Reflections of the 2016 Millionaire Chess Open

GM Maurice Ashley on the red carpet.
Photo by David Llada

The last few weeks have been a bit melancholy for Millionaire Chess fans. In an interview with The Chess Drum, GM Maurice Ashley reflected on the tournament, the challenges and the triumphs. The tournament encouraged a vigorous debate and introduced a number of innovations that will hopefully become a standard in future tournaments.

While the tournament did not draw the numbers anticipated the tournament was enjoyed by those who participated and will be discussed for years to come. As one of the MC VIP members and as the journalist who has written dozens of articles about MC, I wanted to give my reflections of the third edition (won by GM Dariusz Swiercz).

After the second edition ended, there was a long period of uncertainty whether there would be an MC3. Then there was an announcement made that there would be an MC3 and March 1st would reveal a scaled-down model. That model would be one in which the prize fund would be $510,000, 60% of which is guaranteed. The press release added

With the drop in prize fund, there will naturally be a drop in entry fee. The new price of participation will be $549, with an Early Bird special of $499. With the discounted rate and the return to prizes down to 50 places(!), MC is confident of bringing in many more new players, a development that would bode well for raising the stakes once again in future events. While it’s hard to tell the perfect prize to entry fee ratio that will both attract the largest group of players as well as be enticing to future sponsors, MC is committed to maintaining a high quality event for all our clients, both past and future.

So, what happened? In the final analysis, MC3 did not meet its projections. When I interviewed Ashley last week, he was at a loss to explain the lack of support given the lower entry fees. “I don’t have an answer,” was his response. The final number was 400+ starting at $499 entry fee. The previous two MC tournaments drew 550+ starting at $1000.00 entry fee. Yes… MC3 drew less in a part of the country that is accessible by car from perhaps the most populous chess areas in the country. Despite checking the MC site and seeing 400 entries, I got excited as MC co-founder Amy Lee sent me photos showing Maurice setting up the playing venue.

Setting up for the big event!
Photo by Amy Lee

I started my morning on October 5th finishing the last bit of packing. I went to the university to teach three classes, returned home to scoop up my luggage and got to the airport for my 6:42pm flight. As I waited in the airport for my first leg to Atlantic City, I got a horrible text photo from Amy at 6:12pm with no message:

I almost dropped my phone. When I asked what happened, Amy said,

Hospital for 3 hrs now. Ultrasound came back. It’s gallstones. Can’t get out today… I feel so sad 🙁

Wow.

OK… not a good way to start the trip. At 7:57pm, I received a text message from Rodney Thomas about Amy. Word had spread quickly. “Amy is amazing. Blood stream full of morphine, and she is still fully engaged. lol” I was not familiar with the gallstone procedure, but I felt she would recover. However, I had a feeling the MC tournament would not be the same without her presence at the opening ceremony.

A couple of years back, Amy asked me about some possible venues for future events. Maurice and Amy decided on Atlantic City. I was willing to try it out despite the fact that I detest casinos. I landed into Philadelphia at 11:17pm and took an hour-long limousine ride to New Jersey with an Adam Clontz from Charlotte, North Carolina. The driver was courteous and had all types of snacks in the back. We made a pit stop at a convenience store and I got a couple of 50.7 ounce bottles of Fiji water for my room. There is no way I was paying $4.00 for 16-ounce bottle of water. Planet Hollywood in Vegas had such premium water in the rooms. I’m sure it tastes exactly the same.

Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Photo by Daaim Shabazz
(Click for larger view)

Even though I had a Diamond Club Card to Harrah’s I got in the regular line but it went fast. I checked in got to my room and was pleasantly surprised. There wasn’t much of a view, but the room was nice and didn’t have to pay for Internet as a Diamond member. As a journalist, this is a necessary evil sometimes. At the recent Florida State Championship, I was dropping $12.99 a day for Internet.

On the next day, I had posted a brief on MC3 at 8:09am along with a photo of the setup team at 8:24am. I was late, but I got something up. There was the opening breakfast which was down the hall from the red carpet booth David Llada had set up. One of the redeeming qualities of the MC tournament is everyone’s desire to look nice. In what chess tournament have you attended where there was the case? It was pleasant to see everyone dressing up and showing respect for chess. There were some very creative expressions.

WIM Carolina Blanco of Venezuela … and she’s an orthodontist!

Nice photo of Satvik Reddy and his mother Madhavi Reddy who traveled from Jacksonville, Florida to be at MC3! Fellow Jax resident Anthony Coleman told The Chess Drum, “Satvik is a very talented up and coming player from the Jacksonville area.” Thanks for the tip!

Having fun yet?

Great photo of the lovely couple!

Great photo of the lovely couple!

