The time has come… the decision will soon be made on whether the mission of the Millionaire Chess Open can continue from this point forward. Grandmaster Maurice Ashley recently released a letter titled, “It’s Decision Time”.
Now, the date has finally arrived and despite a tremendous showering of support, the hopeful number quoted at the top of this piece did not materialize. Actually, given that only 76 players signed up by the deadline, we may want to call up Amy and Maurice sitting by the lake last summer and tell them to go canoeing instead! (Hopefully, the canoe doesn’t sink!)
Seventy-six players? That is correct. Seventy-six players. That is how many players sought to embark on a mission to change chess and the way it is perceived in America. Certainly there were hundreds or perhaps thousands who want to see a different direction for chess and perhaps would like to support this mission. Over the past three months, there was been a lot of data collected on the myriad of viewpoints.
Facebook is saturated with long threads about the Millionaire Chess Open. So after all of the debate and discourse, where does that leave the tournament? The Millionaire Chess organization was shooting for a target of 1500 players by March 31st.
Will Millionaire Chess take flight or be left in the hangar to sit idly by? Should we leave this battle to others as chess continues to struggle for relevance in a bleak American landscape? Is this all worth the risk?
Clearly seventy-six is a far cry from the goal, but what has occurred is a better understanding of ideas that players are willing to support even if the Millionaire vision needs more time to come into fruition. We should commend the Millionaire Open team for making the sacrifice to give us a vision for the future.
So… April 7th is the day that Ashley and partner Amy Lee will announce to the chess world the decision on whether to proceed with the vision either in tournament form and/or to begin another initiative to construct a lasting and sustainable plan for high-stakes tournaments.
If one looks at the effort, it is a valiant attempt to direct the conversation into a positive outcome. The hope is that America energy will not be limited to the scholastic explosion or the Internet craze, but a sustainable model of success for amateurs and professionals alike.