Saturday, 2 February 2008

US Tournament Rules

Once your email address gets onto the internet, you end up on a lot of (chess) mailing lists. Usually I "spam list" most of them, but I still look at them occasionally. One email that arrived recently advertised the $10,000 Nashville Open. Now I'm not suggesting anyone from Australia plays in this event (although feel free to do so), but I found some of the tournament regulations interesting.
While the prize pool is $10,000 only $5,000 is guaranteed (as per USCF prize rules). The prize pool is based on 200 entries, and if there is a shortfall, the prize list can be reduced by the proportion of the shortfall (down to $5,000). Of course if there is more than 200 entries, the organisers keep the profit as a reward for running a good tournament.
Free entry is offered for IM's and GM's, but the entry fee they should have paid ($79) is deducted from any prize money they win. The tournament is run in 5 sections, with a $1400 1st Prize in the top section. Interestingly unrated players can either play in the Open section or the U/1600 - Unrated section. If they play in the open they pay full entry and are eligible for full prizes. If they play in the unrated section they pay $49 entry but are only eligible for half the amount of any advertised prize (ie instead of $800 for first they win $400).
And finally each tournament is a 5 round swiss, although they offer 2 day and 3 day schedules. The 3 day schedule is 1 round Friday, 2 rounds Saturday, 2 Rounds Sunday with a time limit of G/120. If you choose the 2 day schedule, then you play 3 rounds on the Saturday with a time limit of G/75 for rounds 1&2 before joining the 3 day tournament in round 3.
Now these are pretty standard tournament rules for the US, but unusual for Australia. While I don't think there are the numbers in Australian chess to support 3 day/2 day split schedules I think that the rules for unrated players are worth trying, and parsimonious tournament organisers may also find the rules about entry fees for titles players appealing.

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

I've played a couple of US events with conditions like this (they're pretty standard for USCF events). The idea seems to be to get the largest number of people possible in the door (and staying at the tournament hotel, if applicable, since selling a certain number of room nights is payback for the sponsorship of the venue). One consequence they seem to feel is necessary then is that dropping out of an event at any point and/or not playing in a particular round is very normal.

In the two US events I've played, the last round has been a little strange with so many people not in the running for a prize electing not to play the last round and just head off home early. It's a little strange (and disappointing in an anti-climactic way), but the flip side is that they get a lot of people entering in the first place and can run multiple divisions (I've only played "open" events, with the next even down being under-2200 USCF and even the opens have had 50+ people for a 3- and 4-day long-weekend event (you could play 2 games a day or 4 on the second day and 2 a day for the last two days).

I think both systems have their advantages and disadvantages.