Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chess... A spectator sport?

On the surface chess seems to be just a game that friends may quietly play on a rainy afternoon. This, however, is a very different image of chess than the one I grew up with. My brother, Michael Auger is a chess master and because of this since I was a child I have been exposed to tournaments where the competition between player's wit and strategy was fierce. Children 6 or 7 would sit down to play a game where all they did was predict and calculate, their minds a flurry with the countless possible positions and moves, for hours on end. This I believe may be the reason that my brother has become one of the most creative people I have ever met. Within the last year he has directed his passion into a pursuit to make chess a spectator game. Basically he set up a site where there would be two teams and on each team there would be 5 players. On each team there would be 2 people designated to play 1 min chess games, 1 person who plays a 3 min game, 1 person who would play a 5 min game, and one person who would play a 15 min game. Each game is worth a different amount of points the shorter games are worth less points but are able to play more games in the hour that the competition goes on for. While the games are going on my brother and other members of the team who are also high ranked chess players commentate on the games that are occurring. At 30 min there is an intermission where they may interview the players on each team. Spectators can go on to the site when the games are going on at scheduled times and may watch and listen to the commentators. Along with this viewers are given a chance to choose teams to root for and the scores at the end of each competition are scored and put in a scoreboard section of the site. It is not suprising to me that my brother would have come up with an idea like this. Since we were children he was always coming up with games we could play often to the vast entertainment of my younger brother, cousins, and I. Watching him for all these years it always struck me how passionate he would be about anything he set his mind to. Once my brother started creating something no one could stop him. In this way he is highly intrinsically motivated. Michael will not stop creating until he thinks he has reached perfection and even then he might just keep going because he loves to flourish in what he is creating.. This was shown evident to me in the hours he would spend sitting and working on these projects that he starts whether it be creating songs another passion of his (he made the song in the commercial) or programming websites. Michael is not happy unless he is challenged and the only way he can be challenged is if he is creating something new. Often times he will jump head first into things that he has never done before. When he played chess he never played a better game than when he played against those who were ranked way higher than him. When he started learning to code within the first month I remember he was already trying to create websites. While he is highly intrinsically motivated he has also commented to me that certainly is not his only motivation. While he has a decent job now he hopes to continue on with his passion and eventually make this into a startup business. Another thing that I find uniquely interesting in his creative process is that he loves when he can include others. With his he is constantly trying to recruit players for the teams, he has almost 80 players many of who are pretty high rated in the chess world. Along with this he also has made into a group endeavor by recruiting the help of around 20 different people some chess players and others who are simply interested in getting experience starting a website and business such as my roommate who works in marketing for the site. Michael hopes to continue expanding on this chess site eventually offering video lessons in chess and games for those who want to practice their chess skills online.

Link to the site:
Link to facebook page:

1 comment:

  1. With the increasing popularity of watching "E-Sport" tournaments lately I think your brother had a great idea of spreading this to chess. He should maybe consider opening his website up to other strategy games as well.


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