Wednesday 5 January 2022

Too far or too close

 Online chess is increasingly become a perfectly acceptable form of competition, although a number of shortcomings have yet to be completely solved. FIDE are now happy to rate Hybrid events, as long as all the requirements for such an event are met (arbiters, cameras etc). A number of countries moved their teams events online, and this has generally worked, although the non-supervised events still have issues.

There has been a thought to organise an online team event here in Canberra, but the major impediment is that most players are actually too close together. As clubs are still able to meet in person, any local team event may as well be held OTB rather than online. 

You would then think that organising a nationwide teams event would be a bit of a no-brainer, but in Australia this hasn't happened. GM Ian Rogers drew attention to this in his end of year Canberra Times chess column, pointing out that the Australian Chess Federation has done very little to embrace online events (apart from the ASTC). A number of overseas organisers have also asked me why there is no online teams event in Australia, and I have to explain that 'the ACF doesn't really do this sort of thing' (and by 'thing', I mean, organise chess events). 

Quite possibly an enterprising organiser might step up (assuming the ACF then don't try an claim ownership of the concept), but the distance between cities might become the next issue (due to timezone differences). Possibly a club based tournament (by invitation) could be a starting point, but as Australia hasn't really done teams chess for a few decades, even this minimal format might struggle to attract numbers.

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