Mar 14 2011

Warzone Chess tournaments: Anyone can win

Jacques

Warzone Chess™ ushers in a new era of chess tournaments. Instead of the normal slow and steady round-based tournaments, Warzone Chess is fast paced and action-packed, with a new game starting as soon the previous game ends. The aim is to score as many points as quickly as possible, with the highest overall score winning.

It is generally accepted that stronger players win tournaments, however in Warzone Chess it’s a free-for-all, where anyone can win. How is this possible you ask? Well there is a unique live handicap system which is in place for every tournament. The handicap system gives lower-rated players an advantage over higher-rated ones, with chess ratings used to calculate how much of a handicap will be given.

Each Warzone Chess tournament has the option of having handicaps enabled, which evens-up the rating gap between players:

  • Time handicap. A lower-rated player will start with a larger amount of the total game time, while a higher-rated player will have less time at the start of the game.
  • Position handicap. A lower-rated player will be given a positional advantage at the start of the game. For example, the stronger player may have to start the game without their queen.
  • Points handicap. Lower-rated players will be rewarded with more points if they win against a higher-rated player.  For example: a lower-rated player may gain 100 points for beating a stronger player, while not losing any points for being defeated. This gives you every reason to fight for the win.

You can see which handicaps have been enabled in a Warzone Chess tournament by looking at the tournament info on the right of the tournament window. Hover over the info icon to the right for additional information.

Warzone Chess handicaps


Feb 18 2011

ChessCube sponsors the 2011 Online Commonwealth Chess Championships

Sean

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ChessCube sponsors the 2011 Online Commonwealth Chess Championships

Cape Town, South Africa – 18 February 2011

ChessCube, the world leader in online chess tournaments, with over 20,000 tournaments and 5 million games played per month, will partner with the organizers of the 2011 Commonwealth Chess Championships. ChessCube.com will run an online pre-event where three lucky winners will gain free entry, free accommodation at the venue’s Peermont Mondior hotel, as well as $1,500 in cash towards their flights and other expenses.

Graham Jurgensen, the convenor of the 2011 Commonwealth & South African Open Chess Championships, which will be held in Johannesburg South Africa from June 25th through July 3rd, said: “We are very excited to be partnering with ChessCube on this world-first online event. The real-world event will be held at the beautiful Emperors Palace Hotel Casino & Convention Resort, and the online event will give three lucky participants free entry and accommodation as well as expenses.”

The online tournament series is aimed at three groups: above 2000 players, 1700 to 2000 and below 1700 rated players. Each series will have a round robin final with eight finalists in each.

“Anyone in the world can enter the online event”, said ChessCube CEO Mark Levitt. “The Commonwealth Championships will be held in conjunction with the South African Open – and players who are not from commonwealth countries are still eligible for all cash prizes”. We are expecting a massive turnout for this online event and we would not be surprised if this breaks all known online tournament world records.”

ChessCube also sponsored the 2009 South African Open, where titled players participated from a second venue in Melbourne, Australia via www.ChessCube.com. This event made world chess history when FIDE, the world chess federation, worked with ChessCube to ensure that the Internet games, were officially rated, setting a precedent that could see tournaments using this technology in the future.

Useful links

ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChessCube
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ChessCube
Tournament website: http://www.chessa.co.za/tournament_websites/CWCC2011/index.html
High Resolution Logo (PNG): http://www.chesscube.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ChessCubeLogo.png

Contact information

ChessCube(Pty) Ltd.
Contact: Mark Levitt (CEO)
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=7230957&trk=tab_pro
Office: +27 21 555 2019
[email protected]

About ChessCube

ChessCube (www.chesscube.com) was launched in May 2007 from its Cape Town headquarters. It has since grown into a community of over 1.4m avid chess players, and continues to grow at a rapid pace. ChessCube is an innovative, live chess platform, focused on online tournaments and live playing within a social community. Mark Levitt, founder and CEO of ChessCube, is four times South African Chess Champion. ChessCube’s investors include InVenfin, Vinny Lingham and Michael Leeman.

For more information or images, please contact Mark Levitt ([email protected]).

