02 November 2016

World Championship Broadcasting

How will I watch the World Championship? Let me count the ways.

First, let's have some links. My previous post, World Championship Affiliates, links to my permanent page, 2016 Carlsen - Karjakin, which links to the official site, nyc2016.fide.com. What's the schedule for the match? The official site doesn't present that info in a friendly way, so I made a little calendar. It also doesn't mention the start time, but I found the info on the site for ticket sales, where each day says, 'Show 1:30 PM'. [Later: Other sites are reporting 2:00 PM, so I'll go with that.]

(Game start 14:00, New York time)

Where can I watch the match? My 'Affiliates' post quoted a press release from Agon, that left me scratching my head. Fortunately, I found an explanation on Chess.com: Agon Limits Carlsen-Karjakin Relays To Official Widget (18 October 2016). It starts,

In an attempt to distribute their product as widely as possible while restricting unauthorized world championship relays, Agon will be providing a widget for chess websites that want to broadcast the games from the upcoming world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin.

Even that explanation wasn't entirely clear, but the comments clarified matters. The first comment asked,

Using-Name: Will there be commentary on the free (non-premium) broadcast? They have a Q&A that suggests only computer analysis is included with the widget. In any case, given that Agon claims a (vast) monopoly on anyone doing live commentary, what languages will they provide?

A Chess.com staff member replied,

FM MikeKlein: To answer the initial question by @using-name, I can confirm that I asked [Agon's] Merenzon this question in Baku, and the commenters are correct. Without paying for the premium upgrade, no live commentary will be available. The widget is just live moves and clock times, no computer analysis, etc. I don't have any answer about the languages to be offered.

Another commenter added,

CM Nutflush: You won't see [the match] on chess.com ... if they sign-up for the widget deal then they can't offer their own commentary. Good time to check-out Chess24 folks!

To which the author of the Chess.com article replied,

PeterDoggers: Our general philosophy is the same as Chess24's: we're not a fan of limiting the relay of live games. We too feel that the moves of a chess game should be considered in the public domain as soon as they've been played. However, we also feel we should follow our lawyers' advice which apparently was different from their lawyers' advice.

Doggers had mentioned another important point in that same Chess.com article:-

The [Agon] widget is directly related to the turmoil which arose during the Candidates' Tournament in March. Back then, Agon surprised the chess world by announcing that the games would be shown exclusively on its website. Any website that transmitted the games live would face legal action.

Three major chess websites that decided to ignore Agon's threats -- Chessbomb.com, Chess24.com and Chessgames.com -- are being sued. Agon is seeking 20 million rubles (€288.275 or $317,000) in damages from each of the sites.

Will any of those three sites go up against Agon for the Carlsen - Karjakin match? We'll find out next week. Lawsuits can be expensive to fight even when you've done nothing wrong.

The official site for the match offers 'live online broadcasting' for the entire match for $15. That's certainly a reasonable price and I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the only way to pay was with a credit card and I'm not willing to give credit card information to a commercial group with Russian roots. No Paypal, no Bitcoin, no deal.

How will I watch the World Championship? I won't. Just like in the old days, I'll find out the next day what happened.


Anonymous said...

Here's an answer to one of your questions:
chess24 win Moscow case, announce New York line-up

Mark Weeks said...

Yes, congratulations to the entire Chess24.com team!