How the Internet has changed chess: Part 5
Today's topic is the speeding up of chess. This movement actually started before the Internet in an effort to make chess a spectator sport. Success in this endeavor has been mild to say the least. FIDE has allowed rated time controls faster than the old 40 moves in 2 1/2 hours, then 16 moves an hour with an adjournment every five hours. In the 1990s the USCF started a quick rating system for time controls under 30 minutes. Grandmasters Yasser Seirawan and Walter Browne start of the World Rapid Chess and World Blitz Associations with their own ratings systems. Two common forms of blitz chess in the old days were five-minute chess and 10 second chess, with the latter allowing you no more than 10 seconds for any move.
When the Internet came along blitz chess was a natural product because of digital timekeeping. It was discovered players could cheat by using a chess engine in the five-minute games. So the time control of three minutes became extremely popular to thwart the cheaters. Naturally one minute chess was born as well.
The largest standard chess league on the Internet is the Team 4545 League at ICC. It was conceived by a member named knightrunner who named it the 60 60 League. It started every Saturday at 3 PM Eastern time with a few players. What they found was this time control was difficult for players in Europe, they stayed up too late. So it was shortened to 45 45. As the league grew in popularity the 3 PM start time was replaced with player negotiations. Doing pairings manually in real events ceased with the advent of computer programs that can do it in an instant. Yet the leaders of standard time control events went back to the stone age to run their events. knightrunner had created a realistic time control, but other administrators changed things around. They were so close to initiating what I have created. If they thought of it they didn't use it. Instead, the trend of shortening chess continued and few, if anyone, noticed. Internet standard chess should replicate real over-the-board tournament time controls. Any chess server can run an automated blitz tournament and the run time will accommodate anyone who is awake during the event. Standard time control events that last more than one round run into that time zone problem. The STC bunch frequently ran a 45 5 event on Sundays about 1 PM. This time control is even faster than 45 45! They also scheduled weekly events to be held on their sister chess servers with various time controls but no consistent duration. Again these events required a whole lot of paperwork and effort by both unpaid volunteers, and the players. I played 35 games in this league with a record of 13 wins, 9 losses, and 13 draws. In addition I received four nuisance forfeit wins from opponents who did not show up. My record is about normal as I usually played someone near my rating. Personally, I find this time control a bit too quick for my liking and it's not what I'm accustomed to. As already noted 45 45 does not compare well with real over the board tournaments which you may enter near your homes. I would prefer to use 90 30 every start time, but understand some crossovers of time zones will exist and affect people who will be playing on weeknights. Hence 75 30 on weeknights.
I believe my time controls give chess.com a heads up over the competition. My concepts of entering every time you want to play, and getting a new opponent if yours doesn't show up cement the fact this group is the best opportunity for you to play and improve your standard chess on the Internet. My finger notes at ICC say “You may beat a titled player at blitz or bullet but after the game he still has his title, and you don't”. Titles are earned by playing slow standard time controls. The slower the game is, the better for you to learn.
Now 45 45 is not as bad as I make it out to be. It is popular. If you want a game that will only last you about two hours, Dan Heisman’s group runs plenty of these events. After having made 151 games analysis videos for Team 4545 league I can say the chief reason people lose is because they play too quick as many games last one hour or less. Perhaps Team 45 45 Leaugue’s popularity chiefly rests in that it is the one that has been the most promoted. Well my goal is It won't be for long. it should be interesting to see where my new chess group takes us. But regardless, between Dan's group and mine a heck of a lot of standard chess is going to be played at chess.com. Together we have, as stated, sought to get more standard chess play occurring on this site. I also noted, I know how to do it after we have proved to chess.com there is sufficient demand. The answer is simple and is staring us right in the face, borrowing from my concepts. Chess.com simply would run automated one round tournaments every several hours at a time control of 90 30. There doesn't need to be a tournament winner, there needs to be a real game of chess played. Automated tournaments can cover more time zones than I and my unpaid volunteers can do. Automated tournaments eliminates all the paperwork and effort currently put out by the volunteers. Automated tournaments will result in more standard chess played at chess.com, and we are finding the members among the 7 million that belong here to fill the demand. Our groups can then focus more on instructional facets of chess rather than administrative details. If you play in our events you will help everyone.
Join my group here, and get out your chess set!