Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Australasian-based VADR Media is pleased to announce that Checkmate.live has entered into an exclusive long-term partnership with the Asian Chess Federation.
The strategic partnership sees Checkmate become the Asian Chess Federation's' official online tournament platform, data and broadcast partner.
The Asian Chess Federation (ACF) is the international governing body of chess across the Asian Continent. Its membership comprises of 52 national associations across Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. Its headquarters is in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates and its President, is His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.
VADR is an executive production firm that produces and promotes new media, sports and entertainment. It first ventured into esports in 2015 when it launched Let’s Play Live and subsequently grew it into Australia and New Zealand’s largest independent esports tournament platform and linear and online broadcaster.
Checkmate is a new web3 initiative by the VADR team focused on producing and broadcasting linear and online tournaments for a new generation of players. At its heart is a skills-based platform that allows players to compete and win cash prizes, credits, and in-game assets and an XR-led, esports-first international chess series.
His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakboot Al Nahayan, President Asian Chess Federation (ACF), commented: “Technology has played an important part in the journey and development of sports over the years, often overlooking chess. In recent years, the onset of online gaming and internet improvements has enabled greater access globally. The lack of effective integrity measures for online chess has also been a concern for the community hindering greater involvement. The partnership with Checkmate will allow the Asian Chess Federation to deliver competitive online tournaments and increase opportunities for our players. A key determining factor in the decision to partner with Checkmate was their commitment to improving the integrity of online chess and their ability to successfully create a solution that satisfies ACF's vision for the future. Once launched, ACF will be able to host official online events that are inclusive, equitable and will provide even greater access for our members.”
“We are delighted to have partnered Checkmate with the Asian Chess Federation and are extremely grateful for the support of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakboot Al Nahayan. It was fortuitous that both His Highness and ACF Secretary General Hisham Al Taher also share our passion for chess and esports. We all jointly recognize the ability for competitive online chess to connect mates (friends), generations and nations”, said VADR Founder and Managing Director John McRae.
Itis estimated up to 700 million people play the 1500-year-old skill-based game.COVID-19 had a marked impact on its increasing popularity along with the release of Netflix hit mini-series ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ in 2020. This growth has seen a significant increase in chess being streamed online by influencers,major esports teams signing professional players and record online viewership numbers.
It is estimated that up to 420 million of these players are aged between 18-34, which is the same demographic that has also seen brands increasingly flock to esports. Online chess, however, has several advantages over other esports, including higher female participation, greater brand hygiene and the ability for international competitions to be playedonline as it is asynchronous (turn by turn). The growth and popularity of online chess has also been positive for over-the-board chess, as recently demonstrated by over 2000 players from 185 countries competing at the FIDE Olympiad in India earlier this month.
A key focus for the Checkmate team since they started their planning was to improve the integrity of online Chess matches.The advent of online play, AI and Chess engines has been a boom for the game,but it has also been a major barrier to competitive online play due to the misuse of these technologies for cheating.
“We identified the problem of online cheating and its impact on fair play early on and believe we have resolved this issue,although we are realistic that it will be an ongoing battle as players continue to try and game the system. We have achieved this through a mix of proprietary AI exclusive to Checkmate and existing technology, partnerships and the development of a strong integrity programme. As part of its roadmap, Checkmate will be releasing a third-party module for associations, federations and tournament organizers who wish to benefit from these efforts”, said McRae.
Checkmate’s take on chess will launch in Q1 2023 on Web and Mobile.