Thursday, August 23, 2012

Following the Olympiad

In this age of the internet it is easy to follow events in a variety of ways. The London Olympics was covered excellently on social media sites like twitter and facebook with pictures and video uploaded, results posted regularly and promptly, and even reactions from the athletes themselves posted soon after their competitions (or sometimes before!).

The 40th chess Olympiad, to be held in Istanbul is scheduled to start on 27th August with the first round the following day. The tournament is an 11 round swiss with the last round on the 9th September. There is an open section and a women's Olympiad (as well as numerous side events), and while each of us has our favourites, I will be hoping for good performances from the Australians and English. There is also a youth Olympiad taking place at the same time in Istanbul though earlier in the day, so the young players can watch the superstars playing!

So how to follow the action online? Well, there are a host of great news sites that will cover the event. As I'm interested in the English team, my first stop will be Mark Crowther's The Week In Chess. I also expect excellent personal coverage with photos and video from Alexandra Kosteniuk's blog. And full round up's and commentary can usually be found on the chessbase news site. There are plenty more, but these are the 3 that I regularly use to keep abreast of news.

Probably the best thing about the internet is following the games live (or with a slight time delay). But where can the games be viewed? The Official site should have a live games page though I don't see one set up yet. But probably the best place to watch the games is on the playing sites ICC or Playchess. These are both premium sites which require paid registration, but a 1 week free trial for new members is available. I'm a member of ICC and will watch some games broadcast there. As well as the games, there is radio commentary from Grandmasters and discussion of the games as they are happening (though this can become a bit annoying and distracting from the games themselves).  There are other live sites including TWIC and Chessdom.

A recent discovery for me has been Twitter. To be honest, I never really understood what it was about but I made a big effort to work it out and have found it to be very useful in finding new information. For instance, I follow certain posters who write about subjects that I find interesting, such as History, Photography, and of course, Chess. A lot of the top players use social network sites, and I currently follow Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergey Karjakin and Maguns Carlsen (apparently he was playing basketball in New York earlier today!) though I will start following some of the top English and Aussie players. There are also some great commentators who use Twitter, of which Mig Greengard is among the best (plenty of Kasparov news).

I think it promises to be a great event with a number of strong teams fighting for the top places. But it will be a great experience for all the players. There's likely to be about 160 countries represented with the minnows from Nepal being the latest to be announced!

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