Botez-Demchenko, 2020

The Covid lockdown has (temporariliy?) ended OTB chess events, but there has been a big boom in online chess events. In fact, there has been such an explosion that it has been possible to watch World Champion Magnus Carlsen playing almost every day in tournaments between April 18 to June 3, 2020!

While no one under 2700 gets invited to marquee events like the Magnus Carlsen Tour, or the Chessbrah Invitational, or the Steinitz Memorial, or the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge, there are plenty of other online events to play, including hourly tournaments for all-comers on the free lichess, and the not-free chess.com.

Clearly, enterprising chess promoters have decided that there is a rare oppotunity here to raise the profile of the game.

In addition to the Chessbrah Invitational, WFM Alexandra Botez has been hosting weekly matches between women players, with a large part of the proceeds (including donations from online viewers) going to support US Women's Chess. Previously, she had played two matches against WGM Qiyu Zhou, and in April she played a first-to-ten match against WIM Svitlana Demchenko, withe live commentary by WGM Jen Shahade (see photo). The match was both for fun and charity, but also served as an unofficial proxy for the 2020 Canadian Women's Zonal, which both players had entered before it was cancelled due to the lockdown. 

Alex streams almost daily -- currently with her sister Andrea from the family home in Oregon -- but this was Svitlana's first time playing in front of a camera. After the match I asked Svitlana how it went, and she said: "it went really well, raised $830 for US girls chess".  No mention of the score of the match, just what it did to help chess.  :)

The games, fully annotated, are below.

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