An interview with Boris Yeshan from tournament's press-release,
17th-29th June, Foros, Crimea, Ukraine

"Aerosvit-2006" is the first tournament in Ukraine, which games are broadcast on the Internet in online mode. It became possible due to use the equipment of the Shahcom Company (Saint-Petersburg). We have asked the chapter of this firm Boris Yeshan to tell about his Company.

- I shall begin that the name "Shahcom" is formed from two words: chess and computers. We have created the Company in 1990. The basic direction of our activity was live demonstration of chess games: first of all in the playing hall for spectators and later, since 1996, already on the Internet. Since first days of existence of the Company we were convinced, that we move in a perspective direction. I remember, at that time we told with the known chess master and sports commentator of Russian TV Nikolay Popov about how to show the games on TV. I have told him, that nowadays in electronics era it's possible to not be tormented, moving pieces on a magnetic board if it's possible to say, for example, the moves by a voice, and they will be reproduced on a board. He has begun to doubt, but for the sake of interest, we have created such system in two months. Clearly, that it was not too practical, but we were convinced once again, what the wide prospects are open before us.
In 1992 I have patented the electronic board, being confident, that the games could be broadcast on the Internet. Though then very few people else knew about the Global network. By the way, later I have found out, that earlier some more firms developed the similar boards. But today on the World market there are only two Companies which produce the electronic boards: Dutch DGT and our Shahcom Company.

- Explain popularly, not pressing in technical details how your system works and what is the difference from technologies of competitors?

- Our system is very complex, we developed it many years, and we continue to improve it till now. I shall start with a board. The principle of its work is the following: there is a sensor in each piece and under each square. Figuratively speaking, 32 pieces are planes which fly above 64 squares - air stations. Radars of air stations should recognize the planes and land them. Clearly, that it is a challenge, plans and radars prevent each other, besides players frequently put pieces somehow. But we managed to connect all components of system in a single whole. And it works as a completely independent computer network which can be connected to all standard devices to transfer the information, for example, the Internet and TV.
As to comparison with competitors I shall quote experts, who assert, that our technology is better on five parameters, than Dutch. In particular, our board is more sensitive, it is better protected from handicaps and operates faster. The first most strict examiners of our system were representatives of Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation, who have carried out many tests before using it for competitions, and then have compared results to parameters of DGT. In a result, they have preferred us. And I am glad, that organizers of the "Aerosvit-2006" also have stopped the choice on Shahcom.
And, the Ukrainian experts came to this question very seriously. They have arrived to Saint-Petersburg in winter, have got acquainted with our system, then with Dutch one, have practiced on both. As consequence, have got Shahcom, but, what is still very important, did not begin to make operational development but have invited our experts to Foros tournament. The experience shows that it's difficult to understand all nuances from the first time without someone's advise. Practically there are features on each tournament. So, for example, on the "Aerosvit-2006" the computers which receive the information from the boards, are connected in a local network which is connected to the Internet through the satellite. Such structure creates the certain problems. It is necessary, for example, just in case, to have a spare variant for connection. In general I always try "to make secure" and even in business trips I take with myself some spare parts and details. Frequently it helps. Once on one of the tournaments I have asked the local electrician to tie up the cables that did not dangle, and he by mistake cut off a piece of a wire which went to a board where Garry Kasparov's game was played. It is good, that I had spare cables...

- In what direction Shahcom will move further?

- The following our patent is distance chess. There has come time when thanks to Internet it's possible to battle chess leaving no home. I don't mean games which practice now on various servers. There chess players are in unequal conditions: someone has more powerful computer, someone uses programs, someone uses help of colleagues : We have the other, precise system. Games take place on electronic boards, computers are not present, and web camera works for visual contact. We have already provided four remote matches - three in chess and one in draughts (for draughts we also make boards, in particular, we have received a serious order from Holland from the International Federation of this game and, thus, have outstripped competitors from DGT). The "first attempt at writing" became a distance chess match Saint Petersburg - Paris 2003. Then in 2004 the Universities of Moscow and Saint-Petersburg have battled on distance. And in 2005 there again has come a turn of cities - Saint-Petersburg competed to New York. In all matches there were no doubts in fair play, teams delegated the arbiters to the location of opponents. By the way, after the duel Saint Petersburg - Paris Vladimir Kramnik told, that felt himself like in a usual tournament.
Now we want to expand geography of remote matches and we plan to provide a tournament between several cities. We have already received the consent to participation from Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, London and Paris. After positive experience on the "Aerosvit-2006", I hope, Ukraine will join the project too.
It is possible also to develop the idea which was stated during the opening ceremony of Foros tournament by chairman of the Supervisory council of the airline Company "Aerosvit" Aron Majberg. He, I shall remind, told that is possible to lead a chess competition on the plane. I suggest to play not only in interior of a plan, but, due to our system, also with opponents on the land. For example, the plane flies above France, we play with Paris, above England - with London : Such competition, outside of doubt, would make the true furor!

Anatoly Yavorsky (the press attache of the tournament)

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