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Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:45 pm
by Adam Raoof
I wonder - I used to think that the answer was ABSOLUTELY not. Now I have seen some of the good points as well as the bad points of chess online, I am inclined to say... PROBABLY not.

Nevertheless I have started holding events that people are enjoying much more that your typical online chess tournament! Maybe you will enjoy them too.

IDEA 1.0

We are running a Hampstead-style Under 2200, 5 round swiss event on Saturdays, from 11 am to 5pm on chess.com and each player gets 40 minutes plus 5 seconds a move per game. This has the advantage of being a swiss (not a knockout) but the slight drawback that the round times are not fixed - the rounds start as soon as the previous rounds games have finished. Moreover I have no control over pairings, byes or anything else! People still like it. Join the club here - https://www.chess.com/club/chess-england But it really bugs me as an arbiter and organiser that I can't do more for the players who arrive late, or who have technical issues during games.

IDEA 1.5
So.... every Saturday, we have a chessengland.com special event by invitation only for English Chess Federation members and supporters! We are on a new site so there is a learning curve to start with.
There is one section for players Under 2200 (FIDE rating or ECF conversion), 6 rounds, at the moment the time control is 20 minutes + 10 seconds a move, 10am to 4pm latest, we have fixed round times, byes are available, proper swiss pairings, cash prizes of £60/£40 plus a rating prize of £40, players must be FIDE or ECF registered and play under their real names, play the games on my site (experimental but in development and not too bad), and you must be on camera throughout in the arbiter’s room!

The entry fee is £15.00. Contact me if you want to play - adamraoof@gmail.com. Serious enquiries from open minded people only. Space is limited. You can become an ECF supporter for as little as £5.00! https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-membership/. We will add a second section in due course. We might do a similar event on a Sunday too.

IDEA 2

On SUNDAYS we have been holding day-long blitz events on lichess.org, but with the important difference that you play as many games as you can for 45 minutes in a round (called an Arena on lichess), then you get a break of 15 minutes, and then the next round starts at a fixed time!

So - 10.30am start - 3.15pm finish at the very latest, you can dip in and out of these Arenas any time - and the time control is 5 minutes plus 3 seconds when you make a move / per game. You do need to join the Chess England club and then all the Arenas on Lichess to play all day! JOIN HERE - https://lichess.org/team/chess-england

There are Cash Prizes £40/£20/£10 for best scores over all five Arenas and we publish a full crosstable at the end. All points scored count for the final table. Our timetable is Arena 1 - 10.30am / Arena 2 - 11.30am / Arena 3 - 12.30pm / Arena 4 - 1.30pm / Arena 5 - 2.30pm - PLUS BESERK OPTION for the final Arena - this allows those of you who came in halfway through Arena 1 to have a chance to catch up!

When you play in the Sunday Arenas, all I ask is that you please donate perhaps £5.00 (that is £1.00 per Arena!) to support my work as a chess organiser and to enable me to give prizes - https://www.paypal.me/adamraoof or transfer to Chess England Limited, Account Number: 22408212, Sort Code: 608371 - thank you.
Join us on lichess (↑509 members) and Chess.com (↑288 members) or ChessKid (↑60 members)
Share the Chess England ONLINE Home Page - https://bit.ly/chessenglandonline
Don't stop playing chess. Good luck in your games!

Adam Raoof

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:57 pm
by Nick Ivell
No.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:26 pm
by Simon Brown
Agree with Nick

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:06 pm
by Jacques Parry
Until recently I would have said no. Having played in one of Adam's invitational events, I am not so sure. The technology presents some problems, of course (I got disconnected when I had just reached a winning position, à la Firouzja), but there are definite advantages which I probably don't need to spell out. I would recommend fellow sceptics to give it a try.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:13 pm
by Roger de Coverly
Jacques Parry wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:06 pm
The technology presents some problems, of course (I got disconnected when I had just reached a winning position, à la Firouzja)
That is one of the many problems.

