There I was, just beginning to get a grip on the regular weekend matches in the Catalan chess league. Not that I mean I was winning more, just that I was becoming used to the idea of playing a game within a one and a half hour time-frame. I’ve played a few games of chess each year since I was young and joining a club when I moved to Catalunya was an interesting experience, mostly involving losing to everyone in sight. Then came the CoViD-19 or coronavirus.
All leagues games stopped, no in-person meetings for non-essential activities and services. We could go shopping, and to the hospital, but no more chatting at the local bar with a few pals. As chess withdrawal symptoms began to set in across Catalunya, eventually the Catalan chess league and their associates, finally realized there was an alternative: ONLINE CHESS.
A suite of local invitation-only tournaments were promptly set up, partially to replace the offline league. There was an extra benefit for me, as the EnroCat Arena being one of the new online chess tournaments, and hosted at the most excellent and opensource lichess site, was aimed at less-skilled players of 1500 ELO points and under. This definitely included me as although I’d been playing against more advanced opponents, my loss rate was high, so this opportunity of playing people more or less around my own level, including some from my local UEC (Cambrils chess club), was eagerly snapped up.
Well, I’ve played in 3 matches so far, these have been Blitz tournaments of a maximum of 5 minutes each game, and my rating rose and fell as you’d expect. The first match taking a huge hit of nearly 500 points, and then beginning to climb slowly back up the slope. A few wins, a few losses, a few draws. It’s actually quite a lot of fun, as the games are short enough to allow one to experiment a bit as well as play different people at different levels. The matches are also designed so that, as your rating rises and falls, you are paired with other people at approximately your level. This gives the run of games variety and makes things more interesting.
Online chess? I’d recommend it!