Berkeley International Full Broadcast Coverage

  • IM dpruess
  • on 12/24/10, 12:50 AM.

2011 will kick off immediately with what may be the best week of broadcast chess entertainment of the year. Starting with two three-hour broadcasts on January second, the entire 10-round 4th Berkeley International Chess Tournament will have live streaming video coverage. This tournament promises to be one of the most exciting of the year in the U.S., with an incredible all-star field (more on that below), and the broadcasts themselves should be an extremely exciting product, with a set of terrific guest hosts (more on them below), fast-paced coverage of a host of exciting games, post-game interviews with the players, with their thoughts on their game, and the competition. Most likely, few people will be free to watch every single show live, so all broadcasts will also be saved and available to those buying the coverage package to be viewed (and re-viewed) later at their convenience.

First let me present the format of the event:

It is a 10-round swiss system with about 60 players. The players compete for a prize fund of 7,500 U.S.D. with the basic chess scoring system of 1 point for a win, 1/2 point for a draw, and shame for a loss. There will be another very important competition going on at the same time as the competition for prizes: the fight for norms. There are not many tournaments in the U.S. where players have a chance to compete for title norms, because norms must be earned against an international field. The Berkeley International has over 20 foreigners and 10 International Grandmasters, making it a great opportunity for contestants to work towards International Master or International Grandmaster Titles.

Next, consider the exciting field:

GM Loek van Wely: won the Dutch Championship 6 years in a row, and is a former member of the world top 10. Recently he has started competing in some of the U.S.'s monster swisses, winning for example the 2010 Chicago Open.

GM Timur Gareev: became a Grandmaster at age 16, and has tied for first in the Uzbek national championship. Since becoming a student at University of Texas Brownsville, he has a number of smashing American successes to his name, like the 2009 and 2010 Copperstate Internationals and the 2010 National Open. An unfettered and imaginative player, Timur is a definite candidate for brilliancy prizes as well as tournament victories.

GM Robert Hess: Hess has fulfilled essentially every accomplishment a young player in this country could hope to achieve and much more, in particular, his completely stunning tie for second place in the 2009 US Championship. A player who tends to be very difficult for first timers to face off against, with the majority of his GM competitors here being of non-US descent, his mysteriousness could end up paying dividends against this tough field.

GM Sergey Erenburg: The Israeli GM has studied at UMBC for the past five years, and is mostly known in the U.S. for his incredible play in the US Chess League as top gun for the Baltimore Kingfishers. As his studies keep him too busy to compete in many American events, eschewing most aside from the Pan American Collegiate Championships, this will be one of the very few major events where he can be seen in action.

GM Davorin Kuljasevic: Originally from Croatia, he has studied in the US for the last five years, just recently completing the requirements for his GM title. Though he doesn’t tend to compete in many American Tournaments either, he showed his mettle by leading the Dallas Destiny to US Chess League Championships in both 2007 and 2008, and is a very solid player who is tough for anyone to beat.

GM Magesh Panchanathan: Another UTD graduate, Magesh has several impressive tournament wins in the US, including tieing for first in the 2006 World Open. While much of his time is taken up by teaching these days, he is a very dangerous player who, when he hits a good stride, can win almost any tournament.

GM Dejan Bojkov: He has won the Bulgarian National Championship, and will be kicking off his first American campaign at the Berkeley International. He is also a gifted chess writer, with an exceptional blog, and a variety of online lessons through

GM Jesse Kraai: While Jesse can be the life of any party, his skills on the board can never be underestimated. While his slow, patient style can often confound those who feel that it doesn’t match his personality, he certainly makes it work, including a great performance at the 2010 US Championship, where he was within striking distance of making the final four quad.

GM Josh Friedel: Affectionately nicknamed “The Panda”, the playful attitude he shows on his weekly program should not fool anyone as to his strength, as he has finished in the Top 10 in the US Championship several times. Recent winner of the American Open and having won the North American Open in 2009, it seems these winter months may be when he hits his stride which will make him someone to watch out for in this event.

GM Anatoly Bykhovsky: A complete newcomer to the US Chess Scene having only moved here in August to attend Texas Tech, Bykhovsky showed in his first major tournament, the Spice Cup, that he’s someone to watch out for, tying for first place in a very tough field.

IM Sam Shankland: has two Grandmaster norms, and has reached a 2500 rating before. After missing out on his final GM norm on a couple of technicalities, his priority will be to try to get that last qualification he needs to become a GM. He has proven time and again that he is of GM level now, tying for first in the world under 18 championships, and leading the Nor'Easters (on first board, against a host of top Grandmasters) to the 2010 US Chess League Championship.

IM Lev Milman: While life on Wall Street keeps Milman’s chess activity to a minimum, he can not be discounted, having had so many great finishes and having beaten so many strong players over the years. He has been painfully close to receiving his GM title several times, having two norms for a long time, but having missed the third by the narrowest of margins several times and would certainly love to finish the title in Berkeley.

