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    Joined: Sep 2016
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    I am also hopeful that this surge in chess interest will bring new players into the game, and perhaps result in more opportunities for play and competition in areas that currently don't have many. This is not related to Queen's Gambit/popularity, but one silver lining of the pandemic for our family has been that our 7-year-old obsessive chess fanatic suddenly has access to all sorts of chess classes, camps, and tournaments that are now online. We live in a small town with no organized chess activities for kids at all, so this is a huge opportunity for him, and he is loving it! Maybe with increased interest in chess, combined with so many chess schools/orgs learning how to run their classes/competitions online, these opportunities will last beyond the pandemic. Even better, maybe there will be enough interest for smaller towns like ours to have in-person offerings!

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    Chess is a great activity to do online. What does that mean for tournaments going forward? Will it become more of an online event?

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    mithawk Offline OP
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    There are two main reasons for in-person tournaments. The first is socialization, and the second is cheating.

    Chess is not a particularly social activity, but certainly more so than staying cooped up at home. And this actually becomes more important as a player becomes more nationally competitive and there are fewer local players that are challenging.

    Cheating is also unfortunately a consideration. We have seen in-person cheating even for as little as $50 prize money, and the tournament director suspected it was happening for months before he was caught (the telltale sign was that it was an adult player that rose quickly, which rarely happens). It's much harder to see/detect online cheating. It might be only a tiny percentage of players doing this, but they will ruin it for everyone.

    My son has played this year in some of the national tournaments that have gone online. At least one of them required two cameras active at all times, the first being the laptop camera and a second being a phone video stream taken from the side to see if someone is looking at a chess engine while playing.


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    Originally Posted by mithawk
    There are two main reasons for in-person tournaments. The first is socialization, and the second is cheating.

    ... telltale sign was that it was an adult player that rose quickly, which rarely happens.


    DH, who doesn’t at all enjoy socializing, particularly enjoys the deep analyses required for correspondence chess, with games that typically stretch over months. He worked his way up the Oz rankings of the correspondence chess section on chess.com and just joined the US group where he debuted at number 1 in the rankings.

    WRT chess within the broader context of life and earlier posts about memorisation vs analysis, it’s interesting to note that these facets are mirrored in his radiology profession. In tutorials, many young trainees just want to get through a lot of cases and be given the diagnosis for each so that they can develop their pattern recognition skills, whereas DH has a thorough knowledge of anatomy and pathophysiology, so when he sees a ‘soft sign’ indicating the possibility of a disease condition (including incidental finding(s)), he is able to apply extensive reasoning to look for other soft signs to determine disease from artifacts (which abound in diagnostic imaging). He gets a lot of specific requests for his ‘second opinion’ for cases when life or death hang on diagnostic accuracy. A person with great integrity who would never stoop to cheating.

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    EM, what excellent examples of functions where deep abstract reasoning is far more valuable than fluency and volume of output. (Quality over quantity, as is sometimes said.) And so wonderful that your children have a close-up, real-life exemplar of how one's specific form of gifting can be appreciated in the right professional and social circles.


    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...
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    I overheard an interesting discussion this morning between DH and DS who both play blindfold chess. DH plays with full visualisation of an imaginary board (when probed by DS, he says he usually imagines it at an angle from a seated position at a table, but he can easily rotate the image for an aerial view). DS plays solely with the information as data in pgn format, since DH has frequently chatted to DS, for years, about games and chess problems when no boards were handy. I was surprised that father and son played so differently.

    DH has suggested that DS should try visualisation of the board. DS is already quite strong at visuospatial tasks having been a speedcuber and trained for the mathematics Olympiads. I wonder if he will take up DH’s suggestion and whether it will have any benefit for him, at chess and in his chosen field of engineering.

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    mithawk Offline OP
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    I remember a discussion about chess visualization with my son back when he was applying to college, as chess was a key point in one of his essays.

    He said that when he played a tough opponent he might have dozens of complete boards in his head. Some were different variations of the current board several moves ahead, others were him replaying past games that were similar, and others still were famous games he had studied to see if there were lessons there that could be applied here.

    Interestingly, his heart rate during a difficult game is often 120-130, even while completely still. His resting heart rate is below 60.

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    Mithawk, that's quite a huge visualisation load/capacity! Your son probably has the potential to play multiple simultaneous games of blindfold chess if he trained, but it sounds like he has more important things to do with his time.

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    mithawk Offline OP
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    Yeah, chess has taken a back seat due to a combination of being busy with college, and the pandemic resulting in far fewer tournaments until recently.

    But there is a good chance he will end up working in NYC next year, and if so, he will be able to get chess fix as often as he wants.

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