Tornelo v. Chess.com

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Before I share some feedback, I want to give you some context.

It’s important to realise how DIFFERENT these two platforms are. Tournament Organisers, like anyone, need to use the right tool for the job. A hammer will always be frustrating if you are trying to screw a desk together.

Mega-portals are outstanding for individual players wanting to play ON-DEMAND CHESS. Chess.com is one of the best, and I am pleased to say that I’m a paid-up premium member of the site.

However, a mega-portal is not designed for SCHEDULED CHESS EVENTS. For an arbiter or chess tournament organiser wanting to provide an online alternative to over-the-baord chess, it’s always going to feel like hammering a screw.

The following feedback is from a School Teacher with a team that has participated in events on both Chess.com and Tornelo.com.

“We played a tournament last Friday and again today. Thank goodness I had an adequate supply of panadol, at the ready!

Chess.com is a very unfriendly platform, not well suited to school team competition.

It was a great competition today, with 16 schools (48 players) participating – several of our old foes in the line up. Unfortunately, with only usernames visible, our kids had no idea who they were playing, so the excitement of beating PlayerName etc. was totally absent.

In the first round, two of my strongest players (from a team of 10) were paired against one another. They spent most of the game in our school chat, deciding whether they would agree a draw or let the one most likely to do better overall, take the win.

Players were asked to log on before the 9:30am start. All of my players were ready to play at 9:00am. I could see the green ticks and “online” next to their usernames. Despite this, 2 were given 0 point byes for not being detected as being online and one was locked out of the tournament completely – for 3 rounds! I sent 5 emails to the arbiter (as per instruction, in the event of a problem) and received 2 replies both saying that the problem was out of his control. In the end, PlayerName took matters into his own hands, set up a new account, logged on and played the last 4 rounds, with a 3.5 result.

Our final round featured PlayerA v PlayerB, even though there were other players whom they hadn’t played, on similar points.

There was a new OtherSchool player whom none of us had heard of, called PlayerName . He “destroyed” (the boys’ word) both TopPlayer and SecondPlayer, but no one can find his profile. So he’s either new to these tournaments or ???

The tournament ended with us all being ejected. No “see you later”, no “good game, guys”, no final result, other than individual scores listed under indecipherable usernames. 

Three hours after the tournament ended, I received an email with the results, including the cross tables, so I could spend an hour working out who had played whom and sending congratulatory messages to players who had done something special.

So, in answer to your email, “What do I think of the plan?” – not a lot.

The kids were frustrated, with lots of questions about why we can’t play on Tornelo.

There was absolutely no atmosphere. It was just individuals playing 7 rounds of chess against strangers, or worse, their team mates. 

The only bright note was that my little 7 year old PlayerName got 5 games and, oh yes, we won the tournament.

We will be back with you in Tornelo on 28th August. Looking forward to it!”

How does Tornelo help?

1. Anonymous play is prohibited.  We use REAL NAMES and still provide privacy features to protect vulnerable players on the internet.

2. Atmosphere is created by an Arbiter leading the event. Players know who they are playing against and a COMMUNITY is formed.

3. Arbiter chooses how the pairings work, can edit pairings or even do manual pairings. You can prohibit team members playing one another.

4. Nobody can get locked out! The arbiter is in complete control of the event at all times. Players and arbiters can communicate easily.

5. Results and ratings changes are available instantly. Profiles update over time and can be shared with friends, family, parents, teachers etc. Real names are incomparably better than usernames.

6. Chess.com is built for individuals to play on-demand chess. Seven games of on-demand chess is NOT an event. Sure you can add the number of wins and declare a winner, but it’s NOT an event.

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