World Open at Valley Forge

Valley Forge Convention Center
Venue for 2007 World Open

The 35th Annual World Open will kick off on the 28th of July with great anticipation. It remains the marquee tournament in the U.S. attracting strong GMs from around the globe. The tournament also has a certain magic and usually unfurls a new star, has a foreign delegation, or is host to an unforgettable performance.

One thing I noticed the entry fee. How could I not notice the US$400 price tag to enter at the door?? That is a hefty amount considering the odds of winning. When GM Maurice Ashley held the historic HB Global Chess Challenge in 2005, he raised the standards and the prize fund to $500,000. Afraid of losing entrants, Bill Goichberg upped the anty and raised his prize fund to $500,000 (unguaranteed), but it also set a precedent for him to raise the entry fees… which he has done. Let’s hope the new site will bring some intangibles that will justify the cost.

Previous World Open coverage

2001 World Open
2002 World Open
2003 World Open
2004 World Open
2005 World Open
2006 World Open

…and some classic games from top Black masters here!

What story will this tournament bring?


  1. a low turn out !? food drink houseing gas for car taxi tips side bars of chess specials cost of trip $1,700 Abig chance for a clear winner in all classes

  2. Daaim – As a business professor, wouldn’t you agree that big swiss entry fees behave somewhat inelastically. Or even have reverse elasticity. As the HB proved, hard core OTB hobbyists love the big events. What’s an extra $150 for your recreational passion? There is probably a limit, but it clearly hasn’t been reached yet. The key is that there has been a rise in prize funding, at least as advertised. Bigger turnouts draw bigger turnouts.

    Chess is still a cheap hobby. I have buddies who spend way more on weekend camping/fishing or golf trips. Their equipment costs a lot more than mine! And compared to those who like to take gambling trips to Vegas, Atlantic City, etc ..

    See you in Philly!!

  3. RJT,

    I wish I could believe the inelasticity, but my wallet tells me otherwise.  Black Knight pointed out that we’re looking $1700 tab… is that right??? Sheesh. I can hardly believe it! Nevertheless, I am playing, so your theory holds.

    I suppose you’re right about camping, fishing and yes… golf!! I must admit that you’re right about big events. The HB Global event was magical and Maurice Ashley put on a nice event (my reflections here). My only beef there was the prices at the food concession. 😐

    The World Open had gotten drunk from its success and had been without innovation for the past umpteen years. The change of venue (actually a past site for the WO) should add some spice. I read that everyone is playing in the same room (ala HB Global) and that the hotels are overlooking the venue. Sounds nice!

    I’m looking forward to “World Open Magic.” The games, the skittles room excitement, blitz tournament, seeing friends and no doubt an entertaining analysis session by Emory Tate! I plan to do several audio interviews!

  4. GM Susan Polgar just cross-posted this topic to her blog and got some interesting responses. There seems to be a lot of disgruntled players who complain about what they feel are exorbitant entry fees. Bill Goichberg remains practically a monopoly in U.S. chess promotion. You have Foxwoods which is co-organized by Drum supporter, Donald Colbert and the National Open which is done by Fred Grunberg. You have a few others, but none are considered marquee tournaments. There needs to be more competition. RJT if you want economics, then a healthy supply of diverse chess promotion may increase demand and make entry fees more reasonable. Right? 😕

    Reactions at Polgar’s Blog

  5. One’s focus should be on trying to become a better player than the prize fund at a become irrelevant when one has mastered the art of winning chess

  6. chessist_in_seclusion, I basically agree with what you said about focusing on becoming a better chess player, and not on the prize fund! The rub comes when you play in the BIG $$ tournaments like the world Open! The prizes are soooo BIG, and the cost to play is so expensive, that I think one is forced, as it were, to focus on all that $$! If I had plenty of $$, and or live near the tournament site, then I think I could focus less on winning a prize!

  7. It seems that there is a stable group of players (myself included) for whom the big money OTB events are very attractive… the lure of the prize fund, the intensity of the competition (even in the class sections), seeing the GMs up close, and of course reuniting with your chess buddies. As long as Goichberg continues to stage well run events, and pays attention to the right balance of entry fees and prize funds, I see his franchise continuing. Remember, he only jacked up the WO entry fees after the HB Classic showed that even more chess players were willing to fork out more dough for significantly higher prizes.

    Otherwise, there are more modest entry fee events at the National and local levels for those who don’t have the cash, or aren’t quite that enthusiastic about OTB play. And of course many players, even very strong ones, have completely retired from OTB play, and only play on the Internet.

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