Lots of fun on playchess.com!

by André Schulz
9/21/2016 – When the playchess.com server went online 15 years ago it changed the way chess was played, trained, and enjoyed. In part two of his memories of 15 years of playchess.com, ChessBase editor André Schulz reflects about the advantages, the pleasure and the fun online chess offers, and shares memories of the many prominent players who visited the ChessBase studio in Hamburg or at international tournaments.

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15 years of playchess.com

15 years ago the playchess.com server went online and gave new impulses to chess. For example, people all over the world could play against people all over the world - 24/7 if they were thus inclined.

The server also offered (and offers) the chance to play against the very top even though they might be far away. When the box champions Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko, both big fans of chess, visited the ChessBase office in Hamburg they played an online game against another Vladimir - Vladimir Kramnik who was just testing the skills of the Fritz program in a widely publicised match.

Vitali und Wladimir Klitschko

However, you could also play online against each other when sitting in the same room.

Distance no object: former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk
and ChessBase editor André Schulz are engrossed in an online battle of chess.
Somehow, Kosteniuk appears to be more confident.

The playchess.com server also changed the way chess is trained. Now a trainer can simply open a board on the server, invite his students and seconds later they can chat and analyse online while talking via skype. A lot of trainers think that the playchess.com server is the best place for effective training if you are not able to meet face-to-face. Which opens up new possibilities for players and talents who live in remote places with hardly any chess infrastructure - they only need an internet connection to improve their chess.

Let's not forget chess entertainment. Soon after playchess.com went online chess fans could follow the games of top tournaments live. Now, you cannot only follow the games from top tournaments but also games from a wide range of tournaments that are played all over the world.

Finally, playchess.com offered chess on TV. In 2003 the "TV ChessBase" program aired for the first time and since then has provided instruction and entertainment to hundreds of thousands of chessplayers, usually on Friday, 5 pm, German time, usually in German and usually from the ChessBase studio in Hamburg. However, sometimes "TV ChessBase" screened directly from big international tournaments such as the Olympiads and invited well-known chess personalities and top players to share their joy of chess.

Sometimes the guests revealed surprising insights into their passions. Nigel Short, for instance, entertained viewers and staff with a virtuoso solo performance on guitar - though, admittedly, some staff members ran for cover during his rehearsal.

Nigel Short as a guest of TV ChessBase, with André Schulz and Oliver Reeh

Highlights from 10 years of TV ChessBase

A lot of young chess fans...

... liked TV ChessBase so much that they were happy to return for another visit...

Magnus Carlsen in Turin (2006, with Yasser Seirawan, above)
and in Dresden (2008, with Frederic Friedel)

But Magnus Carlsen was not the only prominent guest at ChessBase TV:

Valdimir Kramnik (with Pascal Simon and Daniel King)

Levon Aronian (with André Schulz and Oliver Reeh)

Wesley So (with Daniel King)

Of course, the platform TV ChessBase offered, was also used for politics. At the Chess Olympiad in Tromsö 2014, the two candidates for the post of FIDE-president, explained their views to TV ChessBase and its viewers.

Daniel King with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov...

... and Daniel King with Garry Kasparov

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To be continued...

(Translation: Johannes Fischer)

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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