Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Dortmund's Folly?

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The Dortmund supertournament starts today. They have already made news by canceling live internet broadcasting of the games. Chess fans have been spoiled by free live broadcasts at a wide variety of locations for years. Far more people watch rebroadcasts at Playchess.com and the ICC than at the official sites. It would almost be nice if they could reserve rights to the broadcast of moves and use these for sponsorship, but they can't.

Free broadcasts provide general PR for the event, but little or nothing for the sponsors of the event, unless, as in Linares and Dortmund, the town itself is one of the sponsors and name recognition is a factor. Two-thirds of international news entries containing "Dortmund" are about the big Borussia Dortmund football team. And only bullfight fanatics knew about Linares.

Unless the organizers feel they are gaining something from a live broadcast, why pay for one? Well, the costs are minimal (zero, since Playchess would do it) and goodwill in the chess community is a pretty good reason, you would think. The reason they gave for the cancelation, to attract more visitors to the tournament, sounds ridiculous. The games are available online right after the round. Do they think people are so excited at the prospect of watching live chess they will leave their homes and go to Dortmund when they can't watch live online? Maybe a few dozen people who live in the area would do this, tops. Nobody is coming from abroad based on this change, especially since they announced it just days before the first round.

The rest of the world will be annoyed, and will realize that waiting a few hours to see the games isn't a tragedy. Most fans never watch live anyway, but they are the most dedicated, passionate group around. You want to keep them happy and leverage that passion, not flush it. It would be nice to see a flood of spectators at any chess event, of course. But throwing away a live online crowd of five to ten thousand people so casually is foolish.

To think "other sites steal the broadcast so we'll pack up our pieces and go home" is small-minded. But if you're not interested in goodwill and PR, it's not at all clear why you should pay for a broadcast. And nobody else will pay real money for the rights since other sites will just take the moves you show for free. Adding value with commentary and multimedia will attract viewers to your broadcast, but then it starts to cost real money. Of course the ICC and Playchess should still be happy to show the games at their own expense, so the Dortmund folks may actually be serious about believing this will increase tourism.

So, coming around to explaining the question mark in the title, why SHOULD Dortmund have a live broadcast? Are 10 more spectators in the tournament hall worth more than 10,000 online? Remember that most of them aren't watching at the Dortmund website.


It is also a loss of learning experience for the fans and chess students, who analyze lines on the chess server

This is reminischent of last week's Dortmund item where the blogmeister, irritated that the Dortmund organizers hadn't responded to his inquiries, retaliated by "whimsically" insinuating that they had rigged the pairings in favor of Kramnik, Leko, and the local player. Hey...if it got their attention it was worth it.

Today, evidently irritated that the Dortmund organizers will not be broadcasting their tournament live on Playchess.com (or ICC), the blogmeister retaliates by calling them or their conduct "foolish," "small-minded," and "ridiculous." Do we really need to keep bashing tournament organizers? Let's just all agree that the Dortmund organizers, who conduct one of the world's great tournaments every year, are foolish, small-minded and ridiculous, and move on.

I'll miss the Sofia rules. The San Luis invitees may conserve their energy and keep their powder dry, leaving the field open for Kramnik--if he can get himself together.

I'll make the troll happy. Christ, you are a JACKASS, Koster. I'm criticizing their behavior, which, of course, you aren't even interested in. Everything is personal to you so you pretend that is the case with everyone else. Of course I'm irritated. But I explained WHY. And I encouraged a conversation about whether or not their ACTIONS are right or wrong. That doesn't mean it's personal or that the criticism isn't valid. Or is everyone who is disappointed with this and says so "retaliating"? I'm not even sure it's such a bad idea, although I'd be interested in proof otherwise.

Is everything they do perfect and marvelous and above criticism? When acirce and others, in the last Dortmund thread, brought up the cancelation of the broadcast, saying it was "stupid" among other things, where were you to defend why it's a good idea? Whom were they retaliating against? Acirce hates Dortmund? What did they do to him? Where are your ideas now? No, you don't think at all. You don't look at the issues at all. You put your head firmly up your ass and say I'm "bashing." I've run enough event websites to know they are made better by feedback and public debate. This is a very relevant debate and your trying to make it personal is idiotic.

What a kiss-ass you are. Everything is perfect all around the world, apparently. (Unless I say it's good, in which case it is bad. Curious.) Even more pathetically, you took the remarks out of context. The "small-minded" didn't even refer to Dortmund. "Ridiculous" referred to their given pretext. And if I think something is foolish, I say so.

