LatestChess :- Hello Mark, We are glad to have you on LatestChess. Could you please tell our readers about the 2009 SA Open Chess tournament? Did you face any problems while getting approval from FIDE for the online FIDE rated event?

Mark Levitt :- Thanks for the chance to chat to you! ChessCube does not normally sponsor chess events, but we were very interested to test the concept of multi-location events. When I was at the Fide Congress at Dresden 2008, I had the opportunity to propose the concept to Stewart Reuben. Stewart explained that it was not FIDE policy to rate Internet-based games. He raised a number of issues that we would have to deal with, such as FIDE-mandated arbiters at each venue; methods to deal with disconnections of players; server downtime; touch-move and mouse-slips, amongst many others. Nevertheless, Stewart was incredibly helpful and introduced us to the key people in FIDE that would advise us.

We also had to make a number of changes to our systems to ensure the success of this event. We changed a number of rules for these types of game, such as no automatic threefold repetition or 50-move-rule draws; a call arbiter button that logged the timestamp of any claim for all players and spectators to see; controls for arbiters to reset settings such as time during the game. FIDE would have preferred us to integrate into a sensory board such as the DGT system, but due to the lack of time we used a standard board next to a screen where the players first make the move on the board and then on the screen. In time trouble the players could switch to screen only. We also had a few helpers available, under the guidance of the arbiter, to make the moves for any players unwilling or unable to use the Internet system.

Ultimately FIDE agreed to rate the event, but they said that for now such an event can not be used for any FIDE norms.

LatestChess :- Do you see Online FIDE rated tournaments being played consistently in near future? It can save a lot of time and money, also thousands of players can participate from all over the world.

Mark Levitt :- While our event was a great success for us and the players, this was an exception for FIDE and not yet a new rule. We have collected a lot of information for FIDE in this event, in terms of the steps we took and how we dealt with key issues. We also will be making a number of new changes to our software systems to improve the administration of this type of event.

This was an experiment for FIDE and ChessCube, but I am not sure how quickly FIDE would authorise multi-location events. We would like to present our findings to FIDE and to cooperate with them to debate the final rules on this type of event. In my opinion it is inevitable that FIDE would eventually open the way for many such events – I am just not sure how quickly they would do it. I am hoping soon. The opportunity to save money on air travel is the driver of this type of event.

Here is the full interview.

Posted by Picasa
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
Tags: ,