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In the New York/New Jersey metro area, there are several inexpensive one-day quad tournaments held every single week end. I'm sure that this must also be true in the Los Angeles area too. You don't need to stay in a hotel, you don't need air fare, and the entry fees are quite low. There are parts of the country where it's difficult to find chess competition, but the L.A urban area certainly isn't one.
Chess is like any hobby, it does require money and the question is how much one wants or is able to spend.
Hunting/fishing requires licences and equipment
Travel we know costs money
Photography requires a certain amount of equipment.I'd say just keep playing online, and don't put that much money into tournaments. Better off spending money on chess materials like books (read this thread: http://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/chess-books-in-cbh-format), free reader here: http://fritzload.com/Download/ChessBaseReader/Setup.msi
Coaches are worth paying for too, so many times I've been slapped around in games by kids with coaches. Ultimately, if you are able to pursue it further, you'll probably get a commercial chess program and database as well.
Actually, it's pretty simple.
Let's say you are talking your local 5-round tournament that typically goes across 3 days (Friday Night, Saturday, and Sunday). First off, as mentioned before, most of them offer a 3-day (Play round 1 Friday Night) or 2-day (Play round 1 Saturday Morning) and then merge round 2 Saturday Afternoon. Secondly, most offer at least 1 half-point bye provided it's committed before the tournament starts, so once you claim a bye, you are locked in it. Can't look at your results and say "Oh, I need a win, remove my bye" - Doesn't work that way.
Since you are talking a "local" tournament, but maybe not local enough to drive both ways each day (if it's an hour or less each way, I'll drive instead of get a hotel room), it should be close enough to where you are driving rather than flying. Therefore, if the hotel rate at the event is too high (i.e. $99/Night), then go to www.hotels.com, and stay at another hotel nearby. Make sure you actually read the reviews. Don't just look at the number of stars. See how legit the reviews are. Someone says that the blanket was made of a material that they happened to be allergic to, and gave it a 1-star rating because of that, ignore that bullsh*t. But in the Atlanta area, I saw one hotel that had 16 reviews, 14 of them 1 star out of 5, and 12 of those 14 mentioned bug problems. Uhm - I ain't staying there!
Typically, unless you are talking extremely high-priced areas like New York, San Francisco, Boston, etc, you will find a few decent hotels (Clean, Servicable, but no "frills", just your basic Bed, TV, Table or Desk, Bathroom, etc) for $50 to $70 a night. When you start seeing Weekly rates, AVOID AT ALL COST! Super cheap hotels are probably that for a reason also. However, I've stayed at places like a Hampton Inn in Lawrenceville, GA (30 minutes from Atlanta) for $61 a night before, and the hotel was better than any hotel in Atlanta that cost twice that.
You have to do research and think outside the box, like a chess player, to get the bargains. That tournament in Atlanta at the end of 2012, I paid about $135 for the hotel for 2 nights, a $50 or so entry fee, and maybe $50 in gas. Ate cheap (Fast food, breakfast joints, etc), and spent maybe $50 on food Under $300. First place was around $400, so win it an you are ahead. I placed, but didn't win it, and the whole weekend cost me maybe $50 to $100 dollars. You can easily spend more than that just eating out for dinner every night in restaurants!
Can a middle class person afford full weekend tournaments 52 weeks a year? Hell no! But I can easily do 1 a month.
Another little trick - I have a friend that lives about 70 miles away from me. We often room together, getting 2 doubles instead of 1 king. Splits your hotel costs in half! I did that 2 weekends ago. Entry fee $60. Hotel room for 1 night (drove down Saturday Morning) - $55. $115 plus food and gas costs. Won $105 for finishing 4th (1st Under 2200). So $10 plus food and gas costs. That's cheap for a full weekend of entertainment. In this case, becasue we were splitting, we stayed at the site of the touranment, so had we stayed elsewhere, I might have come out slightly ahead before Food and Gas costs.
Once again - be creative - it works out for those that put in the effort!
A local weekend tournament around here costs about £50 (£20 entry, £15 travel, £15 food). You must be entering some big expensive tournaments.
I played in a nice one day, 3-round quad this Saturday. One hour drive each way, $10 dollar extry fee, a couple of bucks for lunch
If you were a super famous GM, like Anand and Carlsen, that would be no problem, because there are sponsors.
As an amateur, however, it can indeed became expensive.
Professional players that have not yet achieved the high class level suffer way more, I believe, because they are often without sponsors and need to gain enough money from tournaments to compensate the expenses and fees and also make a living.
How were Anand and Carlsen able to play in these type of elementary tournaments? I don't mean them specifically, but how did these GMs manage to get into elementary tournaments and start their career.
This is how Carlsen did it: his family made many sacrifices:
What about chess in London? I am going to study there. If you know any chess clubs, let me know.
When I visited London as a tourist, I joined http://www.khcc.org.uk/start.shtml my first night in the city. Played a few games with Kingscrusher of YouTube fame.
I presume most GMs did the way I said, taking part on tournaments without knowing if they will end with more or less money than they started.
But if they get a high status early, before adulthood, they can pass trough this fase while still under their parents financial support.
Many hobbies/sports cost a lot more than chess, which is relatively inexpensive. Friends of mine have kids in high school and junior high school who are into squash, fencing and skiing. Those are expensive sports. Before factoring in cost of coaches and tournament entry fees, you have to spend several hundred to several thousand dollars for equipment and membership fees in gyms or racquet clubs just to get the opportunity to play.
yes and many hobbies/sports cost lessmost mainstream sports are cash cows and this is why so many people are indoctrinated and lured into playing them
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