Hybrid Chess celebrates its debut

by Stefan Löffler
2/25/2021 – Necessity is the mother of invention! Since the Corona crisis has limited travel possibilities, and many people don't want to play only online blitz and rapid chess, hybrid chess was created. On February 21 and February 22, the four cities of Barcelona, Malmö, Oslo and Bratislava played the first official Hybrid Chess tournament, the Hybrid Cities Cup. Almost like the old days...

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Barcelona wins first official Hybrid Chess tournament

Hybrid Chess is a new form of referee-supervised competition that has recently been officially recognised by FIDE and that is Elo-rated. The players are in public places, but the games are played over the internet. Last weekend, the first official and FIDE-rated Hybrid Chess tournament took place.

Teams from four cities played matches on four boards with classical time control. The increment was 35 seconds instead of the usual 30 seconds as the players had to make the moves for their opponents on their own board. Electronic DGT boards were used and the games were played online on Lichess. Eleven grandmasters took part and all of them were asked to answer a questionnaire.

Axel Smith, Swedish Grandmaster and climate activist, calculated that the carbon footprint of the hybrid event was more than 93% less than if one city had hosted the event while the other three teams would have flown to that city.

The winning team from Barcelona (GMs Edouard, Alvar, Peralta, Narciso Dublan and Moskalenko) played from the office of the Catalan Chess Federation, Bratislava from the Mayor's Palace, Malmö from the Hipp Theatre and Oslo from the Offerspill Chess Club, founded in 2019 by Magnus Carlsen.

For 2020, the Catalan Chess Federation had planned a hybrid open with tournament venues worldwide, but due to the second wave of the pandemic this tournament had to be cancelled. The chess industry news site ChessTech.org promotes the concept of hybrid chess, and it also coordinated the pioneering event in collaboration with the Catalan Chess Federation, the Slovak Chess Federation, Sigeman Chess Malmö and the Offerspill Chess Club Oslo.

A second Hybrid Cities Cup is planned for March 13 and March 14, to build on the experience of the first event. Organisers who have a safe venue and a 2400+ rated team are welcome to apply. 

Final standings

Rg. Team  Tb1 
1 Barcelona 6
2 Bratislava 3
3 Malmö 2
4 Oslo 1




Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

Stefan Löffler writes the Friday chess column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and succeeds Arno Nickel as editor of the Chess Calendar. For ChessBase the International Master reports from his adopted country Portugal.


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