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Internet hitches spoil games

Poor connectivity, cost affecting online tournaments

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CALLING FOR
INVESTMENT—Fudzulani

Some local sport associations have bemoaned poor internet connectivity and high cost as a hindrance to online tournaments.

Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) and Tae-kwon-do Association of Malawi (Tam) are some of the associations that opted for online tournaments in an effort to stay competitive following the ban of public gatherings to stop the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

Chessam Publicity Secretary Alfred Chimthere said internet connectivity hitches affect the performance of some individuals.

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“Connectivity is integral, as I said online games are basically “shorter” time controls. So for instance, three minutes per player per game in blitz, if you lose one minute of connectivity it is difficult to recover against an opponent. They play under pressure because psychologically they could be thinking I might lose connectivity anytime,” he said.

Chimthere said the situation is unhealthy for the game as modern chess is played using time control.

“You lose connectivity, you lose time in chess. And might lose the game in the end,” he said.

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He said high internet cost was another factor affecting chess players during online games.

“Data must fall campaign is crucial for online games because other players fail to participate in online games due to data costs,” he said.

Recently, local chess players were booted out of an online African chess tournament and they blamed their exit on a number of factors including poor internet connection.

Tam acting General Secretary Medson Ntila echoed similar statements.

“The connectivity is another issue. Recently we had an international zoom conference and the connectivity was poor and our counterparts concluded that we were not serious. When we staged an online tournament some failed to submit their entries within the required time because of poor connectivity whereas others blamed it on cost,” he said.

Recently, Football Association of Malawi’s Referees Development Officer Maxwell Mtonga also blamed internet connectivity when some referees underwent a refresher course through zoom.

“It was the first time for our referees to undergo a zoom course. The 35 referees were conducting this course from their respective homes. So they were communicating with these instructors through zoom.

“We had internet problem whereby at some point these referees were unable to follow what the instructors were saying,” he said.

Information and Communication Technology Association of Malawi (Ictam) president Bram Fudzulani said online gaming requires a lot of resources from computing power to dedicated fast internet connection speed.

“There are of course other online games that does not demand a lot of internet speed and these you can play using the normal internet connection like 4G. In Malawi our internet speeds have improved significantly over the years and platforms like zoom which allows even those in low bandwidth to optimise their meeting quality are now much better than they were a few years back,” he said.

Fudzulani called for investment in infrastructure if Malawi was to be successful in online gaming.

“If we are talking about serious online gaming then maybe I would say we need to invest in such infrastructures which are usually housed with dedicated fiber internet connection,” he said.

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