How to Make Watching Chess More Fun

How to Make Watching Chess More Fun

NM CraiggoryC
Aug 19, 2016, 3:38 PM |

While I was eating a fish burrito for lunch (so So Cal), I got a text from a friend who is an 1800 USCF rated player himself. I had told him to check out the Sinquefield Cup coverage; that I had thought that it had a lot of very interesting games. His first response surprised me, "wow, so many draws!". And this is coming from an A-player, just imagine what the beginner or non-tournament player thinks.

Most chess players say things like this article, which says that chess is beautiful when you understand more about it. But there's a huge problem here, if someone thinks chess is boring until they get better, what would be their catalyst to get better?!

Right now baseball is going through a similar problem. The "traditionalists" (just think NMs and above in chess) scold the people that say that baseball is boring, by saying they just don't understand the beauty of the game. It's time that baseball and chess both got their acts together and made the game more accessible to beginners or would be beginners.

How to Make Watching Chess More Fun

  1. Have an Hour Long Option: Each round can have live coverage, which shows the whole 4-6 hours of chess along with live analysis and the whole deal. But there needs to be a produced (aka edited) version of the round that goes over all the exciting parts of the round and condensce this all into 1 hour. All the time scrambles, blunders, exclams, etc. should be included in this hour with analysis specific for the edited version of the round. This would make the game accessible to people that work on weekdays and don't have 4-6 hours of free time during the middle of a workday (aka a lot of beginners and/or chess lovers).
  2. Incentivize wins/Punish Draws With White: In order for the point system I'm about to promote, the tournament may have to be unrated. This is because the players care more about their ratings then winning the tournament. Having top level unrated tournaments will promote more enterprising chess, especially if they follow my proposed point system.

My Proposed Point System for Top Level Tournaments

Let's assume everything was set up like the 2016 Sinquefield Cup: 10 players. Time Control: 40/2 hours no increment or delay SD/1 hour +30 sec increment

  • The tournament starts with a blitz tournament. The winner gets to choose what schedule they get. You need this blitz tournament because some players will have 5 whites and 4 blacks, and some players will have vice versa.
  • A win with White or Black will get you 2 points.
  • A draw with White is worth 0 points whereas a draw with Black gets 1 point. This is the main difference!
  • A loss with either White or Black will get you 0 points

So as you can surmise from the above a draw with White is = to a loss with White. Which means that as White you might as well go full bore for that victory as that is the only way to add points to your score.

Please feel free to comment with any questions, suggestions, or just to tell my why you think my idea is awesome of if you think it sucks/is stupid. In the meantime you really should check out the Sinquefield Cup, it had many great games IMO. Hope you're having fun watching chess!