Troll feeding time is over, but I'm sure the scavengers will come quickly to try and make sure nobody can actually discuss the real issue. We would all like live broadcasts. What argument can we present, what action can we take, to convince the Dortmund organizers it's a good idea?

I side with Mig on this.Instead of trying to read between lines and attach motives to his writings all the times why don't you throw some new light and show their(Dotrumund) decision helps anybody anyway.When Linares,Sofia,WAZ etc.. were being played I used to look into different links several times a day even in working days.There will certainly be many more thousands who do the same.Is it a wise strategy to nourish this enthu or to perish it.

I'm very angry. And, unlike most of the 10,000 online spectators, I could actually travel to Dortmund as it's not far from where I live, but I won't. Nor will I in any of the coming years as long as these "foolish, small-minded and ridiculous" organizers are in charge.

Also, I want to know how the players think about the exclusion of most of their fans. Kramnik is supposed to be close to the organizers (and to have clout with them), so if he is d'accord with this decision, this will be the last straw for me. If this is how he cares about his fans, I'm not going to support him any longer.

Gerd Kolbe is now fully qualified to serve as mayor of Schilda (a town famous for the...intelligence of its inhabitans). His declarations are certainly worthy of a Mohammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, so he might also consider to work as spokesman for Saddam. Without any doubt he is up to the job...

If the Dortmund organizers can attract a decent sized audience at the tournament site, then I can appreciate their intent and actions. I haven't seen any pictures of the spectator galleries or seating areas during round 1 so I can't comment on the effect of the policy. I remember looking at a picture of a tournament day at this year's Linares (I think that's the tournament) and feeling sad that I only saw three guys sitting and watching.
When the US Championships were in Seattle for 2000, 2002, and 2003, I remember going to Town Hall or Seattle Center NW Rooms to catch the ongoing endgames on weekdays, and watch the whole games on weekends. I remember there being many fans packed in the seats as well as the commentary room for '02 and '03. Again, if Dortmund can increase the ticket sales by a large margin, it looks less a lot better. But I don't know if that really effects anyone's bottom line by a significant amount.
As for someone following international S-GM tournaments far away, the decision by Dortmund this year was depressing. Like pavani, I would check websites on the progress of games on working days, and on weekends, I would wake up early morning and follow the games on a chess server. It's not like I'm going to purchase airfare and hotel and put in for vacation just to watch a few chess games in person. I don't think Dortmund was counting on people like me, for sure, but still, I have a feeling they thought someone from Vienna, Austria might drive over. (I'm totally pulling that out of my butt, I have no idea where Vienna is in relation to Dortmund.) I don't think they're gonna pull enough people from that far away to justify their rationale. But I'll wait and see when someone reports on the attendance.
Totally off-topic for VesTop fans: you just knew that was going to happen, right. When I saw the pairings for this tourney, I knew that was bad news. Even though Topa flipped Adams in Linares and MTel, I still shuddered at the prospect of today's game. And we've discussed the pairings controversy in the other thread, so I don't want to get into intent, motivations, or conspiracy. But speaking as a fan of Topalov, and someone who kind of roots against Kramnik, Leko, and Adams, it just annoys me that they all got 5 Whites. I'm not saying anybody rigged anything, I'm just saying I'm distressed. Maybe I'm just being emotional here; I'll calm down now.

We had similiar problem with Men's European Championship. There was live transmission (from 50 boards!)but in format which couldn't be "picked up" by playchess. So you could watch it only from official site with all the names of sponsors on it. Actually the organizers were irritated by this practice of "stealing" transmissions by playchess and wanted to attract as many observers as possible to their official site. I tried to argue with them explaining that retransmissions by playchess or ICC means actually even more visitors to their site, checking results, pairings, pictures etc. But I'm not so sure myself.
No live broadcast from Dortmund is another matter. It's ridiculous indeed.

One wonders why Greg Koster even bothers to read this blog, since his virulent hatred of "the blogmaster" is apparent in every word he writes.

One gets the feeling that he expects this to be a cheerleading site, where tournament organizers are cheered for their every decision, regardless of what it happens to be.

Wake up. This is a blog. Mig is critical (sometimes over-critical) and opinionated. This is not a bad thing. It encourages discourse and debate.

As for the topic itself -- who are the tournament organizers beholden to anyway? Are they serving moneyed interests that want to see Dortmund promoted at any cost?

