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Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

Iranian Chess Official Scared to Return Home Amid Headscarf Uproar – Breitbart

Posted: January 23, 2020 at 6:41 pm


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TEL AVIV A senior Iranian chess official is afraid to return to her home country after photos of her without a headscarf while at a tournament in Shanghai caused an outcry back home.

Women in Iran are routinely arrested for not adhering to a strict Islamic dress code which includes the hijab.

I turned on my mobile and saw that my picture was everywhere [in Iranian media]. They were claiming I was not wearing a headscarf and that I wanted to protest against the hijab, Shohreh Bayat, 32, told the BBC ,adding that she totally panicked when she saw the controversy she had caused.

Its against my beliefs. People should have the right to choose the way they want to dress, it should not be forced, Bayat, who is a chess adjudicator, said.

Bayat, speaking from Vladivostok in eastern Russia where she is now refereeing the second leg of the World Championship, said she had been wearing the headscarf but from certain angles it looked as though she hadnt.

Shohreh Bayat (C), chief arbiter for the match between Aleksandra Goryachkina (front L) of Russia and Ju Wenjun (front R) of China, prepares for the match during the 2020 International Chess Federation (FIDE) Womens World Chess Championship in Shanghai on January 11, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty)

I was tolerating it because I live in Iran. I had no other choice. She added that it was highly possible she would be arrested upon her return to Iran, or else to have her passport invalidated.

There are many people in prison in Iran because of the headscarf. Its a very serious issue. Maybe theyd want to make an example of me, she told the BBC.

Bayat was angered that the controversy has overshadowed her impressive achievements in chess, the report said. Shes one of handful of women who are senior chess arbiters in the world, and the only one in Asia.

I cant think of any Iranian women who have worked at such a high-level tournament. But the only thing that matters for them is my hijab, not my qualification. That really bothers me, Bayat said.

Earlier this month,Kimia Alizadeh,Irans first female Olympic medal-winner, defected over Irans dress code laws.

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Iranian Chess Official Scared to Return Home Amid Headscarf Uproar - Breitbart

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January 23rd, 2020 at 6:41 pm

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Iranian chess ref in trouble over attire – Bangkok Post

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Woman afraid to return home after images showing her without hijab draw negative comments

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: An Iranian chess referee who has been accused of violating her countrys Islamic dress code while adjudicating a womens tournament says she does not want to return home from Russia out of fear for her safety.

Shohreh Bayat, 32, told Reuters she would not travel back to Iran unless she was given security guarantees in writing from the countrys chess federation.

I really hope they will provide me something to ensure I will be safe if I come back to Iran, said Bayat, who is in Vladivostok as chief referee at the Womens World Chess Championship.

But if that doesnt happen, Im just examining my options and considering anything.

The Iran Chess Federation could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bayat got into trouble during the first stage of the championship in Shanghai last week when Iranian state media criticised her for photographs in which she appeared not to be wearing a hijab.

Ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, all women have been required to wear the headscarf in public and sportswomen are also required to wear it abroad. Women who break the dress code can be publicly berated, fined or arrested.

Bayat says she does not agree with the hijab, but that she had been wearing a headscarf during the championships first matches, although it had been loose and was not visible from some angles in photographs of her.

Apparently it was not enough for the Iranians, she said.

Bayat also said that the Iran Chess Federation had asked her to write an apology and to post it online, something she said she had refused to do because she did not want to support the hijab publicly.

I just did not want to do that, she said.

Bayat then stopped wearing a headscarf altogether while presiding over subsequent matches.

I noticed that they have already condemned me, she said. I decided not to wear hijab because it wont change anything.

Nigel Short, the International Chess Federation vice-president, spoke out in support of Bayat on Twitter, calling her a great ambassador for her country.

Bayat is one of many Iranian sportspeople to come to blows with the authorities over the hijab and other policies.

Earlier this month, Iranian chess grandmaster Mitra Hejaziour was expelled from the national team for not wearing the hijab at the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Moscow.

Bayats decision came days after Irans only female Olympic medalist, Taekwondo champion Kimia Alizadeh, announced she had left her homeland because she had had enough of being used by its authorities as a propaganda tool.

In December, Irans Chess Federation said top rated chess champion Alireza Firouzja had decided not to play for Iran because of an informal ban on competing against Israeli players.

