“Rubbing shoulders with the Big Boys” is one of the promises of the million dollar event now taking place in Las Vegas,
But is it so? Who are the big boys? To me they would be GM dudes like Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Caruana, J. Polgar and others in the top 10 (such as Nakamura). But on the list I saw, none of those chess A-listers were on it. But, other than that, Maurice Ashley has a great thing going on. His partner Amy Lee, maybe she is the money person. Good! Our USA guy, Ray Robson is one of those with a perfect score after 5 rounds. Way to go Ray!
To get in you need a thousand bucks. That sure puts the lie about letting GMs in FREE, which I have always been against. But tournaments in the USA usually let GMs in free or their money is refunded, or an entry fee is deducted from prize money.
At any rate, Ashley is doing a ballsy thing. Maybe guys in Brooklyn are like this. Somebody had to go to at least one casino. They had to get other sponsors. And they did, whether they are Big Sponsors I do not know.
But Ashley stepped up. He did that once before (about 2005 and the thing basically was a disaster). Money was lost. The entry fee was 1/4th to 1/3rd of what it is today. And yet people are still telling me they can’t afford this or that because of the “economy.” Did you notice on the lists a lot of the higher-rated players were from foreign countries?
How many of you would pay a thou to get your butt beat? Doesn’t there have to be some other “stuff” to get you there? Something for you? Cool things?
According to a video I watched yesterday they have other things too. It’s up to those who joined to wonder if they got their money’s worth!
Our Chess Festivals
When I was running the Chess Festivals from 1998 – 2004 (that concept is now being copied all over the place!!!) we did something different. My guests MET with the celebs, maybe even had supper with them. There were autographs, selling of their books, etc. I’ve heard nothing about this for the LV event. In 2005 the handling of bidding for books, etc. was another disaster. So we will have to wait a bit to find out if people were happy. But with 500 entries at a grand a pop, we are far short in covering costs-that’s where sponsors come in.
As I’ve noted in the past, at Rodeos, some of the entry fees are $5,000 and up and the prizes are big, big, big. So chess is in its infancy when it comes to stuff like that. Ashley wants to make chess more popular and show others it can be done in style. One GM showed up in a limousine! They had a dress code but it looks like the MAIN thing was to have clothes on. I saw few guys with a suit on and some had a regular long sleeve shirt on which might’ve been a first for them.
All in all, I hope it was a success for Ashley, Lee, sponsors, and the casino (I tried to keep my events away from areas with casinos because that’s where the gamblers would be… chess is not the only addiction people have).
The way prizes were being given out with certain scores looks like a “typical” Goichberg format. Somehow, I missed out on the advertising for this spectacle. I know how tough it is to organize chess players into spending large amounts of money in the hope of getting some kind of return. Was anything on this published in Chess Life? If so, I am sorry I missed it.
Sounds like it might’ve been the time for a direct mail campaign.
The thing is, you want to have the customers leave with a great feeling in their bones. With all those “internationals” in attendance and not so many USA-ers. it proves to me that chess “in the USA” is nothing like we want it to be. Others have said it, but I will repeat it, “chess people in the USA are cheap!” Golf, football, new cars, and gambling, that’s what’s exciting to Americans.
A World Chess Championship in the USA?
I noticed there was no Google/Bing coverage of this event in the “regular” news so even though a million sounds like a pile of $$$ to chess people, the news services think (apparently) that a million isn’t worth reporting on but they are willing to beat this Ferguson MO “thing” into submission. So unless we get some top notch publicity, chess is still going nowhere here. One guy said, “Americans are lazy!” We live in a “comfort zone” lifestyle. How do you retard the “comfort zone” lifestyle? In a few months it will be Super Bowl time AGAIN! Time for drinking, potato chips, TV, drinking, hamburgers, drinking, smoking, yelling, and more drinking. The next day, it has all petty much blown over.
Any ideas people? Let me change that question. Any worthwhile ideas not involving “aliens from another universe, etc.?”
Go ahead, comment. Us organizers and publishers are really trying to find out what can be done to stir others from their sofas. At the moment I have a QUIZ going for which up to 3 people can share some $350 worth of spoils (cash and books and dvds). All you need to do is invest $20 to subscribe to my newsletter so you can get the questions (chess) to be answered. We need 25 people out of our total subscription base and so far we have 10 or 11. It’s not big money but it’s something and one doesn’t have to travel to Las Vegas for a chance at a haul.
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