BOTW: 2020.05

Despite over-the-board chess events cancelled world-wide, there are still interesting chess to watch and play...

  • The "Magnus Carlsen Invitational" was an 8-player RR and knock-out rapid event hosted on chess24, April 18 - May 3, 2020. Carlsen had a few scares along the way -- including losing his mini-match with second-to-last Anish Giri -- but bet Ding Liren and Hikaru Nakamura to win the event. Chess24 had nine (!) live streams with GM commentators in different languages, including: Svidler and Grischuk (ENG), Fressinet (FRA), Gareev and Levitov (RUS), and Li Chao and Wang Yue (CHN). The English language stream was regularly visited by the players during their off days, so viewers could enjoy Carlsen commenting on Caruana, and vice versa.
  • Chess.com has increased the frequency of its "Titled Tuesdays" blitz tournaments from one per month to every Tuesday. If you are a titled player -- all the way down to National Master -- you can play for free, and will almost always be paired against IMs or GMs in early rounds.
  • May 5-10, 2020 FIDE and chess.com will run a $180,000 "Online Nations Cup", between six teams from Europe, Russia, China, India, USA, and a Rest of the World team. It is a double RR, followed by a Superfinal between the top two teams. Each team has 6 players, including two women. TC: 25 + 10. Players include: Anand, Caruana, Nakamura, So, Ding Liren, Wang Hao, Hou Yifan, MVL, Aronian, Nepomniatchi, Giri, Radjabov, Karjakin, and Firouzja.

 

Chess Streaming has Exploded during the Coronavirus lockdown. Most chess streams feature the streamer playing and talking about their games, as well as responding to text chat from viewers. Special events can include "Adoption matches" (where the higher-rated player aims to win 10 in a row),  and "hand and brain" (where games are played by teams of two, one (the brain) who names a type a piece, and the other (the hand) who choses which one of that type to move and where to move it).

Leading Canadian streamers are:

  • Chessbrahs (GMs Hansen and Hambleton, with many regular guests);
  • BotezLive (Alexandra and Andrea Botez, and Qiyu Zhou), online many hours a day;
  • FM Lefong Hua playing Banter Blitz on chess24 almost as often; and
  • bughouse specialist HelmsKnight
  • Other, less regular Canadian chess streamers include: Mark Plotkin (littlePlotkin), Omid Malek (omidmalek), and Dr. Elias Oussedik (regular guest on ChessBrah streams).

Hikaru Nakamura streams almost dailly now -- mostly blitz, but also PuzzleRush.

If you want to see how incredibly fast today's young GMs are, watch GM Ray Robson solving PuzzleRush: here he is solving 84 puzzles in 5 minutes -- unless you are an exceptional tactician you are likely to be unable to "see" the board before Ray has solved it and gone to the next one. He also reviews his mistakes online immediately after each attempt.