An interesting new(-ish) tournament idea from the US. GM Maurice Ashley is behind a $1,000,000 tournament title "Millionaire Chess". It is planned for Las Vegas in October next year and offers a total prize fund of a million dollars.
The obvious intention behind the tournament is to try and bring some of the excitement and money of Poker to the chess board. Along with the poker sized prize fund is of course a poker sized entry fee. And this is the kicker, as the entry fee is $1000. So the gamble for the organisers is finding enough chess players with $1000 (plus enough to cover travel expenses) who would find such a tournament worthwhile.
Certainly 20 years ago I would have said that the organisers would have had no hope of attracting enough entries. And while I think the odds are still not in their favour, I do think they have a better chance of succeeding now. While chess players are still quite tight fisted, I sense that more average players are willing to spend some extra cash to play an event, as long as the event is worth it. In part this is due to the rise in living standards in parts of the world, but it also a function of a growing chess population.
Whether this is enough to make this event go ahead (as the organisers have put some conditions on it taking place), I'm not entirely sure, but as one commentator said ,"either this event will be a huge flop, or it will change chess forever!"