FIDE 2016 Candidates Coverage First Impressions --- What Were They Thinking??

FIDE 2016 Candidates Coverage First Impressions --- What Were They Thinking??


[Blog History]


   Like many others, I was looking forward to the 2016 Candidates Tournament with high hopes of being entertained by witty commentators, interviews with the players, and some really good chess games.


   It was 4:30 am when I got myself some breakfast, a cold drink on an unusually warm March morning, and nestled in for what I figured would be at least 3-4 hours of chess action. Boy were my expectations *way* too high 'cause what I got was the total opposite. I found myself extremely annoyed and more than mildly irritated...and this was only the first round!


   I usually don't publicly flagellate tournaments or the coverage broadcasted because I know how much work goes into organizing it, but the taste in my mouth after Day 1 is overpoweringly sour, so let the flagellation begin.


   It wasn't till maybe 30 minutes after the broadcast began that, for the first time, I actually found myself watching chess. Why 30 minutes you ask, your curiousity piqued? Because that's how long it took for the commentary team, and whoever was directing the whole shebang, to switch their focus to it!


   After countless sponsor commercials *cough* BMW *cough*, player bios done in redundant, mediocre whiteboard artwork in time lapse, close-ups of the commentators, and many POINTLESS breaks for more commercials and interviews, I was finally able to see the chess players, their games and mannerisms. That's when I was very happy, BUT that happiness lasted all of five or so minutes because the perpetual "ferris wheel" ride of commentators, whiteboard, quizzes and nonsense ensued--again.


   After about 2.5 hours of this, we got maybe 45 or so combined minutes of chess play? If that?? Am I being too generous with that estimation??? After AGON put the kibosh on any other site for coverage and game relay, viewers were stuck watching sub-par coverage of mostly the commentary team (I wasn't impressed), BS interviews and interruptions.


   That pushed me to Chessbase to see some real-time reactions to this atrocity. Below is a taste of what I found:


Interview with an organizer, some random quiz, two player profile videos, a car commercial, another player profile video, interview with Boris Gelfand... I like Gelfand, but uhm... can we get to the candidates tournament please? 30 minutes into the stream and they're finally talking about the games. Hurray.


Too bad I can't watch it as usual on chessbase with nice boards, my own engine analysis, watching cloud analysis of supercomputers, and chat. 

Instead worldchess has improved on their London disaster pieces (where rook and bishop looked the same), but it is still "free app" crap quality graphics, no engine analysis (except some indicator from result of a 4th rate engine on a slow computer). And all this is not available for free, you have to give them your email, which they probably sell to spam organizations. And all this crap that worldchess offers is NOT EVEN AVAILABLE as their server is of course overloaded. 

I guess we'll have to revert to the good old days where you read the results the next day in the newspaper, at least in Agon/FIDE events. Incomprehensible incompetence/stupidity/maliciousness, maybe all 3.


So far, the tournament website, quality of report, quality of analysis, etc 

is a total disaster and embarrassment. The site freezes, is slow, commentaries 
borig and in poor english hard to understand. Shame on FIDE to harm chess 
so harshly.


   Nice huh? And believe me there were more. I haven't looked at the first day's report just yet, but honestly, I don't think my stomach can take it.


   Coverage of Day 1 of the Candidates was a travesty in many ways. I never, ever remember a major tournament--especially a Candidates Tournament--being such a media circus with Twitter quizzes, extended silly interviews, BMW car commercial saturation and very little time, effort or importance put on the reason why the tournament is held in the first place: to watch stellar Chess! Who would've thought? If Agon and associates think they're capitalizing on the expected mass viewership, I'd say they're sorely mistaken. If anything, they're not just turning off the viewers, but the viewers will turn them off!


   So, tell me--did you watch any of this nonsense? What did you think?