Pro Chess League Moves to Cloud-Based Production with Singular
The Pro Chess League Finals, held on May 11 2023, marked the highly anticipated finale of a regular season that saw multiple chess teams competing from around the world. Featuring the world’s top players, the Pro Chess League (PCL) is the number one online global chess league for teams across the world, broadcast live on Chess.com.
After an almost three-year hiatus due to the abrupt end to the 2020 season, this revival of the PCL was accompanied by the adoption of new broadcast workflows that leveraged the power of cloud-based production.
The use of Singular proved to be a game-changer for the PCL, with Mike Buetsch, director of broadcast engineering & production at Chess.com, expressing that their experience using Singular was ‘excellent’. “The amount of control apps we could deploy gave us incredible flexibility and supported a multi control room workflow,” he added.
PCL operated two shows near simultaneously, transitioning seamlessly between the two control rooms. The team were able to deploy as many channels as they felt necessary, and integrating API control for automation streamlined the production process making it incredibly efficient.
One of the standout aspects of this project was its fully remote nature. Operating within a fully virtualised, cloud-based production environment, the PCL found Singular to be an exceptional companion, seamlessly supporting their setup while also providing the robust capabilities of a traditional CG engine. With operators located in three different continents and players participating simultaneously from around the globe, the production showcased immense scalability and global reach.
Singular’s cloud-based infrastructure proved to be remarkably scalable, accommodating the growing scope of the show with ease while allowing flexibility as the production staff worked collaboratively to support the show.
In addition to Singular, the production team used various software and hardware tools to ensure a seamless broadcast experience. vMix (installed on AWS instances) was used for switching and replay, while Zixi Broadcaster facilitated transmission. Unity served as the intercom solution, while Parsec and Companion empowered remote operators with control and access to virtual machines, further enhancing the efficiency of the workflow.
As the force behind the Pro Chess League, Chess.com is dedicated to expanding the reach and appeal of chess worldwide. Its mission encompasses not only fostering new ways to play the game but also revolutionising the consumption of chess media. Through projects like the Pro Chess League Finals, Chess.com aims to bring the joy of chess to an ever-growing audience, enabling more people to experience the excitement and intellectual challenge that the game offers.
The Pro Chess League 2023 Finals marked a milestone in the world of chess, combining a revival of the league with an innovative cloud-based broadcast approach. The successful implementation of Singular’s technology allowed for seamless remote collaboration, scalability and flexibility, captivating audiences worldwide and making chess more accessible and engaging than ever before.