THINGS YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT US CHESS
1. A chess federation that actually worked to create a sponsored profesional circuit rather than just selling memberships /magazine subscriptions and promoting lucrative scholastic events.
2. A fair tournament qualifcation process for the US Championship that was not based on rating and pollitical connections. Imagine if there were large open qualification tournaments (that could help fund the main event) in 5-6 regions of the country.
3.A more competitive market for tournaments. Currently there is one company, www.chesstour.com that organizes the majority of tournaments across the country. It has been this way for more than thirty years. I want to see a Microsoft Open, A Bally's Open, a Chess.com open and so on. How to change the game and get the big corporate players involved ?
4. A profesional players union. Have you ever wondered why the chess world is run for the most part by non titled players ? Or why it is you rarely see the players openly speaking up about tournament conditions ? There is a major void in the US pro chess players tournament scene; many are apathetic or simply afraid to speak out due to the potential retribution from organizers who choose what GMs to inivite and give conditions to. With this lack of feedback we see the organizers not really caring about the conditions of the top players and the players not caring about the scene.
5. Chess tournaments should be run a bit more like poker tournaments and have many prizes in one large section.Instead we have various prizes based on ratings, which creates a barrier between the game and the public. You can not just show up at a chess tournament and play, you have to join the USCF and then go earn a rating. I do not have any problem with the rating system per se, but I do think that limiting the prizes based on rating category creates a system of entitlement and essentially rewarding mediocrity. It also takes away from the potential luster of have 100 prizes in one section which seems much more appealing than a bunch of sections and the money being split up. This class section mentality has been part of the US scene for decades and I feel it is part of the reason we have yet to attract big corporate sponsors and the general public. Where is the wow factor in having the World Open (largest Open tournament in the US) have 10-15 prizes per section when it could instead have 100-150 prizes overall. Also there simply are no great underdog stories, no Chris Moneymakers, because all the amateurs are busy being stuck in the lower sections fighting it out for the lower prizes. It is a self imposed system of rewarding mediocrity and amateurism when it really should be an open meritocracy that embraces professionalism.
Before you tell me that everyone has to feel like they have "skin" in the game consider how many people join running marathons and other tournaments with zero expectation for winning a prize. They realize that they are paying for the experience and that the players who win...are the players who earned it.
6. Greater synergy between online and OTB play. My mind reels when I consider the fact that we have around 1 million members of chess.com versus maybe 75,000 members of the US Chess Federation. There is hardly any cross over and we must ask why and seek to get players out from behind their screens and into the tournament halls. One solution is for organizers to begin collaborating with game servers to create online qualifiers to seed players into high profile tournaments. Cheating is a concern that we have allowed to paralyze us. There are plenty of measures that can be taken to ensure that it is a fair playing field for these online qualifiers...
7. Better security and stiffer penalties. There should be a zero tolerance policy for electronic devices in the tournament hall. You show up at a tournament, you check your devices at the door and have the freedom from technology. It will not be long before the technology vacation aspect would be a bonus by itself! All major events should have scanning equipment and a one warning rule for players who fail to check their tech at the door. Anyone caught cheating should get a lifetime ban. Period.
8... You may now return to the safety of your regular chess programming. This has been a transmisson from chess progress headquaters at