The decision of whether to broadcast the event live or not depends entirely on their motivation for funding the event in the first place.

Dortmund? Is there a chess thingy going on there? Honestly, no live broadcast is really a shame. As mentioned above, I like getting up early on the weekends, watching games on playchess with chess.fm on in the background & a pot of coffee. To heck with the official site, I'll just wait for the next issue of New in Chess.

Live internet broadcasts are part of what brought me back to enjoying chess. There is a lot to learn watching a game when you can use an analysis board at the same time, listen to GM commentary, and see how long the best in the world are taking for each move. All without flying halfway around the world. Just for that, I'm not even going to bother with the official site. TWIC will have the games up soon enough.

if a pawn falls in the woods...

Support for chess events has always been done for the love of the game and also to help preserve a truly intellectual tradition. At some points, there were some ulterior motivations, political, publicity, or otherwise but they did not last... The main thing in supporting an event of this kind, should be to provide an arena for the game so that the top players and the chess-playing public may continue and extend the tradition. In this sense, the Dortmund organizers are wrong in not sharing the signal. On the other hand, let's say the organizers view Chessbase and ICC as for-profit operations: well, the fact is that they are paid enough for all the work they do in favor of chess promotion in so many different ways... The organizers are in effect privatizing what is normally a world-wide festivity for the chess-playing community, which is most regrettable.

Correction: I meant to say those servers are not paid well enough given the importance of the services they provide, which, BTW, should be the topic of further study.

Watching the live Linares coverage on FICS and the M-Tel coverage on chessgames.com are two of my fondest chess memories [My infection dates back to under a year, still]. The word 'outrage' comes to mind, and is soon replaced by something milder, which eludes me.

It seems like the Dortmund organizers are using the same logic as the NFL does here in the US with its ridiculous "Blackout" rule.

Oh God... worst of all is sonething I've noticed after looking at the games -- this is interesting chess I'm missing! Would Leko please get back to doing the draw thing so's I'm not missing as much?

'Something', of course, not 'Sonething'.

I live in Australia, I'm never likely to travel to WAZ, Linares or Dortmund to watch chess. I don't see any players from the top 20 comming to Australia to play either. I watch games on the internet. I get up at odd hours of the morning to watch games and wade through crap comments so that I can read comments/analysis from players that I can learn from.

For me, the Dortmund organisers have mad a mistake.

Mig, It's about time you gave Greg both barrels. :-)

It would be wonderful, but odd indeed if the primary purpose of the great annual Dortmund chess tournament was to promote chess worldwide. The money to fund the Dortmund 2005 tournament is surely not coming from admissions fees paid by chess spectators. Nor, evidently, have the tournament organizers received any financial benefit from the internet transmission of the games. Rather, the funds for the tournament, in all likelihood, come directly or indirectly from merchants and citizens associated with the city of Dortmund. Dortmund puts up the cash and receives, in return, tourists (hopefully) and publicity for their city and sponsors. The grandmasters receive appearance fees and prize money. And the chess public receives, later in the day, the games.

Is ending internet access to the tournament in order to attract more individuals to the city of Dortmund “ridiculous?” For throwing away 10,000 potential internet chess viewers are the Dortmund organizers “foolish?” Why should the folks who fund the Dortmund tournament care about us 10,000 chess nerds bent over our computers all over the globe? What benefit do they get from us? On the other hand, every tourist who visits the tournament, stays in a hotel, and dines at their restaurants brings in cash to their economy. They kicked in the money for the tournament; they’re entitled to some return for it. If they think more people will visit if real-time internet is turned off, they're surely in a better position to make that call than we are. (Mig is correct. We've been spoiled.)

Is a concern that other cites will snatch the tournament’s moves and show them on their own various websites “small-minded.?” Well, Dortmund could conceivably rig up a nice website with advertising for their city; but what good would it do them if everyone’s tuned into Playchess?

And, finally, what argument can we present, what action can we take, to convince the Dortmund organizers that live internet access is a good idea? The first step would be to acknowledge that by conducting a world class chess tournament each year Dortmund is giving us, the chess world, a free gift. How do we justify making demands on folks who are already giving us something for nothing? Rather than “humorously” (they evidently didn’t “get” the humor) insinuating that they’re rigging the pairings, rather than heading one’s item “Dortmund’s Folly," and tossing around words like “foolish,” “ridiculous,” and “small-minded,” perhaps one might respectfully acknowledge their contribution and find other words with which to express one’s constructive criticism.