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Iranian chess ref in trouble over attire - Bangkok Post

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January 23rd, 2020 at 6:41 pm

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Iranian chess referee afraid to return home after being accused of violating dress code – Haaretz

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32-year-old Shohreh Bayat 'examining options' after defying warnings about her outfit from the Iran Chess Federation

An Iranian chess referee who has been accused of violating her country's Islamic dress code while adjudicating a women's tournament said that she does not want to return home from Russia out of fear for her safety.

Shohreh Bayat, 32, told Reuters she would not travel back to her homeland unless she was given security guarantees in writing from Iran's chess federation.

"I really hope they will provide me something to ensure I will be safe if I come back to Iran," said Bayat, who is in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok as chief referee at the Women's World Chess Championship.

"But if that doesn't happen, I'm just examining my options and considering anything."

The Iran Chess Federation could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bayat got into trouble during the first stage of the championship in Shanghai last week when Iran state media criticised her for photographs in which she appeared not to be wearing the headscarf.

Since Iran's Islamic Revolution, all women are required to wear the headscarf, known as the hijab, in public and sportswomen are also required to wear it abroad. Women who break the dress code can be publicly berated, fined or arrested.

Bayat says she does not agree with the hijab, but that she had been wearing a headscarf during the championship's first matches, although it had been loose and was not visible from some angles in photographs of her.

"Apparently it was not enough for the Iranians," she said.

Bayat also said that the Iran Chess Federation had asked her to write an apology and to post it online, something she said she had refused to do because she did not want to support the hijab publicly.

"I just did not want to do that," she said.

Bayat then stopped wearing a headscarf altogether while presiding over subsequent matches.

"I noticed that they have already condemned me," she said. "I decided not to wear hijab because it won't change anything."

Nigel Short, the International Chess Federation's (FIDE) vice president, spoke out in support of Bayat on Twitter, calling her "a great ambassador for her country".

Bayat is one of many Iranian sportspeople to come to blows with the authorities over the hijab and other policies.

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Earlier this month, Iranian chess grandmaster Mitra Hejaziour was expelled from the national team for not wearing the hijab at the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Moscow.

Bayat's decision came days after Iran's only female Olympic medalist, Taekwondo champion Kimia Alizadeh, announced she had left her homeland because she had had enough of being used by its authorities as a propaganda tool.

In December, Iran's Chess Federation said top rated chess champion Alireza Firouzja had decided not to play for Iran because of an informal ban on competing against Israeli players.

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Iranian chess referee afraid to return home after being accused of violating dress code - Haaretz

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January 23rd, 2020 at 6:41 pm

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Home – US Chess

Posted: January 14, 2020 at 8:41 pm


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Our 2019 U.S. Women's champion, Jennifer Yu, is featured in the first issue of 2020. She talks with Jamaal Abdul-Alim about learning from defeat, balancing school and extracurricular activities, her future plans, and, of course, chess! Also in this issue is Robert Hess' report on Wesley So's victory at the first FIDE World Fischer Random Championship. And look for some history mystery as well: Jon Crumiller writes about the recently-discovered Isle of Lewis chess piece and Menachem Wecker asks the burning question, "Who was Bobby Fischer's ping-pong partner at the 1972 World Championship?"

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US Chess is committed to bringing chess to everyone! In this issue, we show you how chess is making a difference beyond the board. WIMBeatriz Marinello and Dora Martinez introduce you to the talented participants from the 2019 World Junior Chess Championship for the Disabled, while Evan Rabin writes about his annual teaching visit to Tanzania, Africa, where he brings our game to underserved students in partnership with Make a Difference Now. Also meet popular GM Elshan Moradiabadi in My First Move and Chess Adventures.

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January 14th, 2020 at 8:41 pm

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Chess: take the Knight’s tour online – Boing Boing

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The Knight's tour is a traditional chess problem where a lone knight is placed on a chess board and must visit each square only once. You can play this perfectly simple free implementation created by u/psrwo on Reddit. The source code is at github. The knight is randomly placed at the outset.

I can't visit more than fifty-something squares, because I'm terrible at stuff like this.