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Jan 22 2010

President Jacob Zuma supports South African chess

Sean

The Nkandla community in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, had a great day when SA President Jacob Zuma arrived to take part in a chess tournament between surrounding schools. Nonkulueko Sithole was thrilled to play President Zuma, even though the President checkmated her in fewer than 10 moves. “This is the best day of my life. I never thought I would ever sit this close to the President and play a game of chess with him,” said the 14 year old.

Zuma brings his Bishop into the game against Sithole

Zuma brings his Bishop into the game against Sithole

In an interview after the game with City Press, Zuma said, “Chess is very important as it makes you a better and knowledgeable human being. I like games like chess and bridge because they stretch your brain to the limit. They make you think strategically”. President Zuma also challenged local businesses to support the sport financially. “Next year we must host a fundraising dinner party for chess right in the hall,” he said.

Kwazulu Chess Association President Sandile Xulu, one of the tournament organisers, said chess gave “young people the opportunity to compete, regardless of race or social standing”. “It provides a field of ideas, concepts and strategy for young growing minds,” he said.  In an interview with ChessCube Community Manager, Sean, Xulu said that KwaZulu Chess’ aim is to take chess into all schools, as well as to introduce it as a sport. Future plans would then involve working with the Department of Education to consider it as a subject in school in Kwazulu-Natal and particularly rural areas and all of South Africa. “This is exactly what President Zuma and I shared and want to see happen.” said Xulu. Speaking of President Zumas’ desire to have all children take part in chess tournaments, Xulu noted, “This (the Nkandla tournament) was our “OPENING MOVE”, which we hope will get supported and start rolling”.

Sandile Xulu, President of the KZChess Association

Sandile Xulu, President of the KZChess Association

ChessCube supports President Zuma’s vision, and will be launching an online schools chess initiative in South Africa and other countries from early 2010. The South African government, a number of NGOs and large corporations are doing a great deal to improve Internet and computer services in schools. ChessCube will be working with all providers to ensure that schools in South Africa can connect to ChessCube’s classroom service.

“ChessCube will provide facilities for children to play chess online and to receive online video training”, explained Mark Levitt, ChessCube CEO. “The basic service will be free to all schools in South Africa, and we will be working with big business to sponsor additional opportunities for South African youth.”

ChessCube’s classroom service will be at the forefront of a modern trend to popularise chess. Along with Venezuela, which has recently included chess in it’s official school curriculum, ChessCube considers the personal and societal benefits of chess to be of immense value. What are these benefits precisely? David MacEnulty, a famed chess teacher (the subject of a movie “The Knights of the South Bronx”) had this to say in a recent exclusive interview with ChessCube:

“One of the things you learn from playing chess is how to control yourself. You learn to have delayed gratification. You learn tremendous discipline and above all you learn to trust your own judgment. Once a child learns that he or she is smart enough to play chess, there’s not going to be any holding them back from anything else.”

“The biggest benefits come when children actually sit down and play tournament chess. Once you’ve played tournament chess for a couple of years, major transformations take place in a child. The question of relying on your own judgment really comes out.”

“When the children on my chess team in the Bronx went to junior high school they were much better prepared than many of their peers. In fact, the Principal of the junior high school once told me that the chess kids seemed to be a different breed altogether. You can tell the chess kids from the way they walk down the hall – there’s just more confidence in the way they walk. There’s more confidence in the way they interact with the teachers in the classroom. They don’t get into trouble because one of things that chess teaches us is to see danger ahead of time.

“One of the things that’s overlooked frequently is the social component of being on a chess team or just learning to play chess. When children work together on a team, even though chess is one person against one person, whatever is good for anybody on the team is good for everybody on the team.”

“Now when one of the kids from a place such as where I taught in the South Bronx wins a game against a very privileged child, that changes everybody’s attitudes. The recognition, that there, on the other side of the board, is my intellectual equal, that’s an amazing transformation that happens on both sides of the board. I think that’s a really critical thing that we should introduce to society everywhere, not just South Africa.”

President Jacob Zuma contemplates his next move

President Jacob Zuma contemplates his next move

Sources:

Times Live (Article)
City Press, 27 December 2009

Useful links
ChessCube Facebook Application: http://apps.facebook.com/chesscube/
ChessCube website: www.chesscube.com


Oct 14 2009

ChessCube SA Open 2009 Report

admin

In July 2009, ChessCube and CHESSA announced the first FIDE rated online matches. These were matches were played in the 2009 SA Open between players based in Melbourne, Australia and players based in Cape Town, South Africa. GM Amon Simutowe won the tournament.