There’s no particular harm in DailyDirtsters grousing about losing out on real-time internet coverage at Dortmund. But an employee of Chessbase/Playchess stands in a very different posture. One of the benefits of subscribing to internet chess services is real-time coverage of world-class events. If the other great tournaments all followed Dortmund’s lead, any number of internet chess service subscribers might find the product less valuable and terminate their subscriptions. Is it really fair for a Chessbase associate to invite the chess world to bash Dortmund for no longer giving internet chess services, including Playchess, a free plum? Why not treat Dortmund respectfully, sit down and work something out with them? Perhaps Chessbase could find a way to trade some city-of-Dortmund advertising for the privilege of broadcasting the Dortmund games to their Playchess subscribers.

But it makes no difference whether the above idea is practicable or not. Dortmund owes us nothing but civility; and that’s all we owe them, and each other.

"Is ending internet access to the tournament in order to attract more individuals to the city of Dortmund “ridiculous?” "


And I'm surprised that you don't see it as you seem to be quite an expert in that area, judging from your posts.

I've been watching the live presentations for about a year. I have never enjoyed a presentation more than the recent european championship. I am hoping that the web crew responsible for it are able to persuade other tournaments to use their format.

Personally, I would be much more than happy to pay a per round fee for live internet, to tournament organizers that used the euro championships format. Buck a round? Adds quite a bit to the top line. Better payouts to players might be an implication. By the way, where do you guys get the 10,000 number for online live spectators?

Free chess? I can't grok why chess should play by different rules than any other popular sport. A bit tongue in cheek...but... how'll you know it's popular if people don't pay for it?

Wow that looks a bit shilly. I have no affiliation or relationship with the euro webcrew or the euro champ organizers, advertisers etc. Just have a great interest in how far the popularization of chess can go.

It's not only silly not to broadcast live, it is even counter productive.

I was really looking forward to follow the tournament live. Checking out the games later is of course an non-existing option. It would be as exciting as watching the Wimbledon finals the day after the've been played...

In general I try to follow the games live on the official sites. I was online for the whole Kramnik-Leko match at the official site, with the only exception beeing having to check out part of last game on ICC since the official site couldn't cope with the public pressure.

I would prefer if the public gave priority to checking out the games on the official sites. And I would prefer if organisers manage to create good site (Kramnik-Leko was a good one, especially in comparison to other examples).

However, even if you follow the games on Chessgames or ICC live you are likely to check out the official site from time to time.

The Dortmund organisers might now get one or two more tickets sold on site. But they are losing me as a visitor to their site what so ever.

Jens in Stockholm

I sent an email to the tournament director.

You can also do it here:

Let them know what you think about their decision to deny us the live games.

Nobody at ICC or playchess even knows about the
sponsor of a tournament. There's no commercials,
nothing. So yes, I guess 10 people visiting the
theatre in Dortmund are worth more (PR-wise, of
course) than all the internet viewers combined.

And it adds value to the visit knowing you're
the only one following the games live.

Should playchess cut a deal with Dortmund to
transmit the games ? Then all the other servers
would just copy the games for free, its just
the story as Dortmund transmitting the games

By the way, Dortmund has made a better job
attracting visitors than most other tournaments.
In the past they had several hundrets a day,
if I remember correctly.


i was and am seriously disappointed at not being able to see the games live (and 4 games out of 5 having a decisive result on the first round? of course it has to happen in this particular tournament!). It's simply a great disservice to chess culture, with even non-existent financial benefits for the organizers. Un-fn-believable.

i don't see how it puts the on-site spectators in a less favourable position if the larger public are able to watch the games on the net. If there was a chess tournament in my area, i'd certainly go see it, but it's out of my means to start travelling abroad to see them.

In my view, the organisers' decision is in many ways reasonable. Why to invest any efforts in broadcasting, if the big sites like ICC, Playchess, etc will then simply take the moves for their sites?!
Now, the Dortmund site (not only the tournament itself) will probably attract more visitors because people will wait for the results.
It is a duty of chess world to think how the rights of organisers can be protected in the future.

"Rights of the organizers"...this is just the kind of rubbish one expects from . Get real. i don't understand this line of thinking from any point of view i try...so i suppose we can agree that we profoundly disagree.
The effort for the broadcast would've been minimal, and simply decent service to chess public/community worldwide.

