The Arena

GLADIATOR, Joaquin Phoenix (left), 2000. ©DreamWorks/Courtesy Everett Collection

Here is an idea for a virtual club night. The Arena. Everyday on Lichess there are arena tournaments that take various formats. The Arena is quite unlike a Swiss tournament. For a start there are no rounds. You play, and win or lose, you play again almost straight away, as soon as you reenter the arena and another player becomes available. There are no points for draws and winning quickly is the key to success.

We need a good pool of players for such an event. If we could match our current numbers in the First Nomads Online Tournament we would be doing really well. We could open such a tournament up to the broader Sheffield chess community.

Why not enter a few lichess arena tournaments and get a feel for this fun way of playing chess. When we do an arena tournament we need to get the format right. I think most players are not interested in anything less than five minutes per player.

My gut feeling is a two hour arena tournament with a ten minute time limit for each player. You can rest for as long as you like between games, but of course the energetic and ambitious will have an advantage.

Anyone interested in this please give a couple of arena tournaments a go, and get back to me with your suggestions.


  1. Hi Steve, I have never played in a Lichess arena tournament so happy to give it a go. I would certainly be interested in a virtual chess club. I too would favour the longer blitz of 10 mins (and an increment if possible – I’m slow!) I wonder how we can support people who just want a casual club night game against someone one of a similar standard? Really enjoying the longer on line games. Would there be an interest in the 45 min plus 45 sec time limit for a tournament? I signed up for the ECF club too as you can get an official online chess grade but not had the opportunity to play as yet. Mostly blitz events, but at least one 10 minute limit and a 15min plus 2 sec as well.

  2. Think it’s a great idea, maybe we could do 10 mins +5 or 10 secs. Think the first one would be invitation only & password protected so only Nomads can play in it.

  3. Just one thing though, increments could mean really long games which would mean the arena concept might not work well. For instance a game that was thirty minutes might well destroy your chances of winning the arena. I think a straight ten mins would be good. Or if folks really want longer games we could agree a custom setting of say 12 or 15 minutes. Once we have an idea of what format most people would like, we can press ahead with the event.

    Another idea of course is a short time control with a small increment, like 5 mins + 3 secs.

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