The Red Bull Rubiks Cube World Cup was held November 17 in Moscow. Competitors squared off in four events: 33 Speed Cubing solving the Rubiks Cube as fast as possible; Fastest Hand a challenge that solves the Rubiks Cube with only one hand; Re-Scramble pits competitors trying to replicate a computer generated []

This is an anti-fascist puzzle made in occupied Netherlands circa 1940. Can you find the 5th pig? (Hint: Al Jaffee would have no problem finding it.) Solution [via r/interestingasfuck]

Pants//Off is a mobile escape room based on the concept that youre a secret agent who tried on cutting edge pants only to discover theyve been sabotaged and rigged to explode. Can you get them off within 10 minutes? After getting locked into the pants, the player has to solve all sorts of puzzles using []

If youre working with databases, youre working with SQL. Even in the changing world of the web, there are some classics that endure, and SQL (along with its database management system MySQL) is one of them. Millions of websites and databases have been built using SQL code as their foundation, and theyre still being built []

Do you know Python? If youre interested in any aspect of web development, data analytics or the Internet of Things, you should. Python is the computer language used to drive everything from that voice recognition software on your phone to the gaming apps you use to kill time. So yes, theres a market for those []

Eating pancakes and omelets? Super fun. Cleaning up afterward? Almost more trouble than its worth. Nothing makes us appreciate our mothers more than having to scrape the batter off those well-worn skillets and griddles, just like we never had to do after those magical Saturday morning breakfasts. Now, making those breakfast treats might just be []

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Chess: take the Knight's tour online - Boing Boing

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January 14th, 2020 at 8:41 pm

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World number 3 Chess Player Humpy Koneru’s Mantra for Navigating Passion and Motherhood: Be Present in the Moment – Yahoo India News

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In the still little-known world of chess, Humpy Koneru has kept at it persistently, one game at a time.

The youngest female grandmaster at 15, Humpy was coached by her father Ashok Koneru, a former national level chess player. Her laurels include three gold medals from the World Youth Chess Championship in age categories of Under-10, 12, and 14.

In 2001, the Arjuna awardee again claimed victory at the World Junior Chess Championship organised by World Chess Federation. In 2007, the then President APJ Abdul Kalam honoured her with Padma Shri award.

The 32-year-olds most recent victory in becoming Women's World Rapid Champion in Moscow last December came after two years of losing touch with the board, as she was on her maternity break. Her performance at Skolkovo Women's Grand Prix in September, 2019, rose Humpy to a World Number 3 ranking, only behind Hou Yifan and World Champion Ju Wenjun.

However, it was not a direct swing to victory, having lost in Olympiad, Classical World Championship, and World Rapid Championship since her comeback in September 2018.

Sharing the difficulties of being back in the game, she says, I didn't have a clear strategy. It's also twice as difficult because I was not just preparing for specific opponents every day but also not updating my know-how on the lines I'd been out of touch with."

Embracing Motherhood and Career

During her maternity leave, Humpy did not toy a single pawn once, even online, and stayed completely off the grid, especially when she developed pre-natal complications four months into her pregnancy.

From chess being the only thing I ever thought about and trained for nine hours a day to suddenly not following a game or moving a piece, it was a huge change. Honestly, I didn't really miss it. I was happy to discover the things I'd never experienced earlier like being with my daughter and celebrating festivals with the entire family. At the back of my mind I always knew I'd return to chess; I just didn't know when, Humpy was reported saying.

Her comeback may have surprised many who advised her to enjoy life and concentrate on home. But as much as she loved spending time with her family and her daughter, Ahana, it never occurred to Humpy to quit her passion completely.

And now, rising up to a ranking of world number three just within a year of return, shows how one can embrace both motherhood as well as the pursuit of their dreams and ambitions. One thing that has definitely changed for her is the amount of time she devotes to chess. But Humpy says that it was a conscious choice on her part.

Setting her priorities straight, Humpy says that she is no longer interested in chasing big titles and tournaments and, instead, is selective when it comes to matches.

The Winning Humpy Trait

While her schedule is balanced to manage both work and home, the young mother shares her winning secret: to be present in the moment. When I am playing a tournament, I dont get distracted at all. Once I start travelling for an event, my complete focus will be on chess itself, she adds.

One remarkable observation after her comeback was how the game of chess has evolved with new computer innovations outdating existing systems of competition.

Earlier, only the top grandmasters had access to the best hardware. Now even the newest and youngest ones are working with the kind of technology that a top 10 player has access to. It was the biggest change I noticed on my comeback. Suddenly, everyone has really deep opening preparation and just about any player you run into can surprise you with novelties," Humpy notes.

Gearing up for Cairns Cup in Saint Louis, Missouri, in early February,Humpy is now excited about 2020 and what it holds for her professionally, but is also equally looking forward to spending time with her toddler: two important aspects of the young mothers life.

