Wednesday 11 June 2008

Good Club! Good Tournament?

At the ANU Chess Club we still do things in a pretty laid back manner. The club charges no entry fees for tournaments, and membership is also free. If we need money for equipment etc, voluntary donations are all that the members are asked for.
Of course this means we don't offer prize money for events either, but the general consensus is that this is a good thing. We also offer NQA (No Questions Asked) half point byes (but only a maximum of 2). So if work is keeping you away, or there is a football game on TV, you can miss a round, and still get half a point.
In terms of attracting players to the club, this kind of consideration seems to have worked. The last event had 31 players (pretty good when maximum capacity of the venue is only 26!), and due to a rare confluence of chess schedules, attracted the No.2 and No. 8 rated players in Australia, the No. 1 rated female player in Australia, the current Australian Junior Champion, and a former Australian Girls Champion. And there is no doubt that the attraction for the top seeds was the presence of the other top seeds. Unfortunately the pressures of modern day life, work and study took their toll on the event. So a number of players missed rounds due to various commitments, and while the club format is designed to deal with exactly these circumstances, it did leave the event with a curiously incomplete feel. A couple of 'marquee' match ups didn't happen, and a superficial look at the final standings would even elicit a 'he finished where?' kind of comments.
So it leaves me wondering where the balance should lie? To be honest I am happy to leave the format the way it is, as I think it suits the bulk of the members, but I am also vexed by the thought that it is making it harder for stronger players to find an acceptable event.


DeNovoMeme said...

increase bums on seats and more players will get competitive games. So, keep doing what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

As I read your post it seems an invitation to comment on the business model adopted by your Club.
It is not an unusual model; 'run the Club on minimum funds'.
It is not the only model; 'if funds were available you could pay someone to write weekly bulletins, you could subsidise some-one to run novice coaching classes, you could pay some-one to run elite coachingclasses, you could have prize-money that is attractive to some immigrant europeans, you could pay some-one to create articles of interest in the local papers.
Perhaps the core of members you have now rather enjoy the constrained model.