Saturday 6 November 2021

Hybrid Teams

 Hybrid Chess is one of the new innovations that has gained in popularity during the various covid lockdown periods. I have been involved as an arbiter for these events, an still have mixed opinions on how well they work (NB I was involved in the drafting of the FIDE Hybrid Regulations).

Of the events I have worked on, the format that seems to suit Hybrid Chess the best is for team events. Individual events can be a little messy to organise, especially small events like round robins. But team events have a more suitable arbiter(s) to player ratio. In the ongoing Asian Club Cup there are usually 2 officials per team or 2 teams, which is 1 to 3 or 1 to 6. However this also works best if there is a dedicated chess club to host the teams, which isn't a luxury that all countries have (almost all teams in this competition belong to full time clubs or organisations). It also reduces the average bandwidth requirements, as each player only needs a front facing camera, while the organisers provide the panoramic one.

Based on other experience, I'm not a fan of individual events in the hybrid format, as the arbiter to player ratio is 1 to 1, or even 2 to 1. Again having a single venue helps, but in geographically large countries (like Australia), this still causes problems for players not located in such a city.

So if I were to suggest which events could be held as a hybrid event in Australia (or Oceania) I think a 6 player team event might work, with the usual requirements for male and female players (plus juniors). Whether such an event does get organised is of course another question.

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