ChessBase live broadcast – in case you haven't noticed

by Frederic Friedel
3/3/2017 – We have some very interesting new functionality on our news page. On the right you see a list of "Live Tournaments" – these are events that are currently or were recently broadcast on Playchess. A single click takes you to a luxury broadcast page where you can follow the most important games, or replay all of them from the event, analysing them with engine assistance. But best of all: you can load deep realtime analysis and find out instantly what happened. All on different devices, without ever leaving the news page!

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One click to live tournaments

When you go to our news page these days you will see some new functionality:

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"Hot Topics", on the right of the featured story, gives you instant access to all recent articles on a specific subject (usually tournaments).

The function that interests us today is "Live Tournaments". There you see the events that are being currently covered on Playchess (the ones with the radio mast are live).

Of couse you can fire up your Playchess client, ChessBase, Fritz, etc., or go to our Live Broadcast page, but you can also simply click on one of the tournament, e.g. the Women's World Chess Championship, which is currently under way in Tehran.

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This takes you directly to a Playchess live broadcast page, with the most recent game – one that is being broadcast live in the above screen shot – and two others displayed. You can click on the small boards to get the notation in the window on the right, or on a game in the list to transfer it to the larger board.

You probably know that you can move pieces on the replay boards to analyse, and even start an engine to help you. You can maximize the replayer, auto-play, flip the board and even change the piece style in the bar below the board. At the bottom of the notation window on the right there are buttons for editing (delete, promote, cut lines, unannotate, undo, redo) save, play out the position against Fritz and even embed our JavaScript replayer on your web site or blog. Hovering the mouse over any button will show you its function.

At the bottom of the replay page you have a list of all the rounds of the tournament. You can click any one of them to see just the games from that round – or click on "All" to have all the games listed below the board. Below the rounds you have other live or recent events which you can click to switch to them.

Now comes a very interesting option: Analysis. In the above event, the Women's World Championship, our live broadcast says that a total of 186 games are available with with analysis. Click on that and scroll to the bottom (most recent games):

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How did Tan Zhongyi beat Anna Muzychuk in game two of their match, to take the lead? Click on that game and it will appear on the board, together with full commentary.

Of great interest is the evaluation bar below the notation: it shows you where the decisive part of the game occurred. If you click on it, as we have done above, the replayer jumps to the relevant position. So with just a few clicks you have loaded a tournament, retrieved an interesting game and located the decisive part – and that with full analysis.

How is all of this done: the annotation of live events in real time? Well, we have a Ukrainian IM sitting in the ChessBase office, ferociously annotating hundreds of games while they are being played. Just kidding! Actually the analysis is the product of 18 different programs on 16 servers that are working together to provide the live broadcast. Many of these servers, like the ones providing player portraits, or the Live Book information, are not being used to full capacity all of the time. In the periods where they have nothing to do we have instructed them to load a game from the live broadcast and analyse it with a very powerful chess engine. The result is posted in the "Analysis" list.

Note that the comments are in natural language: "If only Black now had time for ...Ke6" is actually a machine generated annotation. Just in the above game, Tan-Muzychuk 6.2, we find "Rd1+ is the strong threat", "And now ...Rf8 would win" and "Endgame KRN-KRN". Is this the future: machines explaining games to us humans, patiently and in our own language?

Because we have been enjoying this all week here are some more examples:

This is a game from the Aeroflot tournament (click to enlarge). When we loaded the machine analysed version we noticed that White was winning steadily, but at one stage there is a gap in the evaluation bar.

Clicking on the blank in the evaluation bar will show you what happened: Black could have played 39...Qb8! and got away with a draw. Instead he played 39...Qa7? and allowed White to win.

This is another example of finding interesting games and jumping to the decisive position with just a couple of clicks. How did the Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja, rated 2465, beat GM Emilio Cordova , 90 points his superior? You click on the evaluation profile to get a full explanation.

That's it for today – we hope you enjoy the new functionality of the ChessBase news page. And make good use of it. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.