newspaper and other websites were able to report the facts as they happened.
http://www.theguardian.com/football/liv ... st-16-live


Real time coverage of chess has existed since at least the Baugio match of 1978, possibly even the Candidates Final of 1977. Online discussion of chess has existed since at least the 1993 matches, possibly for the really early adopters the 1990 match as well.

A community of people interested in viewing live chess has been built up over the years. It's fair to say that it's many zeros short of Agon's nonsense claims of a worldwide chess audience, but it does exists and arguably Agon are the parasites by seeking to enclose it.

Dylan McClain
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Dylan McClain » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:04 am

Actually, the click wrap agreement, or whatever it is called exactly, does include the PGN because it is a material part of the transmission. You look at the site, you have already consented. Period. Read the White paper on the Moscow Agon site. This is a slightly different situation than a football match. We also just received a legal opinion from one of the top law professors in England -- he agrees with us. (He was approached by the other sites as well -- Chessdom, et al -- and after reading the information from both sides came to that conclusion.)

And, again, we can argue all we want -- it is pointless in a way. You are not addressing or even denying what it is we are trying to do, which is bring major sponsorship to chess. You don't know what the sponsors have told us. I do. The players, who I spoke with this morning, are also behind this. The one criticism I heard was the timing, which I agree was not best.

I hope you at least try the broadcast on World Chess. And that no one tries to slip the embargo because then Agon has no choice. Who wants to provoke that fight?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:11 am

Dylan McClain wrote:I hope you at least try the broadcast on World Chess.


If that involves not being able to discuss the games whilst in progress, then the Arkell v Pressdram precedent comes to mind (and it's not a Rook and Bishop v Rook ending)

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby IM Jack Rudd » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:13 am

Dylan McClain wrote:Actually, the click wrap agreement, or whatever it is called exactly, does include the PGN because it is a material part of the transmission. You look at the site, you have already consented.


Fiddlesticks and flapdoodle.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:22 am

Dylan McClain wrote:You look at the site, you have already consented.


We aren't falling for that cheapo. Don't look at the site and click the box. At the very least, that should inject some realism into the fantasy that Agon have consistently projected as to the number of people in the world that have any interest whatsoever in Candidates and World Chess Championships.

Dylan McClain
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Dylan McClain » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:36 am

Fine. Don't look. The only way to find out what is being played is to look at the site. You can't look at the site without consenting. You want to boycott, boycott. Obviously no one can force you to watch the matches. But wherever you get the moves from, it has to come from someone who looked at the site and therefore consented and is therefore subject to the terms and conditions. So someone ends up being the person who could be sued. Believe it or not, we do not want to do that. But Agon is going to do what needs to be done to try to ... and back to my previous post/explanation.

Like I said, we could argue this endlessly. You don't want to address why we are doing this and what the advertisers have told us. Obviously I am not going to change your mind.

Best wishes to all.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:49 am

Dylan McClain wrote: You don't want to address why we are doing this and what the advertisers have told us.


The supposed "advertisers" don't want to sponsor chess and are just looking for an excuse.

It's been heard many times before, not least in attempts to shut down discussion forums.

The moves played will be reported and interested parties, who perhaps number sixty thousand rather than the fantasy six hundred million will follow them in real time and perhaps comment. In the absence of named sponsors, where is Agon getting the finance to potentially pursue lawsuits against all and sundry? Was the allegation that the FIDE President had a financial interest actually correct?
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nick Burrows
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Nick Burrows » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:53 am

It is illegal to fileshare, yet it is done on a staggering scale.

It is illegal to live-stream sporting events. Yet you can watch any sporting event in the world for free via sites such as Vip Box, despite its illegality; none of the corporations with the tv rights have been able to stop the content being shared.

The moves WILL be 'leaked'. You will never be able to prove that the 'illegally' broadcasted moves were taken directly from the Agon site or via one of the many other sites 'illegally' broadcasting the moves.

It's not for the good of chess, it's to make money, and it has zero chance of being successful.

Good luck with it all.

Dylan McClain
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Dylan McClain » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:14 am

60,000 real viewers? Hmmm. Check out Magnus Carlsen's Facebook page: 410,000 likes. And NRK paid 7 figures for the right to a "fantasy" audience. Oh, and since this is already out now, Google is partnering with us on this broadcast. They are going to be taking some of the content we produce and posting on Youtube, which Google owns, in case you forgot, with their own advertising marketing against it. Yes, they are paying Agon. But Google is just the tip of the iceberg. BMW was one of the sponsors of the launch party tonight. When was the last time BMW got involved with chess as a sponsor? When was that? I'm sorry... what did you say? Never. Yes, never would be correct. But again, these are just some of the companies and sponsors we are dealing with and lining up. And they all have the same demand, which I've already stated above. How about you get your heads out of, you know where... We are on the cusp of changing chess. To put on this little production is costing a lot of money and is a big investment. It is professional in a way chess has never been professional. Sites in Berlin, Moscow, New York. When is the last time that happened in a 12-month period? Like I said, the players are all behind this. They understand what this will mean. But go on in your tra la la la land.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:25 am

Dylan McClain wrote:And NRK paid 7 figures for the right to a "fantasy" audience


Seven figures in what currency though?

How large an UK audience are you expecting?

ECF membership is around 10,000. UK active participation in chess, including schools chess is probably around 50,000. The survey that put the headcount in millions used the metric of playing chess at least once in six months. That isn't the same as an audience for top class chess.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:27 am

Dylan McClain wrote:. Sites in Berlin, Moscow, New York.


and the website addresses are ?

Dylan McClain
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Re: 2016 Candidates Moscow 10-29 March

Postby Dylan McClain » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:32 am

Seven figures in dollars, which has already been reported.
And Google knows exactly the size of the audience -- they wrote the metrics, which is why they are working with us. They know the audience for these events is in the tens of millions. They have measured it, not us. It is not just the "hard-core" players and the kids in schools.
You only know your own little block and you confuse that with being the rest of the world. You are parochial.
And thick headed. Maybe that makes you a good chess player, but it makes you rotten at understanding the world you cannot see and touch with your own hands.
Like I said, good luck to you. I really am done. It is a waste of my time and energy.


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