Agon Limits Carlsen-Karjakin Relays To Official Widget

Agon Limits Carlsen-Karjakin Relays To Official Widget

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Oct 18, 2016, 2:03 AM |
70 | Chess Event Coverage

In an attempt to distribute their product as widely as possible while restricting unauthorized world championship relays, Agon will be providing a widget for chess websites that want to broadcast the games from the upcoming world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin.

The release resembles a remarkable opening move by a somewhat inexperienced but creative chess player who tries to learn from previous mistakes. Agon, the company that holds the commercial rights to events in the world championship cycle, will be providing a widget for chess websites that want to relay the games of the Carlsen vs Karjakin match in real time.

The widget, which is basically a plugin that can be added to any website, will include a chess board, the actual moves, the clock times and analysis by an engine that will think up to 32 ply (half-moves) deep. 

The widget is part of an affiliate program. It will link to Agon's premium features (that includes a 360° virtual reality broadcast and multiple video feeds) which cost $15. Websites hosting the widget will receive a 10% commission for each user who upgrades to premium access.

"Our affiliate program is designed to make the championship match available for anyone to watch, for free, on their preferred choice of chess website," said Agon's Ilya Merenzon. 

"Secondly, when a user of any website that incorporates our widget chooses to upgrade to our premium pay-per-view broadcast product, that website will directly profit. And by including national chess federations in our affiliate program, we will be directly ploughing money back into the grassroots of chess around the world."

A sample widget, which will be available in different sizes and colors.
Chess.com intends to embed the widget on Chess.com/TV.

The widget is directly related to the turmoil which arose during the Candidates' Tournament in March. Back then, Agon surprised the chess world by announcing that the games would be shown exclusively on its website. Any website that transmitted the games live would face legal action.

Three major chess websites that decided to ignore Agon's threats (chessbomb.com, chess24.com and chessgames.com) are being sued. Agon is seeking 20 million rubles (€288.275 or $317,000) in damages from each of the sites. 

"The next hearing for Chess24 is later this month, and for Chessgames and Chessbomb, the hearings are January and February respectively," said Agon's Director of Communications, Andrew Murray-Watson, to Chess.com.

By using the widget, chess sites will be able to relay the moves of the games in real-time without violating Agon's terms—whether these are valid or not.

"What we are doing has never been attempted before in the chess world. It is a revolutionary approach and I am sure we will probably make some mistakes in its implementation before we are finished," Merenzon wrote in an open letter on WorldChess.com.

Time will tell if the widget will be part of a commercially successful world championship.


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