ChessCube has recently released a report on the event for FIDE. The report summarises the key challenges and lessons from this chess world first, with the aim of encouraging increased online participation in chess tournaments. FIDE’s support for this venture, and in particular in rating these matches, demonstrates exciting possibilities in the world of chess.

This report and the player agreement are available for download. Click on the following links to download pdf versions of the report and player agreement. ChessCube SA Open 2009 Report (pdf). ChessCube SA Open 2009 Player Agreement for online matches (pdf).


Jul 20 2009

Playing tournaments online

Jacques

As you probably know by now, the ChessCube SA Open 2009 implemented a world-first by allowing players at a venue in Melbourne , Australia to compete in the main tournament held in Cape Town, South Africa. This was accomplished by playing the games between these opponents online using ChessCube’s server.

Each round the players in South Africa were transported to ChessCube’s offices where they played under the supervision of FIDE Arbiter Simbarashe Murimi. Players were given the option to use a normal board in conjunction with the computer, or the computer alone. Except for one game, all players chose to still use the normal board as well.

Round 1: Arbiter “Simba” and player Leon Smit

Round 1: Arbiter “Simba” and player Leon Smit

On the Australian side GM Gawain Jones, IM Puchen Wang and IM Mirko Rujevic were playing under the watchful eye of International Arbiter Gary Bekker. Because of the eight hour time difference the games in Melbourne usually started in the early morning hours – about 2:30 AM local time! However, despite these conditions the players were always on time and in a cheerful mood, ready to battle for the full point.

The players down under…

The players down under…

The tournament saw the world’s first Grandmaster clash online in a Round 8 encounter between GM Dimitri Komarov and GM Gawain Jones. Unfortunately for such a noteworthy occasion the game ended much too soon when the players agreed to a draw after only 11 moves: 1. d4  Nf6 2. Nf3  g6 3. c4  Bg7 4. Nc3  O-O 5. e4  d6 6. Be2  e5 7. O-O  Nc6 8. d5  Ne7 9. b4  c6 10. Nd2  a5 11. bxa5  Qxa5  1/2-1/2

The result might be understandable from a psychological point of view, but it did not go down well with the numerous online spectators who were hoping for an exciting game between the tournaments strongest players.

The eventual winner of the event, GM Amon Simutowe, also played two games online. He looked right at home in the online environment and left with two draws against his strong opponents. After the games he commented that it went much better than he had expected and that he enjoyed the games. He also said that ChessCube was very easy to use and that he really liked the site, “technically it was a home run”.

Winner of the event – GM Amon Simutowe

Winner of the event – GM Amon Simutowe

One of the most exciting games was played in the penultimate round when FM Charles de Villiers took on GM Gawain Jones. The game proceeded as follows:

1. d4  Nf6 2. c4  g6 3. Nc3  Bg7 4. e4  d6 5. f4  O-O 6. Nf3  Na6 7. e5  Nd7 8. c5  c6 9. Bxa6  bxa6 10. Be3  Rb8 11. O-O  Rxb2 12. Qa4  Nb8 13. Qa3  Rb7 14. cxd6  exd6 15. Ne4  d5 16. Nd6  Qe7 17. Bf2  Rb6 18. Bh4  f6 19. Rae1  Be6 20. Re3  Qd7 21. exf6  Bxf6 22. Bxf6  Rxf6 23. Ne5  Qd8 24. Ng4  Bxg4 25. Re8+  Qxe8 26. Nxe8  Re6 27. h3  Rxe8 28. hxg4  Re2 29. Rf3  Rb1+ 30. Kh2  Rbb2 31. Re3  Rxg2+ 32. Kh1  Rge2 33. Rxe2  Rxe2 34. Qd6  Re8 35. Qc7  a5 36. f5  gxf5 37. gxf5  Rf8 38. f6  Rxf6 39. Qxb8+  Kg7 40. Qxa7+  Kg6 41. Qxa5

White should have an easy win

White should have an easy win

At this point White should have an easy win, but somehow black managed to fight on and get away with a draw.

