Can Chess Really Be Made Interesting?

Can Chess Really Be Made Interesting?

Chess has long had a reputation for being a rather dull game, only played by old men and geniuses. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Chess can be a fun game for players of all ages and all types if it is approached in the right way. With this in mind, and in an attempt to attract a new generation of players to the sport, Grand Masters are now asking how they can make chess more exciting for both prospective players and audiences alike.

In a recent Facebook post Grand Master Maurice Ashley broached the issue of how to engage with younger players as well as how to involve the audience in a more interactive way. Some of the possibilities that were raised are very interesting.

Knowing The Pairing For Each Round In Real Time

One way to encourage more interaction is to let both players and their audience know the pairing for each round in real time, immediately that the pairing has been made. It’s surprisingly easy to do this, and with today’s online technology it’s possible to not just post pairings on a physical tournament board but online on tournament websites. It can even be posted on social media with a dedicated hashtag to drum up enthusiasm. Not only is this a lot more convenient for players, it’s also good news for audiences who can rapidly check board numbers and pairings of all their favorite players and check up on their current standing.

Live Broadcasting

Letting audiences watch games live and in real time is something that is perfectly possible in the 21st century but for some reason doesn’t seem to be happening. Standing boards have been the traditional option with e-boards and DGT boards at bigger tournaments. However online broadcasting should be standard practice today. Part of this could be interactive activities for the audience to enjoy. For example, allowing the audience to guess which move will be played next will make the game a lot more fun. There can even be prizes for audience members who get it right. While games are being broadcast live, it also opens the door to online chats and discussions as well as voting opportunities – which world champion’s playing style is most like the current player, for example.

Questions, Answers And Live Commentation

Following games, top players should be able to spend time participating in Q&A sessions with journalists and audience members. This interactive element brings the game within closer reach of those who are non-players. Meanwhile, the use of live commentators who can take audience members’ questions as well as questions in the form of online chat, tweets, SMS or emails will also help to engage viewers as well as players.

Statistics And Profiles

Making player profiles visible on the tournament websites helps the audience to find out more about who is playing, while revealing chess statistics to the audience will help to boost interest in the game too. Similar to other sports in which player and game statistics are well publicized, chess can engage with the audience through fascinating facts such as “According to Chessbase this combination has occurred X number of times before.”

Virtual Reality

Could virtual reality simulations be the best way forward to attract new players to the game? It’s certainly a possibility. The Oculus Rift now has several versions of VR chess which can be accessed by those who have the right VR equipment at home and which allow players to be transported into an eerily realistic world in which they can get up close and personal with the pieces. Games such as Magic Table Chess and Dungeon Chess are a brilliant way to teach new players the basics of the game in a much more engaging way that speaks to a new generation who are more interested in video games than board games.

With these changes in mind, it’s possible that chess could be changing for the better for both players and audience members alike. By making the game more engaging, more exciting and more interactive, more young people will be attracted to try their hand at the game of kings while more people will be persuaded to try watching it.