Chess in the QLASH house

5/6/2021 – The Mitropa Cup 2021 is the first major team tournament that is played as a hybrid tournament. The players of the ten teams that take part in the tournament play from their home countries but meet in a central place where they play online, watched by arbiters. For the Italian team the Mitropa Cup is already a success: they play in a very modern, almost futuristic location - an eGaming house.

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Is Italy taking chess to the next level?

Press Release by QLASH

The Mitropa Cup Hybrid 2021 has started and although the games have shown how players haven’t lost their habits playing standard chess, let’s focus for a moment on the venues. As this edition is still influenced by the global pandemic, federations have been asked to find a suitable location for the event. This means having all players together in a single room equipped with computers, a high-efficiency internet connection, and any other facility that can make players comfortable.

As the first round started, people began to share pictures of the venues and the Italian teams seemed to be playing in some kind of spaceship or futuristic space. They all shared the same room with individual stations and bright colors that popped from every perspective.

The cockpits, still without players

So were they playing from some kind of NASA station? No, they were in the QLASH House. As chess is getting closer to the e-sports field, the Italian Chess Federation has signed a partnership with the national leading e-sports company. After all, we’re talking about e-chess!

Then, what’s the QLASH House?

The QLASH House is one of the largest gaming houses in Europe. Equipped for any activity, not only for the training of gamers but also for the needs of the staff: digital whiteboards, screens, projectors, the ability to record games, view them, observe every move of individual players. On this occasion, gamers have left the floor to chess players allowing them to play in the best location they’ve ever had.

There is also a proper stage, with lights, desks and cameras, for a full broadcast experience for events and tournaments, as it is happening for the Mitropa Cup as there’s a livestreaming for the Italian audience.

Sneak peek: In the QLASH House, you can also find a gym! It’s very similar to an amusement park for every computer/e-sport geek!

What is QLASH?

QLASH was founded in 2017 by Luca Pagano and Eugene Katchalov. It is a 360° media company, in a few years more than 100 esport pro players and influencers have joined QLASH, competing in international tournaments and producing engaging content for millions of followers.

In 2020 as QLASH has grown and has enlarged its limits, it got more and more interested in chess. Shortly after, at the beginning of this year, QLASH announced the QLASH_Chessteam: a group of top-level Italian chess players who will play, comment and promote chess among the internet communities. So far, QLASH has spread in several countries such as Spain, Egypt, Ukraine, and Malta.

How did the national chess federation and QLASH meet?

The QLASH_Chess team is composed of players who are or have been playing in the Italian team and as they were so passionate about this e-chess project, it didn’t take long for the news to get to the newly elected President Mr. Luigi Maggi’s ears.

Arranging the Italian section of the Mitropa Cup in the QLASH_House was the best choice: large spaces, high-efficiency computers, and a team of people working at their best to ease the players’ hard duty.

We can all agree by saying that so far Italy has won the prize for the best location, at some points, it could be also suggested to host all the hybrid chess events in the QLASH_House!


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genem genem 5/7/2021 10:01
@malfa wrote { "no more than a videogame" }
This seems like a mistake claim.

Almost all video games are Analog competitions, not Digital competitions. For instance, it matters very much just how precisely can you move your joystick, or how quickly can you press your trigger button, when our two characters suddenly face each other.

In contrast, chess is a Digital sport. It does not matter whether I move my knight in an L-shaped motion versus a diagonal motion. It is merely a binary measure, I either move 1. Nf3<g1 or I don't (XSAN notation is better than LAN or SAN in many formats). This Digital nature is why the WWWeb is a fantastic win for chess, but not a fantastic win for soccer matches between Manchester United and their next opponent.

Many amateur chess enthusiasts live in cities where medium or large size chess tournament either never occur, or occur only a couple times per year. While traveling long distances to chess tournaments can be fun, such travel is always expensive and inconvenient. The result is that many amateur chess players rarely play in any rated classical chess tournaments. Instead, they content themselves with blitz chess over the Web.

This QLASH design has players who live near each other gather together locally, to play another set of players who gather at a far away city. The two gathered sets of players then play each other in classical chess, under secure rate-able conditions. One evil chess player sitting alone might cheat by using a chess engine, but it is much harder to cheat when 7 other players are sitting in the same room with you. And it is extremely hard to whisper - "Hey, you want to collude and cheat with me in this chess tournament?' - and get all to agree, all without anybody reporting your cheating.

Unfortunately, this tournament design has not been adopted by chess federations, or by chess organizers, beyond a few specialty events for chess masters. This remains an untapped growth opportunity.
malfa malfa 5/6/2021 12:31
The official acknowledgement that chess has become no more than a videogame. Which better location to undescore this?