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World number 3 Chess Player Humpy Koneru's Mantra for Navigating Passion and Motherhood: Be Present in the Moment - Yahoo India News

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Quebec’s teen chess grandmaster ready to play best in the world – CTV News

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MONTREAL -- Maili-Jade Ouellet is at the top of her chess game, the world of strategy, discipline and little room for chance.

"I was five years old when one of my uncles taught me how to play," she said.

Ouellet started playing in chess tournaments when she was seven and, at 15, won the North American Youth Chess Championship (NAYCC) in 2016.

She continues to play all over the world.

In November, Ouellet was invited to the 2019 FIDE Women's North American Continental Championship in Mexico and won the women's grandmaster title, the second Canadian to do so.

Winning means she qualifies for the 2020 Women's World Chess Cup in Belarus in September.

"I was really happy," she said. "Throughout the tournament, you get a feeling if you're going to win or not."

A Google search or YouTube tutorial will teach most chess openings, but the middle of the game is where Ouellet shines.

"Middle game is more about strategy and planning and attacking or defending, and it's really where everything happens," she said. "There's a lot of studies that were made on end game and they're very complicated and they're very hard to master and everyone is bad at it. Everyone."

Ouellet spends hours going over online databases studying her opponents' past games in preparation for meeting them on the board.

"You can anticipate what they're going to play in the opening and you can counter that and play according to this, and there's a lot of theory, so if you prepare well, it could be a lot of moves," she said. "It's really about out-prepping your opponents and having the psychological and positional edge over the board."

Even though she juggles chess with CEGEP, work and family, Ouellet said it's all worthwhile because she has so much fun.

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Quebec's teen chess grandmaster ready to play best in the world - CTV News

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Aronian In South Africa: ‘Chess Is The Purpose Of My Life’ – Chess.com

Posted: January 13, 2020 at 1:46 pm


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Levon Aronian: You dont play chess to have fun. You play chess to crush your opponent.

A high-spirited Aronian attended the South African Junior Chess Championship (SAJCC) Jan. 3-8 in the city of Ekurhuleni. More than 2,700 youths competed in a record-breaking team event and had the opportunity to meet Aronian, who was a guest star in many side events hosted during the competition.

Freestyle blitz in Joubert Park:

Following in the footsteps of Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, who attended the SAJCC in 2018 and 2019respectively, Aronian spent a morning in Johannesburg in the iconic Joubert Park, the lair of Africas best chess hustlers. After warming up against the juniors of the Hyenas Chess Club, Levon took on some local masters, including the South African champion Johannes Mabusela.

In an attempt to stop Levons perfect streak, the grandmasters wife Arianne Caoili joined the crowd amid cheers and local music. Only the youthful Simphiwe Buthelezi managed to score against the Armenian superstar, and won a dramatic game thanks to a blunder by the overworked opponent.

Chess is my 9-to-5:

Another surprise for Aronian came from an inspired local veteran, who managed to beat the GM in a draining eight-hour-long simul on 107 boards the following day. The national master pulled off a mate-in-four in a complicated position, after a strenuous fight from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I have never faced so many opponents in a simul, admitted Aronian before making the first move. Whats more, the exhibition had no rating cap and a few players rated between 1800 and 2200 showed up.

In an interview with Chess.com, Aronian commented: Every time Im playing a simul, people say 'this guy is good, this guy is bad, pay attention to this one'but I actually dont like that. I like the randomness and I like the fact that I have to put up an effort.

Aronian also met some of the best players in southern Africa in a master class and Q&A. He described his path to success to players and coaches and shared with them some suggestions on how to train a future champion.

A bughouse walkover:

Aronian joined forces with his wife to wipe out the competition in a carnival-themed bughouse tournament. Slick chess hustlers and go-getting youth in costume were no challenge for the world authority in bughouse, who also sported a sensational Joker costume.

We love playing every kind of game partnering with my wife," said Aronian, "because we love being a team generally, in every sport. If only the level was a little bit higher, we could have had some competition.

A day with a super-GM:

Along with being an unmatchable bughouse specialist, Levon turned out to be an outstanding athlete, or at least thats the rumor in the South African U10 circuit!

Uncle Lev is better at soccer than at chess, claimed Caleb and Judah Levitan, two of the most promising South African youth and the best "springboks" in last years World Youth. We managed to snatch a draw with him in the simul, but he gave us no chance on the soccer field.

The two boys showed the Armenian guest the beauty of South Africa and forced him to add a Mandela shirt to his wardrobe.