However, the promised tv-coverages starting from monday are at least a nod towards the public, and Dortmund should be given recognition for that service.

who are the sponsors for Dortmund? They are entitled to not showing the games live on the internet, they pay for the tournament, they can do what they ant with it. As a consumer, i am entitled to not buy any product from them, and not travel to Dortmund in my lifetime.

There are several options the Dortmund organizers ignored in their decision. First, they could create a top notch site of their own (it would be the first I've seen yet). A more reasonable solution would be to cut a deal with Playchess or ICC. Put a reasonable & tasteful Dortmund ad link logo in my clock window on Playchess & I'd probably go there during a seven hour game. Google makes billions doing this.

Worried about rebroadcast from the Playchess site? Why? Cover the big sites and the majority of the market is already part of Dortmund. A little legal letterhead over commercial rebroadcast would stop any other commercial sites (at least in the US), and the remaining ones can't be that big.

Then do a big press event announcing Playchess and ICC or whomever as the live broadcasters of the Dortmund chess festival. Sell stuff through the ICC & ChessBase online stores. Like pre-selling a tournament book. I wound up with a New in Chess subscription that way through ICC. For goodness sake, if you are going to be selfish, make a couple of bucks while you are at it. I'll wager there is more revenue in this approach with the 10K spectators online than the 2 or 3 who might go live on any particular day.

Internet broadcast appears to be the best method for widespread live chess coverage. There is a better way to make it work than Dortmund's 'its my ball, and I'm not letting anyone play with it' attitude. If Dortmund wants to play businessman, act like one. A world class chess event ought to promote chess and the organizers future (both popularity and economically), neither of which Dortmund is doing here.

btw, seeing the first line in Mig's intro, I would no longer call Dortmund a 'supertournament'. Other events with that description (WAZ, Linares, ...) include live internet broadcast ;)

Dortmund's decision is quite all right.

But maybe they could have "tested the waters" a bit with a "pay for live view" scenario.

If indeed there are 10.000 people (a mig number) currently watching Dortmund live, at say $2 per round or $15 for the entire event, might be very profitable for the organizers and, no doubt, would help future tournaments.

As far as throwing tantrums because the organizers decided to terminate a freebie, what can I say....it is silly, probably generated by perennial freeloaders.


10,000 people would never pay to watch a super tournament. I believe the reason the Dortmund organizers decided to do this, was because they tried the "pay-per-view" idea last year, but that expectedly failed badly, as very few paid. Obviously nobody would pay for something like that, when big chess sites like ICC and Playchess showed the games for free.

However, the organizers would benefit a lot more by having live coverage of the games for free, as stated here before. Their decision not to have live games is simply, foolish. They simply can not expect lots of people to travel all the way to Dortmund just to watch a few chess games live.

I am willing to pay and I did pay in the past. Heck, I even payed for commentary by Helmut Pfleger... ;-)

Where is FIDE on all of this? If they sanction this tournament they should have a say in what's going on. One way to bring the organizers to their minds is to boycott this event.

FIDE has of course nothing to do with this event, except that it will be FIDE rated. This is a private event, and the organizers are allowed to organize it however they want.

Although the decision to drop live games is regrettable, the altermnative approach of charging for live chess seems like an idea that should be explored. How many people watch these tournament games live now? And if they each payed a nominal fee, would that add up to anything meaningfull?

They could try some combination route, like live broadcasting one game per round and charging the rest.

From an education standpoint, I think you could accomplish almost as much if the servers offer a Review session of 2 1/2 hours just before the start of the next day's games. With a good quality analyst, and taking audience questions as usual, you might even get a nicer presentation. You wouldn't have to jump between games, you wouldn't have relay delays, and the analyst could do a decent job of covering a 2700 level game.

The biggest thing you'd be missing would be the occasional "fly by" comments of top GMs who were there to view the event live, although some might stop by anyway depending who the commentator was.

And you'd have the big advantage from the servers' point of view of only having to pay the analysts for 2 1/2 hours instead of the 6 or 7 the live games take.

I do enjoy live coverage, very much. But if an occasional event decides to go to "games posted afterwards," I don't see it as a major issue. It would be much better if the decision were made enough in advance to allow the servers to set up their coverage appropriately, of course.

After all, I very much enjoy CHESS TODAY as well, and its coverage is always after the fact.

The games are still available. And they can still be available in the analyst/audience kibbitz format.

Given the quality of these games and the level of the event, I think the analysis could indeed benefit from giving the analyst a few hours to prepare the coverage.

