Friday 18 July 2008


As a child I had a catholic education, although I have recovered from it now. As part of this education we were read lots of parables, memories of which I long ago suppressed. But one parable I did remember was the Parable of the Workers in the Field. The basic gist of it is a vineyard owner goes out in the morning to higher some workers for the day. They agree to a price and the workers get to work. Later in the day he hires some more workers (at the same price), and even later hires some more. At the end of the day everyone gets paid the same (agreed) amount, even though some worked longer than others. Much moaning is heard from all day workers, but to no avail as a deal is a deal. Indeed the vineyard owner twists the knife a little bit by stating "Are you envious because I am generous?"
I often think of this parable when I see the interaction between chess players and tournament organisers. Any perceived unequal treatment usually results in somone from the "have-nots" having a whinge about how unfair it all is. One example was the provision of tea/coffee for titled players at this years Doeberl Cup. I suspect if everyone had to pay for coffee then their would have been no complaints, but by providing free coffee to a small group of players (as part of their overall tournament conditions) was somehow a slap in the face of the hard working chess players of this country.
So is there such things as bad incentives to play in a chess tournament? Is something more than a basic prize fund and a good venue somehow damaging to the success of a tournament? Because based on comments to me and comments I've read elsewhere there is a group of players who probably think so.
Oh for the chessplayer who wants to play for the simple enjoyment of the game!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The slippy slope of benefits and incentives. One year you offer free coffee for a select few, and next year you find yourself contemplating the select few to get a 'drinks card' much the same as 'famous' footballers in a nightclub.
Imagine the patzer's excitement when GM Darryl Johansen 'offers' him a free coffee.

But then the recent Adelaide tournament offered a subsidised meal and orchestra and was judged a success.

If you are in the tournament promotion business you are in the murky world of selling and and dealing.
Yes, free coffee makes you a little bit pregnant.