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Thread: 5A4. New Business

  1. #1
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    Default 5A4. New Business

    Any VM with other issues to be raised please post here. (If an issue is getting enough responses to warrant a separate thread we will move it to its own thread)

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    ONLINE chess during and beyond the pandemic.

    Hello everyone,

    For the past few months online chess (I am only talking here about CFC-rated and sanctioned games, not the multiples avenues for online chess that exits wordlwide) has been basically the only possible alternative. And, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, that may continue to be the case for the next few months. But eventually OTB will resume, first partially then at full strength. The topic I wanted to discuss here is, do we want CFC-online games to continue (beyond the pandemic)? And if so, should we prepare better for that? Can OTB and online coexist, even in a world post-pandemic?

    For the past few months I have been exchanging ideas on the topics mentioned in the previous paragraph with several member of the Executive. From my inexperienced view (I am fairly new to CFC) I get the feeling that online chess is something that interests most, but there are many different opinions and positions about it, and many reservations as well. Just in this meeting there is already some exchange going on in the thread "Chess in a COVID-19 Environment", where the cheating aspect is being discussed.

    There are many things to say about online chess, and here I will only state some general ideas in a very short summary (if there is interest then things can be expanded later).

    1) Online (ONL from here on) could and should continue beyond the pandemic. It can coexist with and needs not to endanger any OTB effort.
    2) ONL has the potential to increase significantly CFC membership. It will most likely not add elite-level players, but it may bring in part of the relatively large community of chess enthusiasts that already play in many servers online, and could be encouraged to join CFC if some incentive is provided (for those potential new members). This could easily mean hundreds (if not a few thousands) new members.
    3) ONL would mostly be non-elite chess, due to having shorter time controls (and catering to a mostly non-elite audience). Exceptions can (and should) exist -just look at the Magnus Carlsen Tour as a high profile example.
    4) There are challenges to address (cheating being the most important), but there is also a HUGE potential to reach out to a larger community. And provide more flexible, varied and cheaper options for chess players.
    5) Covid forced ONL upon us (and the rest of the planet). But it is also an opportunty. How do we answer to that, and if we decide to seize the moment, it is up to us. The FIDE and other national and/or regional federations are already doing things in that respect. And CFC has been certainly doing its part. Do we want more?

    There are MANY more details and ideas about ONL to discuss. But I have refrained to add more for now, in case this is not really something important within the meeting framework.

    Cheers,
    Jose Fernandez-Triana, Ottawa, ON

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    I have already noticed quite a bit of crossover from online to real world chess. For the first time I had three adult students all who are coming from the online world and want to get into over the board chess. They decided to get coaching. Two of them want in person lessons so they are not taking lessons at the moment but often there is a desire to play "real" chess. Yes we will continue online chess as part of the CFC portfolio of events. We do have to do something and we are doing something about the online cheating which seems rampant compared to OTB.

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    Don Parakin has also indicated that we should now be able to have more than two rating systems, so eventually ONL could be a third rating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred McKim View Post
    Don Parakin has also indicated that we should now be able to have more than two rating systems, so eventually ONL could be a third rating.
    I never understood why we were limited to two in the first place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred McKim View Post
    Don Parakin has also indicated that we should now be able to have more than two rating systems, so eventually ONL could be a third rating.
    "now", yikes! We cannot have more than two with the current ratings app. The current app is based on a 20+ year old MS-Access database with an old file-format that Microsoft replaced in 2007. I wouldn't touch that old code with a 10-foot keyboard. Replacing the ratings system is something in the future, not "now". A pre-req before a rewrite can start is to stabilize the requirements: I'm reading a lot of posts lately talking about changes to the algorithm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir Drkulec View Post
    I never understood why we were limited to two in the first place.
    The major limitation was the website infrastucture was created for only two rating systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Parakin View Post
    "now", yikes! We cannot have more than two with the current ratings app. The current app is based on a 20+ year old MS-Access database with an old file-format that Microsoft replaced in 2007. I wouldn't touch that old code with a 10-foot keyboard. Replacing the ratings system is something in the future, not "now". A pre-req before a rewrite can start is to stabilize the requirements: I'm reading a lot of posts lately talking about changes to the algorithm.
    Now was a poor choice of words, sorry about that Don, I should say someday .... I indicated in my previous post the real limitation.

