Shout Out to Those Making a Difference in Chess
Last week I played in my first ever round robin norm tournament, the 3rd Metropolitan Chess FIDE Invitational in LA. Ankit Gupta and Michael Belcher have set up this tournament and a few others to give players a chance at norms without having to travel out of the country. It was a very nice tournament. They brought us sandwiches and had different beverages for us throughout the tournament. The boards were nice and they also had plaques by the board with the player’s name on it so we could see where we were sitting and help the observers know who each person was. There were also flags by the plaques to show the nationality of that person. Obviously a lot of work went into it, and I can imagine that Michael and Ankit got very little from doing this, compared to how much work they put in… they had to pay for the food, beverages, the place where the tournament was, then there was prize money, they had to pay the IMs to come play, and I can imagine some other things too. So they put in all this work for very little personal benefit, but mostly just to make a difference in chess, to bring something good to chess in the US.
At the same time, they also ran their first qualifier tournament for players just below 2200 FIDE to have a chance at qualifying for a norm tournament (since the restriction was that you had to be 2200 or higher FIDE to play in the Invitational). The winner of that tournament has the chance to play in the next IM Norm Invitational. This won’t affect the chance at norms a ton because, according to FIDE rules, you can play one person rated under 2200 whose rating will be counted as 2200 figuring out your performance rating that qualifies you for a norm. It might be confusing, but Ankit explained it to me. But I can imagine there are a ton of sacrifices and time to do these tournaments. And I give a shout out to both of them for everything they are doing!
Also three other people: Arun Sharma, IM Danny Rensch, and IM David Pruess have each organized or helped organize a few tournaments kind of like this one. David even told me once, that he lost about $1000 dollars doing a tournament like this and I am sure both Danny and Arun might have suffered similar losses. Not to mention how much time each one of them spend doing these tournaments. Arun and David have done several tournaments in Berkeley, and Danny has the Copper State tournament in Arizona. Thanks for bringing great chess to the US!!
Then there is Chess.com which has, in my opinion, made a big difference in chess. They’re always improving stuff to help people improve their chess, learn some really cool things, and be able to play consistently and get experience. They have great coverage too on their live Chess.com TV on all that is going on in the chess world (especially the top tournaments) which has really helped grow the interest in chess here in the US and internationally. Chess politics are even here too.
There is also IM Greg Shahade who does the US Chess School which I know takes a ton of time and work and I don’t think he gets anything for it. And his sister, WGM Jennifer Shahade, who is involved in a lot of chess events, writes articles, and does many other things relating to chess. And FM Aviv Freidman who is involved in just about everything that has to do with chess (and is a pretty cool guy too)!
I am sure there is a ton of other people I haven’t mentioned that put a lot of time into promoting chess. I would like to thank everyone who sacrifices all their time making a difference in chess. Somewhat because I have participated in several of these kind of events and (at least the ones I have been to) in my opinion they all are very nice. And if anybody has some extra money to help further my chess, I am perfectly willing to take it off your hands and I am sure any of these people are willing to accept any donations made towards their events as wellJ.
You can also check out the results of the tournament I played in here and other Metropolitan tournaments: http://www.metrochessla.com/schedule.php
Here is one of my wins against an IM: