Over the past
few years there has been a lot said about presenting cc
games "live" and, as a result of the lively discussion
(primarily on TCCMB),
my opinions have changed and been clarified. Here I would
like to outline my view of the situation as I understand
it. I would also like to make some recommendations on
how to proceed.
interest was in presenting my personal games at The
Campbell Report. When a new move arrived I updated
my "live" games page showing the new moves and position.
You can see my first efforts at http://jfcampbell.us/CampbellReport/diaryxxx.htm
Later I displayed
some games for other players. In some of this coverage
I provided a link to Java Replay, allowing readers to
play through the games on screen. Examples of this can
be seen at:
At the beginning
some nicities didn't even occur to me. Asking opponents
for permission ... informing opponents of the display
... providing any delay before posting the moves ... all
these things have been brought up in discussions. The
atmosphere of discussion has often been intense. However
presented, though, many important elements of "live" coverage
were mentioned and must, I believe, be considered in designing
any display of "live" games.
Game Displays? What
are the motivations for displaying cc games "live"? What
are the important considerations?
at your personal web site, or on the website of a
friend or organization, many people enjoy showing
their current games. And why not? Most of us enjoy
our games and are pleased to share them with others.
We may also take pride in the quality of our play.
Showing our games to others may just be a natural
outgrowth of our love of the game and the competition.
I think this is a healthy sign for our art/sport/science.
When people love the game enough to expend the effort
required to get their games posted, and when they
are willing to risk exposing their potential mistakes/blunders
to the whole world, then they have their hearts in
the right place. I can add that displaying games "live"
is a big commitment requiring a tremendous effort
over a prolonged period of time. I say this from personal
experience. Such actions are admirable!
of "live" coverage speak of the promotional value
of "live" coverage. I know that the "live" coverage
of cc games at my site has attracted a lot of "hits"
from readers. It seems clear it can promote individual
web sites. There is some anecdotal evidence that "live"
coverage has attracted some OTB (over the board) to
trying out cc. For me the evidence hasn't been convincing
that new players are attracted to cc by these displays,
but I suspect there has been at least some such value.
Maybe we could have some more scientific approach
to studying the promotional value, but there can be
no doubt that "live" coverage of cc games is both
fun and interesting.
having your moves posted affect your competitive situation?
Some strong players have pointed out several disadvantages
of having their moves made public. Here is the viewpoint
of Stephen Ham from his January 9, 2004 TCCMB
posting (reprinted here with his permission). Note
that he has edited it slightly and added a paragraph
for use in this article.
said! I have friends on both sides of this argument.
Naturally I respect their conflicting views. Nonetheless,
I'm opposed to any live broadcast or even delayed
broadcast of my games.
I'm not a GM, like the scenario that you mentioned,
Alan, I still want privacy for my games. I work
long and hard to find theoretical improvements for
my CC games (OK, some of my ideas backfire). I spend
a lot of money to buy books to help me, I put forth
time and effort. So it seems terribly unjust that
some viewer, who put forth zero-effort, can then
have access to the results of my money and time
and energy (not to mention blood, sweat, and tears).
don't want to sound special. Most of the world might
quite rightfully laugh at the product of my labors.
But I'm proud of what I've done and I don't want
my efforts, regardless of their merit (or probable
lack), merely given away to complete strangers who
invested nothing. That just makes these people leeches,
and I feel it makes me victimized.
I'm fooling myself about this. Maybe I'm living
in a fantasy world. Maybe everybody will eventually
find my games anyhow (assuming there's any merit
to them at all). But if they do find them, then
I think that they should put forth some effort to
do so (e.g. buy Tim Harding's wonderful CC CD's,
a Category VIII tournament right now. The TD sent
us an update of all the completed games. However,
rather than merely copying us 16-players, he seems
to have copied everybody in the CC world, including
commercial interests, such as Chess Mail!
While I have personal biases in favor of Tim's Chess
Mail (please subscribe to it!), I question who
gave the TD the right to give away our games to
anybody? They aren't his games to give away.
another experience. I was in a World Championship
Semi-Final group. One high rated opponent was showing
his games "live" on his web site, without permission.
That's when I noticed that a game of his was identical
to a game I had. It's likely that my low-rated opponent
was watching that game "live" to see how he should
respond against me. So I asked my opponent to cease
showing our game on his web site. The result - the
low rated opponent now had no reference material,
and he quickly deviated from my game line.
benefit by seeing other people's games? Sure I do.
Did those players whose games I now have access
to, consent to give away their game's scores? What
if they didn't? What if they're as opposed to the
practice as I am? Then I think that those scores
shouldn't be in the public domain immediately (I
do think that high-quality games should be preserved
for posterity, but suggest a delay period).
whole business gets very complex, though, because
it takes two to create a game. And neither player
holds a copyright to it. So is the game theirs individually,
or do they only share 50%/50% rights to the game?
Does the winner have the right, by virtue of his/her
victory to display it anywhere? Since it's an ICCF
game, does it belong to ICCF too? Can they do what
they want with it without permission from the players?