  9. #9

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    Simple proposal for online chess (from here on abbreviated as ONL) under CFC:

    1- Create a working group to study the subject of ONL under CFC and prepare a report for the CFC Executive. Eventually, if worth it, there might be a need to create a more permanent CFC commission for online chess.
    2- Such working group, in consultation with TDs (already organizing ONL CFC games) and other interested parties, should propose both short-term and long-term plans for ONL CFC. Short-term plans would cover ONL during the pandemic, long-term should cover ONL after the pandemic.
    3- Obviously short-term plans should be proposed asap, otherwise they would not be useful at all. Here I outline a VERY simple, short-term idea as an example of what could be done:
    a) ONL under CFC should be especially marketed to the audience that plays chess online in any of the many platforms available (e.g., Chess.com, Lichess, Chess24, FICS, ICC, etc.). This has the potential to attract a much larger membership than current CFC.
    b) How to sell the above? Well, for the prize of an annual CFC membership, players could participate in CFC-rated tournaments and get official (albeit online, not regular) ratings. This cannot be offered by the other chess platforms. This is the main selling point.
    c) Participation in ONL CFC tournaments would be much cheaper than regular OTB (cheaper as per entry fees, and zero travel and accommodation costs); and it would also be more flexible as per time to be committed (i.e., less time spent on a tournament, as there is no travel involved, and also usually it would be shorter time controls, see below). The CFC could even decide that new CFC members are gifted 5 or 10 free online CFC-rated games, as another selling point and initial marketing (to attract the crowd currently playing ONL in other platforms).
    d) ONL under CFC should not focus on material prizes but rather the love for chess and playing in a community such as CFC. Money prizes would be low or none at all (or alternatives such as a prize of “a free CFC membership for one year”). Low prices reduce the temptation to cheat. [Occasional, higher-profile tournaments, where more elite players would participate, would be the exemption].
    e) ONL under CFC would have shorter time controls than regular OTB, as online chess is more difficult to play under “traditional” long-time controls. The majority of the non-elite chess players online favour shorter rather than longer time controls. It also adds more competitive spirit (although certainly less accuracy and margin for mistakes). And it allows for more playing possibilities. [Again, as in the previous point, occasional higher-profile tournaments could have longer time controls, as exemptions].
    f) ONL under CFC would provide different tournaments throughout the year, perhaps starting with 2 tournaments/month (but ideally at least one tournament/week). Tournaments could include different formats and variations in time control (but mostly shorter time controls).
    g) Have some initial guidelines to deal with cheating (and make this topic an important part of the working group to study and deal with).
    h) Draw from the ONL experience already accumulated by several TDs from across the country. No need to reinvent the wheel. Only need is to get a minimum of a consensus and some initial marketing (beyond the local tournament, and instead aim for national scope and promotion of the tournaments: ONL can be played from ANY part of Canada and beyond!).
    i) Draw also from the experience that FIDE and other national/regional organizations have accumulated (e.g., check the free FIDE seminar about online chess; see how tournaments already played have worked; ask TDs with experience monitoring web cams, etc.).
    j) Do NOT wait until the pandemic is over to address ONL chess under CFC. If we cannot organize things now (even if only to a minimum) for CFC ONL while that is the only alternative, once OTB resumes ONL would become and afterthought and would not work on a longer term. That is why we need the short-plans implemented asap, and then working towards a longer vision for ONL under the CFC banner.

    More can be said and organized, the above are just some basic ideas...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jose Fernandez Triana View Post
    Simple proposal for online chess (from here on abbreviated as ONL) under CFC:
    Excellent suggestions. Online events should not stop once over the board chess is restarted.

    My understanding is that a lot of the FIDE official events include Zoom monitoring of players which can be intrusive but necessary especially when there are prizes involved and may be a bit labour intensive relative to a typical weekend swiss. Aris is working the Online Olympiad.

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