Fantastico at Qatar and Starting a Club

Magnus Carlsen is playing some magnificent chess in the past week. Are we heading toward a Kramnik-Carlsen matchup?

If you recall, a couple years ago Kramnik was offended that Carlsen was getting all the publicity in terms of “who was better?” Kramnik trotted out some stats that showed they were about even!

Now Kramnik is playing some pretty heady endgames, for wins! I’ve played through some of these games and the finessing is awesome. If one thinks about it, their pre-game preparation must be a real headache. “If I do this, he will probably reply with…” In successful chess there is a lot to know.

The recent fighting over the board seems to me much more accelerated than in the recent past. The prizes bear no resemblance to what had gone before. Even Mr. Fischer would congratulate some of these battlers if he were around. He could’ve been a worldwide chess ambassador. Having the time of his life without berating anyone who didn’t deserve it. People need heroes. I’m a fan of Carlsen. In the US I greatly admire Nakamura. There is a little bit of chess fever these days. To accelerate it we all have to come out of our comfort zone which means:

a) Trying something new (or old) from our usual thing.

b) Jack up the prizes. There are those who only are interested in $$$. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, it’s an impetus. It also shows the need to improve, to do more. Some will treat that as helping youngsters get better. At the local club around here I think $10 is the prize for the month and free entry into next month. The chess lovers have become satisfied with that but nothing truly changes. The bulging treasury (?) should let some of that out, do a little advertising and find out if it brings chess studs up close and personal. Do this for 6 months and you will see a change! You will! You will also experience one. As an old-timer I have been through all that. But, what you need is competent directors. People who will send the results in right away. Everything is electronics these days. If you pay your directors, instead of waiting for them to show up, it will make a difference. But, use your head.

Years ago a group of HS or older kids came to our club and we got infected! A couple of them were bad boys. Thieves, sociopaths, and trouble makers. Could they play chess? Yes. Were they good for our club? No. Did they turn in reports and money collected–No. Desperation causes bad choices. In chess, marriage, careers–all around, when someone volunteers check them out.

When I was in my 20s our treasurers were bonded (talk to a bank or insurance company). We had no problems. Then eventually “bonding” was dropped all together because of laziness, assumptions others would do the right thing, etc. Someone invariably took up the slack…bad way to run a navy.

Most just want to play chess and have their results recorded. In every organization there are 2 types of chess players. Those who want to play and those who are willing to administrate, often because they aren’t that good at playing, but, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’ve been sitting on your nuts with nothing to do, start a chess club, a better chess club. Offer some decent prizes out of your own pocket + entry fees. Hobbies cost money. Maybe in a future post I will tell you how to get publicity–it’s not that hard, just time consuming and follow up.

BOB

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3 thoughts on “Fantastico at Qatar and Starting a Club

  1. I was a USCF local tournament director when I was still in high school, and I organized three different small tournaments (15-25 players) within about a year and half or so. According to the Minnesota State Chess Association rules as the director I was entitled to take a fee for directing these events. I never did so and just put that amount towards the prize fund. The players were very appreciative although one who was also a TD told me I was making him look bad because he always pocketed the fee. I brought refreshments (homemade cookies, bars, etc.) that my mother helped me provide and tried to make the tournaments something a little different than the norm (like you do with your festivals and clinics). Things were simpler then. Thanks for this entry, Bob, and Merry Christmas!

  2. Beoooootiful. You were doing YOUR thing and the other dude was Jealous! What a worm! The other guy shouldn’t be upset with you or himself. After all, he is organizing too. If you end up with bigger and bigger turnouts he should get his head out of his zzz and up the ante–or collaborate with you. Jealousy and envy always slow progress down. I’ve seen “teams” like Luke and Tom Ludwig put some pretty impressive events together. Why does there have to be bad blood?

    In my shower today God gave me insight that has been hanging around in my head for some time about how to grow my business and one of the points was being a TD or going to events properly. Over the years I have TD’d my butt off so I am not interested in doing that, but the idea of helping others do that sure seems to sit well with me.

    I know a lot of people and I want to put a small collective together. But first, I want to talk with Simon Williams, Andrew Martin, John Blackstone, and maybe Tim Just. A world beater, I think. Thanks for your response on Christmas Day….

    Bob and Jack (who was at our Christmas Party last night and looking dapper in his PJs!)

  3. You are welcome. As you well know, running a tournament is a lot of work, often thankless, and any help to make things smoother and more pleasant would be welcomed. Bob Long, chess event consultant. 🙂

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