Monday, November 26, 2007

Is Goichberg good for Chicago?

I have found that in my time in chess, Bill Goichberg is a very controversial figure. People either seem to really like or dislike him, there is very little middle ground. This post is not to pass judgement either way, rather to bring up some questions.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have worked for Bill as a TD before.

To some people the title of this post will appear silly. The CCA runs the Chicago Open, and the Midwest Class, the two largest and most successful tournaments in the area. It brings prestige, strong players, opportunities for area players, into the Chicago area. These are all positive things. After all, without these events, where else would tournament players go?

The CCA does take in roughly 50% of the adult entry fees for tournaments in the Chicago area in a given year. Does it give anything back to the chess community though? Is there any responsibility to give back to the Chicago chess community? Obviously a more vibrant area for players would benefit the CCA in turn bringing more players into their tournaments.

To best understand why this is even an issue, one must know a little bit about the Chicago tournament scene pre-Goichberg. In the 80's and early 90's Chicago in addition to having perhaps the highest concentration of NTDs, also had perhaps the best base of tournament organizers in Helen Warren, Fred Gruenberg, Al Losoff, Richard Verber, and the Oak Park Forest Park Chess Club. Helen ran the Midwest Masters every memorial day weekend, Fred, Al, and Verber focused on the larger swisses. The OPFP club had the Master Challenge as their signature event. The local organizers didn't always get along, but the profits from those events were put back into the community in the form of GM appearances, free scholastic clinics, and even free and low cost local swiss events.

In a very short time, Losoff moved away, the OPFP club folded, Gruenberg and Warren stopped running events. With no local organizing talent to take over, Goichberg came in and filled the vacuum. It is unclear whether or not there would be any local organizers that could or would step in today if the CCA pulled out.

It would be nice to see the CCA give a little back to this area, though should they be obliged to?


Friday, November 23, 2007

Back from Hiatus

My apologies to any faithful readers that may have missed me. This last few weeks have been a whirlwind of chess tournaments, business travel, illness, and obligations. Not nearly as glamorous as it sounds.

In chess though there were several notable happenings this last month. Our last Orland Park tournament drew 52 playerssetting a record and showing some life in the south suburbs.

The October Kumbaya tournament drew 130+ players and is well on its way to starting to draw 150-200 players without a hitch.

I directed at the National Youth Action in Saint Louis, which was a wonderful experience. Nearly 500 players were handled by a mere 5 floor TDs, as the event was very efficiently run. There is no doubt that NTD Wayne Clark who was the Chief, is one of the rising stars of the TD world along with Franc Guadalupe who will be in charge of the National K-12.

One of the more interesting moments at the event was a parent of one of the leading scorers in the K-3 section venturing into the team room of the team he was in competition against, and asking for scoresheets of games against his son's next round opponent. He did make it out of the room alive if you were wondering.

I should have more frequent updates the next few months. There should be much to report, such as, the final Orland Scholastic of the year, the K-12, the next NACA Fide tournament where Ray Robson will attempt his 2nd IM norm, both Karpov and Nigel Short visiting Chicago in early January. Talk to everyone soon.