I don't have answers - I'm just thinking out loud
and hoping to generate some thought. I know this
has been discussed before without resolution.
of Speech Issue
individual wishes to posted her/his moves, why should
anyone prevent it? Must we first ask for permission
to publish a game "live"? Perhaps at a future time
posting games "live" will be considered in the same
category as submitting the game with annotations for
publication. I don't think it is common to ask your
opponent's permission before doing that. With the
advent of chess servers, showing games "live" is sure
to become easier. But do we have the right to do so?
- The "Amici
in ICCF have a motto ... Amici Sumus ... which should
direct our actions and words. It means "We are Friends".
Sometimes we forget this in the heat of the moment.
However, I believe this motto should be the guiding
principle in all our cc actions. The issue of "live"
coverage has caused a lot of contention. Some believe
that there is no need to consult our opponent before
going "live". I believe there is some validity to
the arguments, but I won't discuss them here. The
important issue of Amici Sumus should override any
such discussion, in my opinion.
to the principle of Amici Sumus leaves plenty of room
for the practice of posting "live" coverage of cc
games and events. Some useful guidelines are already
in use. The following doesn't contain anything really
original, but perhaps it will be useful to list them
public events should be planned to provide instant
"live" coverage, such as GM vs. the world. These events
can be very good for promoting correspondence chess.
There are a lot of possibilities here, and I believe
innovative people will find many excellent ways to
use this tool in their efforts to promote our game.
- In the
name of Amici Sumus no game should be displayed "live"
without the knowledge/permission of both players.
I suggest this can be accomplished as follows.
- In the
case of future tournaments, this possibility should
be considered from the beginning by the organizers.
Specific events should be planned as "live" events.
When a participant enters the event, it should be
stated clearly that the event will be covered "live".
Thus the players will know before the games that
the games will be displayed "live" and there can
be no reason for complaint.
- In the
case of individuals wanting to post their personal
games "live", it seems reasonable to me to request
the permission of opponents and only post the games
where permission is granted. Of course, this may
not be necessary in the future if posting games
"live" becomes commonplace and people come to expect
this as a possibility. For now, though, the expectation
that games will not be published "live" is understandable
and should be observed by all parties. I believe
many people would grant permission, but we should
respect the wishes of those who choose not to grant
- If "live"
coverage becomes automated for games played on a
server, then the tournament administrator should
be able to set options for (1) the tournament to
be viewed "live", (2) the tournament to be viewed
"live" for all players giving permission, or (3)
the tournament will not be displayed "live". For
tournaments not advertised ahead of time as being
shown "live" the individual players should have
options (1) my games in this event may be shown
"live" or (2) no "live" display for this event.
Comments and Observations
"live" coverage is sensational! It's fun to share our
games with others, it's interesting to follow the games
of our friends, teammates and top players/top events.
There are some great opportunities to promote and popularize
our game with "live" coverage. The coming ICCF server
may make it easy to publish games "live" in the future,
if not at the beginning then later through some upgrades.
In the future people will become more accustomed to
seeing "live" coverage. The capability of viewing the
other games going on in our events will add interest
to these events. At the moment, when so many players
have the expectation that their games will not be shown
"live", we should be guided by Amici Sumus and have
permission before posting any "live" coverage.
the "ICCF 50 years World Champions Jubilee Tournament"
show how compelling and entertaining "live" coverage
can be. If properly publicized this sort of event should
bring a lot of attention to correspondence chess and
help recruit new players. Of course, we don't need hundreds
of these events going at once, but a selection of such
events could be very attractive to viewers. Perhaps
each National Federation of ICCF could highlight one
major event by providing "live" coverage.
I would like
to see ICCF establish and publish guidelines for "live"
coverage. Just as ICCF rules of play have established
standards in our community, "live" game coverage guidelines
could establish rules for "live" coverage for National
Federations and other publishers of "live" games. ICCF
has a leadership position in our cc community, so taking
a lead in this area seems natural to me. There are already
some clear ideas, such as the 3-move delay.
promotional value of "live" coverage seems obvious,
it's not enough to simply publish the games. A few of
us try to provide links to the coverage (see http://jfcampbell.us/CampbellReport/clinks.htm#cclive),
but without a serious attempt to attract viewers from
the people we want to promote cc to, then the promotional
value will be minimal. For example, the "ICCF 50 years
World Champions Jubilee Tournament" mentioned above
was a real gift to the ICCF community, but as a promotional
event I think it had very limited success. Was it mentioned
on TWIC? Did any of the top chess web sites publicize
it? Perhaps I just missed it, but I don't recall any
such publicity. This doesn't mean it was a failure ...
many of us followed the games with great interest. The
coverage was excellent. Perhaps a spectacular promotional
opportunity was missed, though.
of events is just one possibility for promoting correspondence
chess. We can certainly use this tool as part of an
overall plan to attract new chess players to correspondence
chess. Right now it is a shotgun approach, with a few
individuals posting "live" games and a few major events
being shown "live". We need a more comprehensive program
of promoting correspondence chess if our sport is to
survive and prosper. There is no reason it shouldn't
do so ... cc is a fabulous activity. Many of the people
I know in the cc world have been playing for years ...
it is an activity for a lifetime. "Live" chess is a
fascinating and compelling way to showcase cc, and if
it is presented well it could bring in a lot of new
players. "Live" coverage adds to our enjoyment of the
game. It has a lot going for it.