Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2020 World Chess Candidates Tournament in Ekaterinburg, Russia has been temporarily halted after Russia planned to suspend international flights. 8 grandmasters were taking each other on in a quest to face world champion, Magnus Carlsen. However, the tournament could not be continued after seven rounds owing to the global pandemic. In this scenario, World Chess, the official commercial partner of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), is planning to conduct the games online by integrating blockchain technology.
Chess -The Gentleman’s Game
Ilya Merenzon, CEO of FIDE commented, “Unlike other sports, chess can be played with equal excitement offline and online. That is something that sets it apart from all the other major sports. In the absence of other major sporting events, the Candidates Tournament received unprecedented press coverage this time around.”
Despite being considered as the gentleman’s game, chess players have been heard of resorting to cheating activities like bathroom breaks, fake game records, chess engines, etc. To curb such incidents, the organizing committee is planning to implement blockchain technology if the tournament is played online.
Blockchain-Powered Anti-Cheating Mechanism
Merenzon is of the opinion that blockchain technology has the potential to mitigate cheating possibilities in chess. Through an anti-cheating engine, the FIDE is looking forward to recording a pile of data in a decentralized server. This data includes the timestamp, players’ biometrics, chess engine evaluation, etc.
As per reports, if the tournament is ultimately shifted online, then this technology would definitely be in place. The FIDE has been working on the anti-cheating engine for quite some time now and is expected to launch it soon.
The FIDE confirmed that the 2020 Chess Candidates Tournament has been postponed to a later date. While any specific time frame has not yet been disclosed, it is expected that the tournament will resume once the Coronavirus situation stabilizes.
It is fair to say that, if chess adopts blockchain to retain integrity in the sport, then it will be a major step towards the adoption of blockchain technology in the sports industry.