And if the broadcast is in the Review format, the servers could pay 3 or 4 GMs to drop in for a scheduled 10 minutes and give some comments on one of the covered games. Right now asking anyone, even a 2500 level player, to comment live on 5 ongoing superGM games isn't necessarily delivering the best experience to the audience.

So as far as "ridiculous" goes, I'd vote no. But more notice would have been nice.


It's ridiculous to expect that all the online viewers will now suddenly flock to Dortmund, and it's even more ridiculous to pretend that having no live transmission somehow "adds to the festival character" of the tournament, as Mohammad Saeed al-Kolbe kindly suggested...

Come on, let's say it: the king is naked
but it is not the same watching it live as
reading about it in the paper...
Kramnik went to the organizers with a bunch
of complaints about the media and the public
and they went into "let's teach everybody a lesson" mode...
let's stop counting beans...

as someone who follows most all events move-by-move online, for all I care, this tournament did not take place.

Alphonse, I enjoy bashing Kramnik as much as the next guy, but did he really have something to do with the lack of live games on the internet?

Well said bmajors.

Most sponsors of sporting events don't do it for the immediate revenue. Its part of marketing their company, product, area, etc. The marketing message sent by Dortmund? I don't think anyone thinks better of them for this, nor do I see much hope for travel plans there.

This is nothing new to Americans. Anyone who lives close to a stadium belonging to a professional sports team abhors the word "blackout." Essentially, it means that the game will not be broadcast within a few hundred miles of the stadium unless it is sold out. There is no easy way to follow it so you are forced to either wait for the results or buy a ticket. I guess I see nothing wrong with their choice not to broadcast since it's their money and the players still showed up to get a paycheck. But it would have been nice to have some notice so that one could attend in person instead.

I do agree that it is in the best interest of chess, the fans, the players, teachers, etc. to broadcast live. However, we don't write the checks to these guys. If you want a super tournament with all the fluff (and I do) you could start your own. Sorry guys, it won't be me though. I can barely afford to enter a local tournament. And by the way, those aren't broadcast live either...

I certainly would like to hear the opinion of Kramnik and all the other players about this deplorable decision. There is no need to jump to conclusions, but some serious questions have to be answered.

(OT: to pay, paid, paid..., grammar and anger don't mix well ;-) )

Some thoughts:

Removal of free Internet broadcasting changes little for the current majority of fans who were going to watch it: they are hardcore fans who will follow chess with same intensity now or in five hour PGN files.

Considering watching entire chess games on TV isn't very telegenic, the future of games broadcasting is in Internet broadcasts. Combine that with the fact that many of my coworkers who don't care about chess thought it was "cool" and "exciting" that I was able to watch world chess championship online and even watched themselves a little bit, all movement towards Internet chess broadcasting is a very good thing for chess.

Internet Chess broadcasting is really a great thing. Imagine, one can watch the games live from anypart of the world. But the real problem is more people watch the games on sites like ICC and Playchess than the main site itself which only helps to attract more members and profits for themselves leaving the organizers with almost nothing. This is very unfair. If ICC and Playchess wants to broadcast the games, they should make a deal with the tournament organizers.

Kramnik just lost to Emil Sutovsky.

Let the flame begin.

i just had a brief look at the Kramnik game, and I'm not a good enough player to comment on the Chess quality without a lot more analysis, but my initial impression is that Sutovsky played an outstanding game.. very inventive, stunning game, kind of game with which Sutovsky has made a reputation as a very innovative player..Also stunning game by Topalov, as usual :-)

well, just to chime in as a previous Dortmund spectator, I'd suggest that they improve the viewing experience instead of attempting negative reinforcement. as far as I can see, this only confirms my post-attendance decision to stick to venues like Linares, Monaco, Cap d'agde, because then you're at least likely to get some nice weather and pretty scenery on the side. I have no idea whose idea of a tourist destination an industrial city in northern Germany is, but it wasn't mine except for the tourney, and that was sparsely attended and geared only towards germans, which wouldn't be the case on live internet i.e. worldwide coverage. although I can understand their desire to shore up the gate by any means necessary, it wouldn't surprise me if they were losing money on the event itself--because it just wasn't very interesting (outside of the games themselves, of course). as far as I could tell, the things drawing people to the vicinity of the tournament were the open tourneys upstairs, and if those players are watching the games live over the internet, you're probably looking foremost at some computer cheating issues.