41… Kf5 42. Qc7  Rh6+ 43. Kg2  Ke4 44. Qe5+  Kd3 45. Kf2  Rh1 46. Qe3+  Kc4 47. Kg2  Rb1 48. Qe2+  Kc3 49. Qe3+  Kc4 50. Kf2  Rb2+ 51. Kf3  Rxa2 52. Kf4  Ra8 53. Qe7  Kxd4 54. Qb4+  Kd3 55. Qb6  Ra4+ 56. Ke5  Re4+ 57. Kd6  Rc4 58. Qb1+  Kd2 59. Qxh7  d4 60. Qh2+  Kc3 61. Qe5  Kb3 62. Qe4  Kc3 63. Qe1+  Kc2 64. Qe2+  Kc3 65. Qe1+  Kc2 66. Qe2+  Kb3 67. Qd3+  Kb4 68. Qb1+  Kc3 69. Qa1+  Kd2 70. Qb2+  Ke3 71. Qb6  Rc2 72. Ke5  c5 73. Qh6+  Kd3 74. Qg6+  Kc3 75. Qg1  Kc4 76. Qg8+  Kc3 77. Qg1  Kb2 78. Ke4  Rc3 79. Qf2+  Kb3 80. Qf7+  Kb2 81. Qf2+  Ka3 82. Qd2  Kb3 83. Qd1+  Kb2 84. Qe2+  Kb3 85. Qb5+  Ka2 86. Qa6+  Kb1 87. Qb5+  Kc1 88. Qf1+  Kd2 89. Qf2+  Kd1 90. Qf1+  Kc2 91. Qe2+  Kc1  1/2-1/2

In the end it was not to be for Charles and he had to be satisfied with a draw. Nevertheless it was an excellent game to watch, with most online spectators being present for hours while the game was taking place.

Round 10: FM Charles de Villiers almost causing an upset

Round 10: FM Charles de Villiers almost causing an upset

All in all most players seemed to enjoy the new experience very much, with most of them having their first chance to play against a titled player. Feedback was positive and will be reported soon!


Jul 10 2009

SA Open: two rounds to go

admin

There are only two rounds left of the SA Chess Open 2009, and it looks to be a fiercely contested title. In the top three, after 9 rounds, we have A Simutowe from Zambia, G Jones from England (and playing from Australia) and P Wang from New Zealand (also an online participant).

The last two rounds will be played this evening and on Saturday at Wynberg Boys’ High School in Cape Town, with the closing ceremony at 6pm on Saturday at the same venue.

If you’re in the area, you should stop by to watch! All online games are broadcast on a big screen at the venue.

Watch this space for a round-up, and feedback from the players in this very unique tournament.


Jul 8 2009

News Release: World First: SA Chess Open includes Internet play

admin

Cape Town. For immediate release.
ChessCube (www.ChessCube.com), a South African Internet Chess Company, is the sponsor of the 2009 SA Open, being held in Cape Town. The event has attracted players from all over the world, but a new twist is that three remote players have participated via the Internet from a venue in Melbourne, Australia.  Mark Levitt, the CEO of ChessCube, says, “ChessCube has worked closely with FIDE (the World Chess Federation), to construct a series of rules and procedures to be followed, so that for the first time in chess history, Internet games would be officially rated.”

ChessCube is an online chess service with over 600,000 registered users. The Internet initiative began in Cape Town South Africa in mid-2007 and has expanded to an international operation. North American and Indian players are the largest among 200 countries served by ChessCube’s US-based servers.

FIDE is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the supreme body responsible for the organization of global and continental chess.  It defines the rules of chess, both for playing individual games and the conduct of international competitions.

FIDE calculates the ratings of players. These ratings are used to awards titles such as International Master and International Grandmaster. It also awards the International Arbiter title, which signifies that the recipient is competent and trusted to oversee top-class competitions.

The SA Open’s R90,000 ($12,000) prize fund has attracted a number of players to Cape Town, including Grandmasters and International Masters from around Africa and the world, including players from 11 countries to make this the strongest SA Open ever.

In addition, International Grandmaster Gawain Jones from the UK, International Master Puchen Wang from New Zealand and International Master Mirko Rujevic from Australia, are located at a venue in Melbourne, Australia, under the watchful eye of World Chess Federation International Arbiter Gary Bekker (AUS).

