Successful baptism of fire for Supreme tournament 55

Authentic game feeling and more concentration during online play

Ever since the streaming service Netflix broadcast its most successful series to date, “Queen’s Gambit,” in the fall of 2020, just in time for the second global Corona lockdown, the whole world has been in chess fever. Online platforms such as chess.com and chess24.com in particular have enjoyed strong growth in user numbers ever since. But the online game has one big disadvantage: it lacks the authentic feeling of playing on a real board. And it’s not just hobby players who want the haptic experience; the tournament scene is also tired of having to play their games on screens. After all, concentration suffers when you play for several hours on the screen or have to take your eyes off the board again and again to transfer moves from the board to the screen and vice versa.

New since Corona: the hybrid tournament format

In hybrid tournaments, games are played via online platforms such as Tornelo.com or Lichess.org. Teams gather locally, minimizing the time and cost of travel. At the same time, on-site referees ensure that there is no cheating. For hybrid tournaments, there is now a set of rules from the international chess federation FIDE. Competitions such as the Mitropa Cup and the World Cup Qualification have already been held hybrid. The format has therefore arrived on the tournament scene and brings so many simplifications for the organizers and clubs that it will in all likelihood continue to establish itself. In order for electronic chess boards to be officially approved by FIDE in hybrid tournaments, further tests – for example in blitz chess tournaments – are necessary.

Berlin wins, but the winner of the evening is called Supreme Tournament 55.

This is not the odd name of a player, but the name of the chess board. Because it was for its baptism of fire that the exhibition match between TSV Mariendorf 1897 (Berlin) and Schachunion Ebersberg-Grafing (Bavaria) was initiated by Millennium in the first place.  The two teams played a hybrid tournament on four boards at the end of July. The Berliners were in their clubhouse, the Ebersbergers in Millennium’s Aschheim headquarters. In the end, the Berliners won the tournament 3.5:0.5. But more importantly, technically the match went off without incident, with everyone enjoying the wooden boards and hand-carved pieces.

What makes the Millennium board different from others?

The most obvious difference to competitor boards are the LEDs on the chessboard. Each square can be displayed using 4 LEDs. Millennium already uses this technology in chess computers to display the opponent’s or computer’s moves. The player then executes them without having to take his eyes off the board. In addition, the Millennium Board transmits the moves directly to the platform. No further intermediate step or even manual intervention is required. Pleasant to the touch: the board and the figures are made entirely of real wood.

What’s next?

After this success, it is now possible to think in larger dimensions: The next official hybrid tournaments are already scheduled for fall 2021. The organizers have already expressed interest in allowing participants to play on the real board. Together with the operators of the tournament platform Tornelo, Millennium has already set its sights on the next events.

“We want to enable all online players – whether at a tournament, in a club or at home – to have an authentic chess experience on a real board. The successful live test is a very important milestone on the way there. Now we will be part of the official tournament operation and soon equip international competitions,” underlines Max Hegener, CEO of MILLENNIUM.

BerlinDie Ebersberger Spieler in Aschheim
81 LEDs move indication

Was unterscheidet das Millennium Brett von anderen?

Den augenfälligsten Unterschied zu Konkurrenzbrettern bilden die LEDs auf dem Schachfeld. Jedes Feld kann anhand von 4 LEDs angezeigt werden. Millennium setzt diese Technologie bereits bei Schachcomputern ein, um die Züge des Gegners bzw. Computers anzuzeigen. Der Spieler führt diese dann aus, ohne dass er dafür seinen Blick vom Brett abwenden müsste. Außerdem überträgt das Millennium Brett die Spielzüge direkt an die Plattform. Es wird kein weiterer Zwischenschritt oder gar ein manueller Eingriff benötigt. Angenehm in der Haptik: das Brett und die Figuren sind komplett aus Echtholz gefertigt.

Wie geht es weiter?

Nach diesem Erfolg kann nun in größeren Dimensionen gedacht werden: Die nächsten offiziellen Hybrid-Turniere stehen bereits im Herbst 2021 an. Seitens der Veranstalter wurde bereits Interesse bekundet, den Teilnehmern das Spiel am echten Brett ermöglichen zu wollen. Gemeinsam mit den Betreibern der Turnierplattform Tornelo hat Millennium bereits die nächsten Veranstaltungen ins Auge gefasst.

„Wir möchten allen Online-Spielern – sei es beim Turnier, im Verein oder zuhause – ein authentisches Schacherlebnis am echten Brett ermöglichen. Der erfolgreiche Live-Test ist ein sehr wichtiger Meilenstein auf dem Weg dorthin. Jetzt werden wir Teil des offiziellen Turnierbetriebs und bald internationale Wettkämpfe ausstatten.“, unterstreicht Max Hegener, CEO von MILLENNIUM.

Learn more about Supreme Tournament 55