I probably first played on-line chess getting on for twenty five years ago. It's perfectly suitable for casual play, but too vulnerable to external assistance for anything more serious. Setting up your home as a mini-TV studio so that a remote arbiter can monitor your activity is to my mind a step too far.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:43 pm
by JustinHorton
Well, at least with an online event you don't have to dress up.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:51 pm
by Roger de Coverly
JustinHorton wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:43 pm
Well, at least with an online event you don't have to dress up.
The requirement for "serious" chess seems likely to be video surveillance, so FIDE or whoever might overlay a dress code on top of that.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:03 pm
by ben.graff
Adam does a great job with his OTB tournaments. I've always very much enjoyed all the ones I have played in. I'd far rather be playing OTB than online, but if online it has to be, I'm sure all Adam's offerings will be terrific.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:46 pm
by Kevin Thurlow
"Well, at least with an online event you don't have to dress up."

or at all...?

I have encountered players at tournaments who don't seem to have taken much care over appearance etc.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:16 am
by Simon Rogers
I agree with Nick Ivell. Online chess will never beat the face to face over the board experience. Reasons:
1. There is always the trust element of whether someone is cheating or not.
2. Social interaction. As human beings (primates) we all need face to face contact for mental health reasons.
3.Technology. I'm afraid not everyone as easy access to a laptop. Especially for a number of hours
Laptops and mini TVs etc in rooms are expensive. There are a high number of chess players who are not wealthy.
There are a number of elderly members in chess clubs that struggle with technology and look forward to an evening of social chess.
The children who play at Cleveleys Chess Club for Juniors that I run enjoy the face to face chess. Meeting friends from other schools every Thursday evening.
Although I do agree that Adam Raoof does a fantastic job in running these tournaments and should be knighted

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:17 am
by Simon Rogers
I agree with Nick Ivell. Online chess will never beat the face to face over the board experience. Reasons:
1. There is always the trust element of whether someone is cheating or not.
2. Social interaction. As human beings (primates) we all need face to face contact for mental health reasons.
3.Technology. I'm afraid not everyone as easy access to a laptop. Especially for a number of hours
Laptops and mini TVs etc in rooms are expensive. There are a high number of chess players who are not wealthy.
There are a number of elderly members in chess clubs that struggle with technology and look forward to an evening of social chess.
The children who play at Cleveleys Chess Club for Juniors that I run enjoy the face to face chess. Meeting friends from other schools every Thursday evening.
Although I do agree that Adam Raoof does a fantastic job in running these tournaments and should be knighted

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:42 am
by Roger de Coverly
Simon Rogers wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:16 am
There are a number of elderly members in chess clubs that struggle with technology and look forward to an evening of social chess.
Against that, there are some veteran players who have fifty years experience of using computers.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:52 am
by Simon Rogers
That's true. My apologies for stereo typing a bit. Although at Poulton Chess Club our elderly members have told me look forward to Monday nights and don't have laptops at home.
Also staring at computer screens for hours playing online can be possibly less healthy than going out to play over the board chess. All arbiters and congress organisers should in the UK should be given MBEs for services to chess for the amount of unpaid work they do

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:13 am
by Ian Thompson
Simon Rogers wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:52 am
Also staring at computer screens for hours playing online can be possibly less healthy than going out to play over the board chess.
Some players at the recently concluded Sitges online tournament were using boards and sets, with the computer pushed to one side. One of the photos even shows the player using a scoresheet!

Presumably, if you've got a DGT board and set you can connect that to your computer so you don't need to enter your moves on the computer to play them.

Re: Can online chess ever beat the face-to-face over the board experience?

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:54 am
by Joey Stewart
I'd say for the convenience of not having to travel you really can't beat online play, and much easier to play speed games too.

Downside is obviously cheating (on chess.com I find myself submitting almost daily cheating reports recently) and the fact you can just never play as good a game online what with the huge temptation to do something practical like surf the net instead of staring into the abyss for several minutes while waiting for an opponent to move.


Both have their place, but I much prefer to train or play blitz online and would never have any real interest in long games even if it became the norm.