IM Siddharth Ravichandran: A relative newcomer to US chess, Ravichandran has competed in many US events and displayed several very strong finishes, nearly making a GM norm at the 2010 Copper State International. Despite having just completed his IM title, his current strength probably encourages him to immediately aim for the GM upgrade.

IM Sam Collins: As first board for the Irish team, he caused a stir at the 2010 Olympiad when he drew with GM Grischuk in the first round. He subsequently narrowly missed his third and final GM norm, and will surely be aiming for it at this event.

FM Daniel Naroditsky: Daniel has a sufficient fide rating to already be an IM, he just needs to earn another norm. But at his level, he will probably just aim higher than that in every tournament he plays now, and the norm will fall into place while he heads towards Grandmaster. Daniel has won the world under 12 championships, and has already written an excellent textbook on positional chess.

FM Darwin Yang: The nation's highest rated 13-year old has two IM norms, and is looking in great shape as he quests to complete the title. He earned a second norm at the SPICE Cup in October, and should continue his streak in Berkeley.

IM Steven Zierk: Steven shocked everyone in the world when he earned his IM title... by winning the world under 18 championships in 2010! Since then, expectations for this young man have skyrocketed, with some rumors that he intends to become a GM by the time he graduates high school in June. Well, he'll have to make a GM norm in Berkeley if he hopes to achieve that goal.

IM Daniel Rensch: Recently-turned-IM, but not sated, Rensch ambitiously aims to gradually improve his game until he becomes a GM, despite contributing most of his time and energy to the greater chess community through his job as Director of Content and Professional Relations at

IM David Pruess: co-organizer of the tournament, writer of this advertisement, and referring to himself in the third person, IM Pruess has no illusions about winning the tournament or becoming a GM, but expects that many chess fans will be interested to see some of the sharp games he will produce at the tournament. He will try to compete for the brilliancy prize.

WFM Tatev Abrahamyan: Undisputedly one of the strongest female chess-players in the country, Abrahamyan has shown marked improvement over the past year. She scored her first IM norm at the 2010 Chicago Open and followed up by tieing for second in the 2010 US Women’s Championship with an incredible seven and a half out of nine. Though easily much stronger than her title would suggest, Abrahamyan’s current goal is the IM title, not bothering to apply for the women’s titles (WIM, WGM) that she feels are unimportant.

NM Yian Liou: at 13, he is one of the nation's top young talents, having taken first place in the U.S. Cadet (under 16) championships this past summer. Yian is in very close striking distance of making the Fide Master title, and has a fair chance to make the rating points he needs at this tournament, though he will have to balance it with his first week of school!

NM Kayden Troff: he caused a sensation when he almost won the world u12 championships in Greece in October, finishing second. His sudden rapid rise in strength has people watching to see if he is ready to make an IM norm.

NM Daniel Gurevich: like Kayden, at only twelve years old, Daniel is showing signs in his recent results that he may already be prepared to work on the jump from NM to IM.

There are too many terrific players for me to list every single one. I may have missed your favorite! In which case, I apologize. Check here to see *all* participants.

And our also-very-exciting lineup of hosts for the broadcasts:

Greg Shahade is an international master, and the most innovative chess organizer in the United States over the past decade, founding the New York Masters tournaments, the US Chess League, and the US Chess School.

Jay is co-founder and CTO of, the coder who built the majority of the pages you use on the site every day, and an avid chess fan.

Roger Poehlman is a national master and renowned local chess teacher for the Berkeley Chess School. He will himself be playing some rounds to keep the number of players even.

Vinay Bhat is an International Grandmaster and former columnist for As a winner of the Samford Fellowship, he spent two years traveling the world as a chess professional.

Erik is cofounder and CEO of, whose love of chess lead him to envision the most expansive chess site in the world with social networking and myriad learning tools.

The round times (in pacific) are:

January 2nd: 11 am & 6 pm

January 3rd: 11 am & 6 pm

January 4th:  11 am & 6 pm

January 5th: 4 pm

January 6th: 4 pm

January 7th: 11 am

January 8th: 10 am

For each round, the live broadcast will start 1:15 into the round, and go for at least three hours. This is over 30 hours of exciting chess coverage, with celebrity hosts, and chess stars stopping in to give you their candid thoughts in the heat of battle, and answer your questions. For a package price of 40$, this is about 1$ per hour! To purchase the full coverage package, transfer by paypal to the tournament organizer, Arun Sharma. (use the address asharmaATmathDOTberkeleyDOTedu).

The first round will be shown at for ANYONE. To watch you do not need to purchase the package, or have a premium membership. Just go to the url and enjoy. Then pick up your computer, dial, and buy the package to watch the rest of the show! Hurry, as the number of viewers for the broadcasts of rounds 2-10 is strictly limited.

Of course, if you are lucky enough to live within the Bay Area, you are welcome to come down and watch live at the Berkeley Chess School.