It was a great emotion to meet Aronian, said Lindiwe Kololo, an intellectually-disabled player who made the ceremonial first move against the GM. Chess taught me that if you really want to achieve something, you will. Now that I've met one of the best players in the world, I want to play international tournaments with opponents from all over the world.

On another note:

Levon Aronian's visit to South Africa was a unique experience for many aspiring GMs, and an opportunity for the country to promote chess in local news and national broadcasts. The tournament has few equals worldwide in terms of participation, despite the gap that still exists between the quality of chess in the continent and global standards.

However, South African chess has experienced a political crisis for the past few months, resulting in the coexistence of two national federations. The Chessa crisis has precedents in Gabon and Kenya and has hindered the organization of international tournaments in the country, as well as the participation of some players in the 2019 African Youth Chess Championship.

A severe restructuring of the federation will possibly have a more effective impact on local chess players than the visit of an incredible role model like Aronian. In the margins of the SAJCC, Chessa is expected to find a quick solution to months of uncertainty and court cases. This will certainly help South African chess to move forward, and players to be competitive internationally.

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Aronian In South Africa: 'Chess Is The Purpose Of My Life' - Chess.com

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January 13th, 2020 at 1:46 pm

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Chess: find Whites weird three-move winning tactic – Financial Times

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Britains 4NCL (Four Nations Chess League) has been monopolised by a single team for almost a decade now.

Guildford last lost a match in 2012, since when the Surrey players have won 79 encounters and drawn just two. They often score at least 7-1 over eight boards, and even single game defeats are rare.

They had just one game loss in the entire 2018-19 season, and in last weekends matches, which launched the 2019-20 fixtures, Guildford crushed Cambridge University by 8-0, then Barbican, the City of London team, by 7-1.

Englands national team, which won medals at the 2019 world and European championships, form Guildfords core players along with highly rated GMs from France. Continuity also counts. Roger Emerson and Nigel Povah, the managers and sponsors, are experts with successes of their own.

Guildfords hegemony faces a double challenge this season. Manx Liberty, based in the Isle of Man, has a nucleus of GMs who played for Trier in the Bundesliga, and is now sponsored by the website Chess.com. Manx lost to Guildford in the 2019 final round after a close match, and is set for a fresh attempt with a reinforced squad.

Yorkshire-based White Rose, the strongest team in the North, has new backing from Magnus Carlsens Chessable learning site and hopes to field elite GMs from India and the US who teach there in the later 4NCL rounds.

It promises to be a competitive season.

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Can you work out Whites bizarre three-move winning tactic in this (see graphic ) apparently drawn rook ending?

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Chess: find Whites weird three-move winning tactic - Financial Times

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January 13th, 2020 at 1:46 pm

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Might & Magic: Chess Royale is an auto battle royale from Ubisoft – VentureBeat

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Ubisofts scientists have done the unthinkable and combined the two biggest new gaming genres of the last few years. The publisher revealed today that it plans to release Might & Magic: Chess Royale for mobile and PC on January 30. As the name suggests, it mixes together elements of auto battlers (think Auto Chess) and battle royale games (PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds and Fortnite).

In Might & Magic: Chess Royale, you put together an army of units from the Might & Magic series in a fight against 99 other players. The game borrows a lot from Dota: Auto Chess, Dota Underlords, and Teamfight Tactics. Players must focus on creating powerful synergies between units. But Chess Royale drops the teams and instead has every player fighting for themselves. As in Fortnite or PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds, you want to outlast everyone else to get the victory.

While this isnt a direct spinoff of Ubisofts Might & Magic Heroes strategy games, fans of those games will recognize many of the units. And some knowledge should transfer from one game to the other.

Ubisoft has already begun testing Might & Magic: Chess Royale in a soft launch. This has enabled the games designers to work on optimizations.

One of the big goals is to create relatively short matches. Ubisoft claims that you can lose quick or win quick with game sessions that last 10 minutes. That could help distinguish it from the auto battler crowd. Dota Underlords and Teamfight Tactics can have 30-minute matches or longer.

But Ubisoft is definitely chasing the trends. And thats going to make it challenging to find an audience. Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords are already major hits with millions of players.

Of course, that doesnt mean Chess Royale doesnt have a chance. Fortnite and then Apex Legends proved that new games could come along and thrive in the battle royale space. Maybe Chess Royale will do the same for autobattlers.

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Might & Magic: Chess Royale is an auto battle royale from Ubisoft - VentureBeat

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