Chess brings in biometrics in quest to make game more exciting to watch

It’s not normally considered the high-octane spectator sport that sets pulses racing.

But the organisers of the World Chess Championship clearly think differently.

In a new attempt to make it more exciting for viewers, stars of the game may be required to wear biometrics devices when the next big title match is held.

Chess games lasting several hours are broadcast online and can attract hundreds of thousands of viewers on portals such as chess.com and Chess24.

Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin makes a move against champion Magnus Carlsen at the 2016 title match in New York
Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin makes a move against champion Magnus Carlsen at the 2016 title match in New York

However, the thoughts of players – including the key points when they feel calm or stressed – have, by some, been closely guarded secrets.

Ilya Merenzon, chief executive of World Chess, said: “Chess matches can be very dramatic, and biometric data gives fans and spectators alike another opportunity to follow the games and relate to them on much deeper level.

Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin makes a move against champion Magnus Carlsen at the 2016 title match in New York
Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin makes a move against champion Magnus Carlsen at the 2016 title match in New York

“It’s not enough to know what the next best move is anymore: you have to know what the grandmaster is thinking.

“This makes watching the games so much more exciting. This is also one of our efforts to develop the premium broadcasting experience and bring value to chess fans.”

Chess world championship matches are notoriously long and grueling affairs.

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