Interview with Oresto - The Immortal King
One of the worlds oldest and most prolific games is being taken up by an entirely new breed of players and being brought into the world of web3 with great fanfare.
What was once a game reserved for IRL meetups between high brow intellectuals is now being played mostly online by the younger generation, and with the integration of new quest systems and the ability to record all victories on chain, this reimagining of an old classic shows no signs of slowing down.
We were lucky enough to catch up with the fantastic FIDE master Oresto, and took the opportunity to ask him some questions about the new wave of web3 chess, and in particular the finest flagship example of this movement, Immortal Game.
Hi Oresto, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Oresto and I'm from Ukraine. I work as a freelancer. I have 2 titles - the Ukrainian Master of Sports and FIDE Master.
- FIDE titles are awarded by the international chess governing body FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) for outstanding performance.
- The title FIDE Master ranks below the title of International Master but ahead of Candidate Master and is usually achieved by players gaining an Elo rating of 2300 or above
What first brought you to chess?
I started playing when I was 5. My mom took me by hand and brought me to a chess club. My first trainer was very good, her name is Elisaveta Pyatova. Thanks to her, this is the only club I have been part of.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your trainer, Elisaveta Pyatova?
My first trainer, Elisaveta Grygorievna Pyatova was born in 1911 and she worked as a coach until she was almost 90. She was great at captivating children with the spirit of chess. She was friends with many of the chess masters of her time, notably Bronstein and Bannick. I will send you her photo, she is sitting to the left of the lamp.
Elisaveta Grygorievna was a Trainer with capital T, with an amazing charisma. Seven-year-olds used to be sitting quietly in her class, listening to every word. There was the strictest discipline, I still remember her notes with calligraphic handwriting, she educated discipline and decency in children.
I used to go to the Avangard chess school in Kiev. There is no website, just this page: https://guide.kyivcity.gov.ua/places/respublikanska-sahovo-saskova-skola-avangard
What are your favorite opening moves?
I love playing Grob's Attack and Desprez Opening with white, but it's harder to do quests, plus opponents don't really like answering the Grob Opening and 1.h4 in normal chess either, considering that it's “not chess”.
You become recognizable, and time is not a rubber band. Sitting and waiting for opponents when games are cancelled is too long, so I try to play normal chess.
I love playing Borg Opening with black. Richard Palliser and Simon Williams wrote a book, "Grandmaster Gambits: 1 e4" and quoted my name in it:
How many moves do you see ahead?
I'm not counting moves currently, but trying to complete all the quests :-)
Oresto here refers to the quest system which is a unique aspect of Immortal’s gameplay. Players are tasked with additional challenges to complete during their game based on which NFT pieces they choose to use.
- For example, the piece below cannot be played three times in a row and must survive to the end of the game. If the player succeeds here they will earn an additional bonus.
How would you describe your playing style?
My playing style is risky, I am yawning a lot and always trying to attack.
By yawning I mean that I make a lot of mistakes, for example I can expose a piece and not notice it :-)
In your opinion, what typical behaviors are preventing chess players from improving?
If you take amateur chess players, and I am one of them, then perhaps some of them lack perseverance, some need luck, some need knowledge or practical chess skills.
Players nowadays mostly play on the internet, few are trained. Because of this, the game level is not increasing.
In a survey conducted in December 2020, chessplus.net found that around 60% of players preferred to play chess over the board than over the net.
“Whilst there is strong and persistent support for the traditional mode, around one-third players prefer to play online. It is clear that the chess world is becoming divided into the analogue and the digital.”
They did however also state that:
“Younger players are more likely to be digital-only. A generation of youngsters will not have been able to play chess at school because chess tutors have been disallowed visits. When the new generation come to chess, they will only have experienced the online mode.”
which certainly supports Oresto’s opinion. (full article here)
How did you manage to make it to top 1 this week? Did you change anything in your mindset?
In order to take first place last week I had to play hard to overtake the opponents, especially towards the end it was day and night. I am not sure whether my mindset has changed or not, but I feel pretty tired.
In your opinion, what does web3 bring to chess?
Games are the most likely way of onboarding into web3 and chess is one of the most popular on-line games as of today.
I hope a lot that it will be blockchain-based chess immortal.game that will have a significant impact on the future of the industry.
What do you enjoy playing the most? Classic chess or Immortal?
Now I'm only playing Immortal. A lot of people play regular online chess every day - Immortal is played by only a few thousand.
I like the feeling of being a trailblazer. I have been with the project practically since the very beginning. Even when I didn't yet understand what it was all about, I could feel something interesting was emerging. Something interesting was coming to light.
We would like to thank our partners at Immortal and of course the wonderful Oresto for his time and his valuable answers.
Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for upcoming footage of the high octane chess tournament which took place as part of our Arcade event in November, and check out the Immortal twitter page to stay up to date with their future events and releases.