“Originally ChessCube was planning to have a venue in the UK, or Europe”, said Levitt. “That would mean that the players would be in a relatively similar time zone. But the enthusiasm of the players from Australia won out, and despite the difficulty of playing chess from 2.30 am to 7.30am, the players from ‘down under’ have adapted to the grueling schedule.”

The initial photos coming out of Australia showed bleary eyed and tired looking contestants – but with a shift in sleeping patterns, the players seem to have adapted to the unusual times by the later rounds. Possibly this is the first example of jetlag via the Internet?

In South Africa, 300 contestants are playing at the Wynberg Boys’ High School hall. In order to manage the technical complexities  of the online games, the three local players are driven to the high tech ChessCube Headquarters at Century City in Cape Town, where World Chess Federation International Arbiter Simbarashe Murimi from Zimbabwe is overseeing the Cape Town Internet contestants.

“The local players have enthusiastically adopted playing their esteemed Australian opponents via the Internet,” said Levitt. “Only one player so far has hinted at the possibility that the remote opponent may be cheating by using software.  But on hearing that the Australian group are being chaperoned by an experienced hawk-eyed FIDE arbiter, the assertions were quickly dropped. The secret to creating an official FIDE presence in this event was to ensure that both sides had official FIDE authority”.

This form of multi-venue event, using the Internet to connect land-based venues, may be the answer to expensive air travel. Chess is probably the only Olympic sports that can take advantage of the Internet for participation. In the current downturn, the cost of living and high cost of travel has made an impact on International sports participation in general. Africa is probably the region with the most expensive air travel. It typically costs more to travel from one African country to another than to travel to a European destination. An African chess administrator recently lamented that it is cheaper to hold the all-African-chess events in Paris than in Africa!

“ChessCube is planning to expand this form of chess participation in 2010”, said Levitt. “We are planning a multi-country team event – where all the participants compete at a home venue under the guidance of one arbiter per venue!”

An added benefit of this form of competition is that spectators can watch the events from anywhere in the world.  All online matches may be watched by logging on to www.chesscube.com. The tournament continues at Wynberg Boys’ High School.

About ChessCube
ChessCube (www.chesscube.com) was launched in June 2007 from Cape Town headquarters. It has since grown to a community of over 600,000 avid chess players, and continues to grow. ChessCube is an innovative, and award-winning, live chess platform. Mark Levitt, founder and CEO of ChessCube, is four times South African Chess Champion, and many of ChessCube’s board members are avid, strong chess players themselves. ChessCube’s investors include Vinny Lingham of Lingham Capital.

For more information, please contact Mark Levitt ([email protected]) or Sarah Blake ([email protected]).


Jul 3 2009

FIDE rated tournament participation online

admin

ChessCube, the fast-growing online chess community and live chess platform, in association with Chess South Africa (CHESSA), is proud to announce a world first: participants in Australia will compete in the ChessCube SA Open 2009 by logging in to ChessCube and playing scheduled matches online.

ChessCube is the sponsor of the SA Open 2009, hosted by Western Province Chess Association under the auspices of CHESSA. While ChessCube is pleased to continue its sponsorship of this event, this year marks a world-first occasion. Players in another location, in fact another continent, will compete in the SA Open 2009 using the Internet.

As well as players and teams from southern Africa, four players in Australia will participate online using the ChessCube server. The four players, who will be playing from Melbourne Australia, are GM Gawain Jones (GBR – ELO 2550), IM Puchen Wang (NZL – ELO 2453), IM Mirko Rujevic (AUS – ELO 2282) and IM Leonid Sandler (AUS – ELO 2332) on standby. The arbiter in Melbourne is IA Gary Bekker (AUS).

Each Australian player will use a computer to connect to ChessCube and play their game, and will be supervised by the arbiter on that side. Similarly the players paired against them in Cape Town will play their games online using a computer, and will be supervised by an arbiter on this side. The remote players are in contention for all prize money and titles – similar to local players. FIDE have also agreed to officially rate the games played over the Internet.

The SA Open 2009 Tournament will be held at Wynberg Boys High School in Cape Town from 3 to 11 July. The pairings for round 1 will be published on 3 July, with the first games taking place from 18:30 on Friday 3 July. The full schedule will be available online at www.saopen2009.com.

Spectators can also follow the online matches by logging in to www.chesscube.com. The scheduled matches will be announced by ChessCube and on www.saopen2009.com.