If, as we sincerely hope, this coverage is a great success, we will try to bring it to a selection of the most exciting chess events of the year around the country. Any tournament organizer reading this, please get in touch with David Pruess if you are anxious to get this organized for your event.

9727 reads 56 comments
5 votes


  • 6 years ago


    Has anyone gotten information abotu how to view the later ronds yet (the message from Arun/IM Pruess)? I submitted payment a few days ago and haven't heard anything back. I figure it's probably just that they're very busy with the tournament starting today, but having never actually used PayPal before, I wanted to make sure there isn't some other thing I need to do or something that I've done wrong...

  • 6 years ago


    Is there anywhere to see all the results?

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    awesome, starts tomorrow. flurry of busy-ness today!!!

    i'm sure you'll love it :-)

  • 6 years ago


    Really looking forward to this , Thanks for the post Dpruess

  • 6 years ago


    Come on Collins, Bojkov,Rensch and Pruess!!!! Hopefully Collins can get his last GM norm, he should have got it at the olympiad, if he'd only drawn his last game,what a game against Grishuk though!!!

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    hehe, yeah, definitely. there is a loose end here or there, but not something that major.

  • 6 years ago


    Of course I trusted you guys. It was more of a question of how far ahead you'd thought, especially considering that with organizing the tournament, I'm sure there's a lot to keep track of. I figured you did have a plan, I just wanted to make sure. :)

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    hey wandering, of course you'll get the broadcasts for rounds 2-10 in return! you know to trust me :)

    yes, it'll be through another channel instead of the channel and either Arun or myself will send you a message with instructions for how to access it. if once you have those instructions you are unable to access it, we'll return your $$. i see no reason why there would be any technical issue that would keep you from accessing it, but just in case, i'm letting you know, we wouldn't take your money for nothing.

  • 6 years ago


    How will the rest of the rounds (after the first) be broadcast? On If so, you'd need some way to limit who's watching. Come to think of it, how are you going to know who's paid you guys for this privilege at all? I assume it's probably going to be through some different livestream channel where you can limit the access through some kind of account or password, and somehow you'll communicate that to those who pay, but I'd like to know a little more before I'm going to dish out any cash.

    I mean, I'd love to just wire Arun some money, but it's not a financially viable option for me right now if I'm not getting something in return. :)

  • 6 years ago


    We've got to be able to get a better deal on bandwidth.  Doesn't someone have a contact high up with Verizon FIOS or something.

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    if that happens, it'll mean everyone was too scared to play 1...e5 against me ;-)

  • 6 years ago


    I'm not sure if David wants it to be known, but I remember the cost for them to broadcast the World Championship last year when they went over bandwidth was something outrageous like $250/hr. Yearly diamond membership just doesn't really cover those kind of costs.

    I'll be very upset if I don't get to see a King's Gambit in this tournament too, David!!!

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    i feel there are already plenty of incentives to upgrade to diamond, and it's much simpler to just keep this product separate. also note that it's not selling this, it's the tournament organization. (but the first round will be shown on

  • 6 years ago


    It is just an ICC membership does free tournament broadcasting for paying members.

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    Looking forward to it!

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    thanks for the warning, Behemoth, I've fixed it.

    everyone, i'm happy to see the positive comments!

    as far as diamond membership giving these kind of programmes-- it never will. our desire to keep the yearly diamond membership cheap means that it will never cost enough to cover the costs associated with this kind of live on-site coverage, with hosts, player interviews, and then the bandwidth cost of streaming the whole thing over the internet. the cost of a tournament package like this is going to have to fall somewhere between 30 and 50$, and will have to always fall outside of memberships.

    experience may correct my estimations, but i'm guessing that in general the first round will always be free, as a way of letting more new people get to know the product. so if the whole idea works out, that means a fair number of incredible quality free shows, even for those who can't afford it. also, if successful, one of the points of these is to generate some revenue for the tournament organizer, thus bolstering what they can provide the professionals in their events. so everyone will benefit from it working out.

    "How do I do it?" you use paypal to send 40$ to the address above. then you'll receive the information you need to log in to rounds 2 through 10.

    any further questions? please, feel free to contact me!

  • 6 years ago


    The link at the head of the article doesn't work, David.


    Where can I watch the games live?  I mean, not over video.  I won't meow, I promise!

    P.S.  I almost wanted to post an apology now that I see it's in the Berkeley Chess School.  But their website doesn't say where it is physically, so my question stands Frown

  • 6 years ago


    What? Don't you have enough pull to get the Hammer to fly for 36 hours to play? Seriously though this looks like fun. Can't wait to see how the commentating looks. Live people will be so much better than disembodied voices.
  • 6 years ago


    oh my god iv just noticed Sam Collins is playing :O wooooooooooooott i never new awsome.. reprezentin lol... was a savage game where he drew against david at the olimpiad.. i cant wait for this tourney :D

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