Kramnik wins today against the favourite, Topolov.This should boost his confidence.I think this is the sort of advantage Mig was talking about when he says having more whites against top players could be decisive.
Topolov, what should I say.3/3 decisive games.Kudos to him.

Yeah, looks like Mig might have been right about the pairings advantage, at least in this tournament. Man, VesTop can't continue to lose games like this and keep that lofty rating going. The bright side is that he's got his two toughest games out of the way in this tournament. Unfortunately he couldn't get .5/2 from them.

Well Dortmund is dead and no one quite cares about it now. Yay. Nicely done organizers.

And organizers, if you haven't figured out to do live moves on your site, then put a webcam on your site, and make sure your sponsors get graphical ads on that site, you get the move coverage AND the eyeballs to your website.

It is quite embarrassing these people haven't figured that out.

what the hell was that Topalov game all about??? Was that theory?? queen sacs a few moves out of the opening?? This man needs to cut down on the caffeine!

Leko had his first defeat in last 3 super tournaments(Dotrumund'03,WAZ'04,Linares'04) and in this year.
Is St.Louis fever catching up?


Naiditsch and Van Wely also have 3 out of 3 decisive games.

True.Kudos to them too.Eventhough there are no Sofia like rules on draws, many games are decisive here.Having outsiders expalins it to some extent, but top players too loosing/winning more.I like this trend.

Live video (Chessbase TV) will be available every day starting Monday at "1930 Central European Time" on the Playchess server. Today they had Loek van Wely discussing his win over Adams. You can see the video (but have to do your own piece movements) on the chessbase site:


I believe, because of summer time, that this is GMT+2. New York is GMT-4, or 6 hours earlier than Dortmund.

To find your own local time relative to GMT, see http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/

One of the advantages of an "after the fact" broadcast, of course, is that you can have one of the players on! :)

This might be alright to many chess fans... for my part, I mostly dislike talking heads... also, the live but quiet signal was more than enlivened by the comments from the gallery and from some gm's that really mixed with the cybercrowd... this powerful junta ruling Dortmund could offer both services... maybe Chessbase could ask for special donations from its subscribers in order to form a fund so that everybody could continue to enjoy live transmissions or some other suitable deal...

I have never seen such a dull super tournament coverage recent times.It seems neither media nor user groups nor these message boards care much about this tmt.There is no excitement, no discusiion.I can't but put blame on their stupid decision to not to give the live internet coverage.

Well after his tongue lashing I think Koster made some great points.

Posting here sayign what organizers and sponsors should do without even knowing what they are trying to accomplish is silly. If thier main purpose is to get live bodies into Dortmund and to attract people who are local or live near there(I understand it is a *local* bank doing the sponsoring) then if there is *any* question that anyone may not show up or show up less frequently due to internet broadcasts then I suppose they are right.

Why doesn't my local chess club have an internet hook up so I can play over the net in thier tournaments intead of driving there? Not only are there cheating concerns, but the *purpose* of my club is to get real live people who like chess physically together to play the game in person. We can say that is wrongheaded all we want. But its our club and if we want to force people to physically show up to the club before they can play or watch the games then thats our decision. If the purpose of this Dortmund chess festival is to do the same thier decision doesn't seem so odd. Broadcasting so people don't need to show up to the festival is exactly the opposite of what they are trying to do.

Imagine you are the mayor of Dortmund trying to justify the expenditure of tax money on this event. Few people physically show up to the event but you argue to the citizens - hey about 10k people around the world watched this on the net. Do you really think they will care? Most probably don't even play chess. They probably only tolerate the expenditure to the extent it is a *festival*. Like all festivals the success or failure is measured by the number of people on the streets. If its no longer a festival (i.e., an event with lots of people gathering together socializing and having a good time) then maybe the event simply won't be supported.

On all of this I have to assume that all of these sponsors are pretty much paying these prizes and costs as somewhat of a charity and because someone in the company/city has a love of the game. I can't imagine how these sponsors are making back what they are paying out on these torunaments. So if everyone wants to bash the Dortmund organizers and boycott the event so it is no longer held, that is, I suppose, the way of things in the chess world. No good deed goes unpunished. However don't be surprised if we are simply left with one fewer chess event. I don't think people/companies are exactly standing in line to pay to get these tournaments together.

nfm, your arguement will have some semblance of justification, if
1.The venue has really attracted substantial no. of visitors
2.And they paid for it to an extent it makes a meaningful amount of money for the sponsorers
3.And other super tournaments sponsorers take a clue from these guys success and implement or considering to implement same strategy.Afterall everyone needs money.
4.Or atleast either the chess public or media or so called chess who is who consider this a viable business model to popularise chess and attract new sponsorers.I can go on and on.
Somehow you are thinking going against the trend is innovative.Unlike any other popular game chess is very well suited for internet coverage.Any new ideas should use this advantage not discard it.

