What do the Chess Grandmasters think of the new hybrid chess system evaluated by FIDE?

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) approved on January 18th the evaluation as classical ELO rating of "hybrid" chess games. This game modality intends, in theory, to adapt to the new times marked by the coronavirus pandemic that affects the whole world without losing the competitive component that gives the sport the fact of playing by ELO.

Map of the world with links simulating chess online

This "hybrid" chess model, as we explained in yesterday's article, shows games evaluation played on an electronic device but in a physical place with the presence of an arbiter. In this way it is intended to safeguard the integrity of the competition avoiding episodes of electronic doping or cheating.

Therefore, given the novelty of the measure, from Yottachess we have decided to ask some Grandmasters for their opinion about it. Curiously, the feelings about hybrid chess are shared by all of them, which makes us think that the rejection is generalized among players with a certain chess level.

The Grandmaster and contributor to Chess24 Pepe Cuenca was asked about it during the first broadcast of the program Hable Com Pongo, which aims to promote chess in Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). There he showed his disconcert about the new measure for several reasons. The first of them made reference to the remarkable differences between playing on a board or in front of a screen and the second one is directed more towards the thought that may arise about whether the rules are being complied with in the other place.

"Chess has the component of seeing your opponent in front of you on the board and I can't imagine playing with him in front of a computer" explained Cuenca. "Another aspect to take into account is whether in other countries, where there may be more corruption, these rules will be complied with. Although in the end it will be like everything else and if they put good prizes we will end up playing. But, in principle, I don't like it at all" he added.

In the same line, both Miguel Santos and Eduardo Iturrizaga, who would not be against the creation of a new ELO category (the fourth after classic, rapid and blitz) where this type of competitions would be valued.

"If there is money involved there is always some smart guy who tries to cheat, so I will not play any tournament evaluated for FIDE under these conditions," Iturrizaga has indicated. For his part, Santos has demanded a greater evolution in the anti-cheating systems in order to guarantee that all these competitions are clean and do not incur in any type of electronic doping.

One step further goes Ángel Arribas, who does not like this hybrid system and has highlighted the possible interest that FIDE may have to compensate lost revenue gue to the pandemic. "Classical rating has nothing to do with nothing to do with online rating. The pressure is completely different, especially when playing for an international norm or money. You just can't compare over-the-board games to playing on a computer. The strength of the players is completely different and, in addition, you lose the atmosphere that surrounds the tournaments" he warned.

Regardless of the fact that the chess community seems to be against the evaluation of these tournaments, we will see how a regulation that seeks to adjust the competition to the new times of expansion of the sport evolves, as Cuenca pointed out, "we cannot be three years without competing and, if this were to happen, we would have to adapt to the situation".

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