The Chess Drum conducted an interview on March 2nd (via Skype) with GM Maurice Ashley concerning the Millionaire Chess Open. The tournament earned its moniker due to its $1,000,000 prize fund and is scheduled to take place in the electric atmosphere that Las Vegas offers.
GM Ashley at the site of the Millionaire Chess Open!
However, the tournament has created a firestorm of discussion due to its trailblazing nature. Ashley discusses the inspiration for the tournament, the entry fee, the sandbagging and cheating issues. He also addressed the criticism leveled by an anonymous Grandmaster that amateurs should not be capable of winning such a large prize. The controversy generated nearly 250 comments including a few chess luminaries who weighed in.
“So as much as I thought on the controversy, I think it really settled around this particular point… the strongest point of all. The amateurs have to be mobilized as a base… get them excited… get them wanting to play more… get them wanting to pay for lessons because they’re wanting to play in more events like this one… get them wanting to buy more books, more DVDS… and who makes that? The GMs. I think that’s the point the GMs missed.”
~GM Maurice Ashley
Of course the grassroots, bottom-up method has been used in revolutions throughout history to exact change. Ashley sees this as nothing short of a revolution and makes an impassioned plea for support. The tournament is scheduled for October and hopes to gain momentum for a March 31st tournament assessment. It is often said that one must become a part of the change they want to see. Perhaps $1,000,000 is a lot of money, but is a small amount for chess players to invest for the future of chess.
Thursday, October 9th through Monday, October 13th 2014
CONTACT: MILLIONAIRE CHESS