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27.08.2008 // Natalie Mirīnova
Finally it happened! On Saturday August 23, 2008 the First Online Battle Chess Tournament "REAL-Moscow" took place.

Battle Chess In Real Life: First Steps For those who did not get how the tournament was technically held, I will explain. 'Online' means that the games took place in a standard tournament on the www.battle-chess.ru website. 'REAL' means that the players were sitting in front of each other in an Internet caf? and could not use chess robots. We decided that this is enough for the first tournament. In future we are going to add real chessboards where the moves of the players will be replicated, and after that we could go as far as organizing video broadcast.

The preparations for the tournament started long before it began. The most complicated thing was to understand who will actually be able to participate in person. The Battle Chess people of Moscow (more than 150!, of them are registered on the website), were divided into three groups:
  • The ones who could attend but did not want to
  • The ones who wanted attend but were not able to
  • The ones who could and wanted to attend
The last faction was the smallest but the nicest as well. So, by the tournament start there were as many as six players. Hurrah! The tournament will take place! For that reason we rented the coziest Internet caf? of Moscow, located on Strastnoy boulevard.

Battle Chess In Real Life: First Steps In the morning of August 23 there were some disturbing news. The participants seemed to have valid reasons not to attend. By noon we had only three players. However, only AXEL76 and Miron actually attended. After half an hour of waiting and feeling sorry about our sweet Lusy, who did not make it to the caf? that day, we decided to start the game.

Miron: The battle was pretty short and after several annoying mistakes I gladly accepted the draw suggested to me by ALEX176 in a gentlemanly way.
Shem: Now let us introduce the champion of the first Battle Chess tournament. It's AXEL176, aka Andrey Shestakov. A very charming, and, it appears, the most fearless player on our portal.
Shem: Andrey, if you joined the real-life tournament, you must be from Moscow?
AXEL76: Since recently - yes. But actually I am from Uzhgorod, Ukraine.
Shem: Have you been playing chess since school?
AXEL76: Since a little earlier - since four years old. My dad taught me.
Shem: Tell us about your achievements in chess.
AXEL76: I always loved quick chess. Probably that is why I became a champion of Zakarpatye oblast in quick chess in 2000. In 2001 I was third on the same tournament with classical chess. I am a Candidate in Master of Sports since 1996. As a part of our strong-knit and cheerful Uzhgorod team I take part in many different competitions.
Shem: Andrey, was it difficult to come to the tournament?
AXEL76: A little bit, but the interest was bigger.
Shem: We are very glad to meet you. Will you attend the next tournament?
AXEL76: Sure. The whole thing has began. I think there will be more players in the future and, possibly, in some time it will be possible to speak about regional, national and World championships.
Miron: We have no doubts about that - this is just a question of time! And how fast it will happen depends directly on how active our chess players are in the REAL series tournaments.

We and Andrey tried to think why so few people attended the tournament. We only counted the people who are interested in the website. So we made some conclusions, and let psychologists forgive us:

Reason 1: Fear. The people are used to Internet where you only talk when you want, about the topic you want and with the people you want. And it is not necessary even to say your name. This is a great advantage of the Internet - you don't have to force yourself. However, according to the law of dialectics, this is the biggest disadvantage as well - not everybody can dare bring it all to the real life, because the impression you produce on the Net can be very different from what it is in real life.

Reason 2: Yes, the chess robots. I think that some people are a little bit afraid to play without them. What if you lose? They will laugh at you, won't they?

Reason 3 (no psychology here). This was the last real weekend in August. It's sunny! It's warm! You still can swim. And it's not yet high time we prepared kids for school. Let's go to the dacha on Friday and have a nice weekend there. And the crazy organizers try to hold a tournament. When?! During a nice Saturday. Where?! In the very center of the car-filled capital! No thanks, I'll do it next time when it's colder or the rains begin.

Two days later we were able to meet our dear and famous on many Russian websites Lusy, who was in the capital on an unofficial friendly visit.

We pondered on the reasons above with her and we came to the same conclusions. After rethinking them, we would like to say: Our portal is open for all categories of players and we will try to do it in such a way that every participant of our project could find exactly what they need here.

In fact, this is why we strive to create different types of tournaments and functions to give all players an opportunity to express themselves in the chess life aspect of their choice. All people are different and someone can be a good runner while someone else can be a good cyclist, but this is not the reason to blame the cyclist for fast movement. You just have to give the cyclist and the runner different tracks. And our main task is to create the conditions for that.

However, the tournament took place and we say many thanks to the participants. I think that we all will meet and play a fair chess game many times. Believe me - this is not scary at all, but, in fact, interesting and warm-hearted. Probably because we really have nice people. We await your suggestions on next tournaments.

Sincerely yours,
Natalie Mirīnova
(Shem)

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