CategoriesWorld Chess

Sooo many chess players….

Here, at the World Open, One thing comes to mind: WOW! So many players!

How many players is a lot?  1225! (and that’s NOT including any of the side events like the Women’s Championship, the Under 13 Championship, the Under 13 Booser or the Senior Amateur Championship).

Over 1200 men, women and children raging in age from six to 86, and from people who are making this their very first chess tournament ever to people who’ve been playing in tournaments for over 70 years!  If that doesn’t show you what a wide-spread game chess is, nothing will!

Players come from all over the world for this tournament.  I’ve heard more languages and accents in the last couple of days (sorry for not posting any blogs from the tournament before this, I’ve been pre-occupied trying to win my games) than I’ve ever heard in one place aside from a trip to Disney World when I was a child.

If the above two paragraphs don’t demonstrate just how widespread the game of chess has become, then I don’t know what does.  All walks of life are represented here, it seems: from the poor to the rich, the young and the old and everything in between, every ethnicity you can imagine, both genders, “nerds” and “jocks” and “emos” and “hippies” and any other stereotype you can think of are represented here.  Every major motion picture WISHES they could reach everyone as the game of chess seems to have as litterally any demographic that exists is represented here.

If I get a chance, I will try to post a photo later of the veritable sea of people that makes up the tournament playing areas (there are 3 large ballrooms filled with people each round).  That will likely come tomorrow if I can pull it off, because tomorrow is when all the game schedules merge together and all players will be in the same place at the same time!

I was curious about how many master players there are, so I checked out the Open section and the Under 2400 section.  There are 27 GM’s (Grand Master) in the Open section, 1 WGM (Woman Grand MAster) in the Open section and another in the Women’s championship tournament, 8 IM’s (International Master) in the Open section and 2 in the U2400 section, and a smattering of FM’s (FIDE Masters) and LM’s (Life Master).

In other words, the talent in this building right now is awe-inspiring!

Of course, there are also many amateur players like yourself… some that have only just learned what chess even is this year that could gain a lot of valuable info from the Chess Noob blogs I usually bring you.

Tomorrow morning, I intend attending a lecture by one of the many Grand Masters here.  I sadly did not attend the one today because I slept in a little bit (I had a long grueling day yesturday).  After the lecture, I’ll be posting a blog that outlines some of the stuff the GM talked about (after all, wouldn’t you rather get a short lesson from one of the best players on the planet rather than a potzer like me?).

I may post one or two of my games on here too, as that might be helpful (including one game where my opponent made a horrendous mistake in the opening, allowing me to capture his queen on move 7… it will be a good lesson in what to look for).

Until then, I need to prepare for the next round…

CategoriesWorld Chess

This Week: The World Open!!!

This week, in Philadelphia, PA, USA is the 40th Annual World Open.  Perhaps one of the largest chess tournaments on the planet, this week there will be THOUSANDS of chess players from all over the globe competing for HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars! That’s a lot of chess sets, and some very large prizes.

I’ll be one of the chess players at the tournament hoping to win my section and take home a large bounty at the end of the long, grueling week of chess games!  I’ll be posting blogs all week long on the on-goings of the tournament, how players are doing, and hopefully getting some tips and advice from some of the greatest chess players alive today!

Here’s a rundown of the tournament:

There are 9 sections in the main event: Open, U2400, U2200, U2000, U1800, U1600, U1400, U1200, U900.  This is great, because it means everyone in the tournament will be paired against players around their own strength (I’ve done very poorly in the past in “open” tournaments where I was stuck constantly playing opponents with ratings that were several hundred points higher than me round after round… the fact that I’m playing people only withing 200 points or less of my own rating makes me much more confident, and means the games will be much more fierce).

There are several side events including several Blitz tournaments (games of 5 minute time control), the Senior Amateur championships (open to players with ratings under 2010 and aged at least 50 years old), The Women’s Championship (open to all female players of the world), the Under 13 championships (open to all players aged 13 yrs old or less), and the Under 13 Booster (Open to players aged 13 yrs or less and having a rating of U1000).

Between all the sections and bonus tournaments, there will be over $250,000 in prizes!  Top prize for the open section alone is $20,000!!!!!  For many of us, that’s a year’s worth of pay for winning 9 games of chess!

Time control for the open section is 40/90, SD/30 w/30sec inc. (which, you’ll discover in a future blog means 40 moves in 90 minutes, then sudden death of 30 minutes using 30 second increments). Time control for all the other sections (for the longer schedules) are 40/2, SD/1 w d/5  except for the U900 section and the Under 13 booster which is G/65 w d/5.  These time controls are based on the longest possible schedules (which in most cases is 5 days).  The time controls get shorter for players that opt for shorter schedules (either 4 days of chess or 3 days of chess).

Personally, I’m playing a full 5-day schedule so I can have as much time to analyze as possible.  With several months worth of income on the line for the top prize in my section, I can’t afford to make any mistakes by moving too fast!

There will also be trophies, which is always good to prove you won your section to your friends even after you’ve spent your winnings!

Stay tuned all this week as I bring you as up-to-date with the events of the World Open as I can.

Have a topic you’d like me to cover or a question you’d like to ask? send me an e-mail at [email protected]