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Defunct Errors Dept

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I've been perusing various event sites lately, looking at bad ideas and concocting new ones. Am I the last person to notice Short giving Anand two FIDE KO titles in his capsule bio at the San Luis site? (New Delhi and Tehran were part of the same event.) Admittedly, the site is so riddled with errors that one little one is hardly worth mention. The site itself is clunky and, worst of all, unpredictable.

Many of the event sites I like to look at aren't chess sites at all. I like the non-invasive pop-up nav menu for the US Open golf tournament. Most American pro sport sites are heavily into video, Flash quickly becoming the standard. This isn't as attractive for chess, although I'd definitely get more into video clips for interviews. The proprietary ChessBase video system, shown to great effect during the Olympiad, has the benefit of synchronizing the board with the video feed. Scaling that all down to a single Flash video stream gets blurry. Perhaps a video of the player synced with an independent Flash or Java board?

A big question about event sites is whether or not to spend time and money on making things especially to keep visitors occupied and coming back. Interactive stuff, that is: message boards, contests, polls, vs the world games, etc. It's not worth the expense if the site is only expected to receive traffic for the few weeks of the event. But a building event with qualifiers and such can generate interest. San Luis put up some news on occasion, but nothing interactive. This is typical, if you don't count the increasingly prevalent betting site links, that is, and I don't.



The purpose of the site should be to provide information about the event. There are plenty of other places in cyberspace in which to go to satisfy needs for contests, polls, etc.

A chess event site should make it easy to find what chessplayers most want to find when going to that site. For me that would be scores, crosstables, standings, the games themselves, analyses, the schedule, and a summary of each round. Helpful and enjoyable, but secondary are pictures, stories, and interviews with the players, key chess "dignitaries", and organizers. After that, do whatever you like -- have a good time.

A final thought. The only point of intentionally trying to keep someone on a site longer is if there is revenue -- most likely advertising revenue -- tied to it. If there isn't, I don't see the point.

Your tournament sites, by the way, are far better than average.
Posted by: Karl at June 20, 2006 08:35

Karl is thinking along the same lines as me: the difference between interactive content and content. I agree with him that the most necessary thing is easy access to results, schedule, standings. I find a brief biography of each player to be a major improvement to any site. I also really really love the idea of a play-chat room, wherein one can play with other people who (presumably) are watching/following the tournament.

One of most underused features is player interviews. FIDE's Olympiad site had an opportunity to play against some unknown Italian GMs (IMs?). What I wouldn't give for them to instead provide even brief interviews with Olympiad participants about things like world championship, their games, other participants, etc. Way too often our only access to GMs is what Mig says Leko said somewhere, as opposed to an actual interview. One of my favorite little features in the past years was in the Libya FIDE Championship you could actually watch little video interviews with men like Topalov. I got a better idea of what those guys were like from that than I have from many months of reading about their games.

I think the best and most effective way of maintaining traffic is through creation of frequently updated message boards (such as organizers blogging/giving topics) and something like Chesspro.ru where you can watch the game develop, chat with others and see Shipov's comments at the same time.

Contests/polls are really more of a "click once and destroy" feature.
Posted by: Yuriy Kleyner at June 20, 2006 09:15

San Luis was a good site, but I really loved the World Team Championship site at Israel. For me that was very far the best site I have ever seen about a tournament. It had good interviews and good data. The Turin site was ugly. It was very hard to find what you were looking for.
Posted by: poderchenko at June 20, 2006 10:55

Woudn't it be great to have a few key positions from the current event for players to start at and play each other from. That would be good for keeping us hooked to the screen a little longer.
Thanks for a high quality site.
Posted by: JimBee at June 20, 2006 11:56

The Wiener Zeitung site for Turin was superb- stats available at your fingertips almost imjmediately after the round finished.

I also like the Corus site.
Posted by: Al at June 20, 2006 12:14

How about some web site maker genius coming up with the perfect web site "package" and just give it to all the chess tournaments to use if they want to. With instructions on how to hook up cameras, dgt chess boards, clocks, and various other packaged goodies.
Posted by: Morrowind at June 20, 2006 14:29

The "best" tournament Website features, for me, are those that make me feel as though I am there--a true spectator. In addition to the scores, results and cross tables (what might be pinned to the walls at the tournament hall), I enjoy the live games (especially the DGT broadcasts), photos/videos of the players and playing site, video/text interviews with interesting participants and, just as an added bonu, a live Web cam.

So far, the best web presentation of a major tournament has been the last couple of AF4C US chess championships.

My two cents worth...
Posted by: voss at June 20, 2006 18:53

Interviews (both audio and video) are definitely a value-added feature and I've decided to do more of them. I did several in Turin and I'm only upset that I had to leave and could not do about 25-30 of them.


The Daily Dirt was by an important blog dealing with the Olympiad and I visited regularly and sent a few posts. I had planned to put a blog on The Chess Drum prior to the Olympiad, but simply ran out of time before leaving for Turin. Interaction is really what is going to drive traffic. The mantra used to be content, content, content. NOW... it's content PLUS interaction, interaction, interaction.
Posted by: Daaim Shabazz at June 21, 2006 01:27

I believe that the posters to this thread are right on target when it comes to player interviews. Many other sports have found that they can expand their attractiveness by making the players, and their personalities, more visible to the casual fan, or even non-fan. Many soccer fans wouldn't be able to accurately describe the off-sides rule, but they know who Ronaldinho is, and his remarkable life story.

Daaim's site, http://www.thechessdrum.net/newsbriefs/2006/NB_TurinTalk.html, does have excellent interviews from the Turin Olympiad.
Posted by: RP at June 21, 2006 10:44

It hardly takes a genious to create an informative website. Look at the website I created for the Las Vegas Masters http://www.clarkcountychessclub.com/masters/

I don't have years of experience writing flashy web pages etc. but just having the necessary information and keeping it up to date constantly was enough to provide the chess enthusiast enough to keep coming back, and I got plenty of compliments too.
Posted by: Chris at June 21, 2006 13:09

Short treats Anand's first KO win to be the Lausanne one. He won the KO tournament but lost to Karpov in the superfinal.

It can hardly be said that Karpov was playing in that KO.
Posted by: Proloy at June 21, 2006 14:54

No. "He was not to be denied forever: he romped home against Alexei Shirov in Tehran 2000, and on the home soil of New Delhi the following year he repeated the feat."

That's two titles, which really was one. Tehran was the final of Delhi. He mentions Lausanne in passing only in that he lost to Karpov.
Posted by: Mig at June 21, 2006 15:32

Back in 2003 I posted "20 questions for chess event organizers" to list the items chess fans most often asked for.

Posted by: Duif at June 21, 2006 17:01

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 20, 2006 7:55 AM.

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