I don't watch chess tournaments because it is such a poor experience. The live stream of the players showcases the board at an angle and I struggle to see what is going on.

Meanwhile, the digital image of the board that is usually also there is often behind the actual game. In classic, maybe not a big deal, but it's a dealbreaker for blitz and rapid.

Why don't chess tournaments solve this issue by using a top-down camera angle? It's not hard to extend the camera down from a pole attached to the roof, or you can even use a camera connected to a flexible cable which you can extend and then curve downwards, kind of like on a lamp:

This would then give the following much more clear viewing experience:

Obviously you'd use a high quality camera, and you also need to use pieces which are more easily distinguishable from a top-down view, which are both minor changes, that could lead to great improvement.


1 Answer 1


I see a couple of reasons not to do this:

  1. It's a lot harder to distinguish the pieces. For example, bishops and pawns look really similar, and the black queen and king look similar too.

  2. When you watch a game as an on-site spectator, you don't view it top-down either. Even better: the players themselves don't view the board top-down, but from an angle.

  3. Video streams are often accompanied by a live analysis board, which is top-down and offers much more (the remaining time for both players, the evaluation of the current position and the best lines according to a strong engine). A top-down video stream would basically duplicate this.

    They can, as you say, be a little out-of-sync with the video (on a slow connection, the live board can be even faster because of buffering) but that seems (to me) like a better problem to tackle. Maybe the next generation of livestreams will be able to do this?

The lamp standard in your picture would rather annoy me as a player, but hanging from the ceiling (like some other lamps) would bypass that particular problem.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.