I think you and many others are thinking only of chess and money. However Dortmund like many other cities may be willing to spend some money for a good time. Just like cities spend money on parks they may also want to spend some money for a fest.

In towns out here we have rib fests, corn fests, Balloon fests, you name it we have a fest for it. These are good enough excuses for a party. Chess can be just another excuse for a party. So no it may not matter if they make money any more than they hope to make money on building a park. However to the extent the fest is the aim, it really doesn't matter if there are 10,000 people watching the games on the net. Not one bit. All that matters is people ahve a good enough time to justify the cost. That means having people there. (again not people there soley to somehow translate into an economic return but people there so that it is a fun successful event.)

AS far as the importance of watchign chess live on the net, I agree its nice. However, I am not sure it has really materialized into much outside the acutal chess server business itself. If we look at the "pre - internet" championships I think we see more interest and more money in those events. Look at say pre 1995 compared to now. Is chess drawing any more money? The fact is it seems we are getting less and less money and interst. In Argentina they are goign to split a 1 million prize fund 8 ways. Compare that to the prize fund in the 1990 WC in New York. Also compare the celebrity and general interest in the two events.

Clearly with 8 players from several different countries and 15 years of inflation we should expect that the interest in the event and the prize fund to be much higher in 2005 than 1990. However, I think we find the opposite. I hope in the future that chess can cash in on the fact that it is very well suited for the net. However at this point I don't see any empirical evidence that it really has had much of an effect on top level chess.

Now the numbers may be 10 -20 thousand watching but those numbers can easilly be 10xs as high if we have a unified world champ. For example the impact on Indian chess alone could be huge if Anand won it.

Maybe a law should be passed in as many countries as possible that servers should not be allowed to republish games for 24 hours unless they have an agreement with the organizer. Its not illegal for them to publish the moves. Maybe it should be but it is very unlikely it woudl be allowed under the US constitution's 1st amendment.

That means organized pressure from the players is really the only way to force some sort of payment. That coudl be somethign the ACP could work at. I really think they could organize and put pressure on these servers if they do it in a creative yet tough way.

One final point to consider. If sponsoring these events was really going to make money what companies would have the biggest interest in sponsoring them? Well chess servers and chess related companies would naturally come to mind. However, they seem to rarely be doing this. If they can't make money from sponsoring these events I think its a hard sell for any other company.

Case law in the United States holds that the score of a chess game is "a record of historical fact," similar to the box score of a baseball game, and consequently not subject to copyright protection.

You can keep people out of a playing hall, but once the game is published anywhere, anyone else can republish it in the United States without a copyright issue.

It's the reason chess publishers don't have to make payments to the players of a game included in a book they publish.

Analysis, on the other hand, is held to be a creative work in and of itself, and IS protected under US copyright law.

Note that all this doesn't say a chess game isn't a creative effort. It just says that the RECORD of that game, the moves, is a record of fact, and may be reported as news, just as sports scores are.


Chess Masterminds taped the entire match. It will be broadcast to the world as a media event. Sponsers put up money because of the audience they can attract. Those markets must be identifible and verifiable. The chess community has not helped itself. GM's cannot make a decent living because of this lack of basic marketing. I expect there to me more control in the future. Don't fight it, embrace it! Chess teaches us the advantage of delayed gratification. If you want chess to rise to the level of professional golf, concessions will need to be made.

The analogy between baseball/football and chess is not entirely accurate. In my mind, the score in baseball/football etc is equivalent to the final outcome of a chess game (i.e., 1-0, 0-1, 0.5-0.5). The actual moves of the chess match are equivalent to the game play executed by baseball/football players in the field. It is possible that final game scores cannot be copyrighted but it is possible that access to actual moves can be restricted to a few entitites. Something like NFL controlling telecast rights of football games but game results can be re-broadcasted freely.

my 2 cents.

The "score" referred to in the baseball court case was the "box score" which shows every hit, run, error, and detail of the plays. Not just the final point score.

I should note that the broadcast IMAGES can be copyrighted in the US. But the facts as reported in the box score cannot.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 8, 2005 1:27 PM.

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