Courtney “Mr. Big Stuff” Barnes
Red carpet photos were taken by David Llada.

So Thursday morning, people were gathering and the mood was feastive. I saw two African qualifiers FM Daniel Anwuli (Nigeria) and IM Daniel Jere (Zambia), both of whom I interviewed (Anwuli and Jere). I proceeded to register and someone tapped me on the shoulder… GM Pontus Carlsson of Sweden! I hadn’t seen him since the Istanbul Olympiad in 2012. We joked about his jet lag while waiting to be registered. The breakfast was in full swing and it was in a more sociable buffet style with standing tables. It was easier for players to mingle and get into a positive mood instead of the sit-down setup from the two previous MC tournaments.

The Opening, Day One
CLICK to see larger images. Hover to get descriptions.
All photos by Daaim Shabazz (unless otherwise stated).




Ashley opened the tournament graciously thanking all the attendees for coming and supporting Millionaire Chess events. I actually missed the opening comments and national anthem because the security couldn’t figure out if I should be able to double as a player and a journalist. What I also missed was Amy’s cherry presence, but Maurice was patrolling the hall like a military general.

There was only one upset in the first round with FM Rico Salimbagat taking down GM Alejandro Ramirez. Filipino power! GMs Christian Chirila and Magesh Panchanathan were held by FM Lim Zhou Ren and Sanjay Ghatti, respectively. The second round also went mostly by seedings. Regardless, MC3 was on full blast!

During tournaments, it’s easy to forget what the outdoors looks like. In fact, that is the way they design casinos. However, I needed to smell the flowers… literally. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Between rounds I decided to take a taxi over to the adjoining town called Ventnor in search of a vegan restaurant called “Greens and Grains.” I found it on my Happy Cow app and it said OPEN. When I got there, they were closed for the season!! So the taxi driver headed back to Atlantic City while I checked my app for another location. I found a Lisa’s Pizza that had some tempting items on the menu. The taxi driver circled back and dropped me off. I ordered the best edamame falafel sandwich ever.

Edamame falafel sandwich with spicy red curry sauce, pickled shallots
and red cabbage from Lisa’s on 5210 Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor, NJ (menu).

Maybe it was worth the trip. Ventnor is a rather upscale town as you can see by some of the houses. On the way back, the taxi driver told many houses had to be lifted several feet due to the threat of flooding. There is a booming industry in “house-lifting” by the seaboard. Really nice to get out of the casino.

Photos from Ventor, New Jersey
CLICK to see larger images. Hover to get descriptions.
All photos by Daaim Shabazz (unless otherwise stated).


Personally, I got 50% in the tournament while taking photos and conducting interviews. I tried an experiment and played 1.Nf3 in each white game. In the last round, I wanted to play another English or Catalan, but I couldn’t resist facing the Sicilian against a long-time Filipino master, Oscar Tan. He was the 4th Filipino I had faced in the tournament. Here is the game which was somewhat satisfying despite some errors.

While I didn’t get a chance to compete in Millionaire Monday, I did get to play some interesting games including one against Jones Murphy. The tournament overall was exciting and I was able to conduct ten interviews and another with Ashley a week after the event. My subjects all gave their reflections. Here are my my personal reflections.

My five best memories were…

  1. …having coffee with Amy Lee before I left. We truly missed the presence of Amy Lee at MC3. Her energy and infectious smile literally added power to the event. After her emergency surgery, she stayed in her room the entire time. I had only seen her in a wheelchair after being released. After the tournament ended, I texted her and she requested coffee the next morning. We meet and she was walking much slower than normal. She gets coffee and I predictably get an orange juice. Seeing her in pain was not a good sight, but treating her to coffee was the least I could do. This 30-minute visit was the highlight of my event and Amy could never know how much she has done for chess. Thank you Amy!

    Me with Amy days after her surgery.

  2. …hanging out with GM Pontus Carlsson. If you’ve never met Pontus, you are missing a good conversation and a laugh. I had communicated with him for years before meeting him at Dresden Olympiad in 2008. I last met him at the Istanbul Olympiad in 2012. Of historical important was his meeting Maurice Ashley for the first time. The trip was not cheap, but he wanted to support Maurice in his project. The Swedish national actually spends a lot of time in the Czech Republic these days.

    He embarked on his first trip to the U.S. and complained about the New York airport. He’s not the first! Suffering from jet lag, he was self-deprecating about how badly he played, but it was good enough to make it to the playoff (under-2550) to qualify for Millionaire Monday. I interviewed him at around 3:00am and he made some interesting suggestions for future events. What do we need to make chess watchable? What is the answer to this immortal question? Heart rate monitors! You have to hear this to get the context. 16:54 minutes

  3. …battling with the Filipinos. I traveled to the Philippines in January on a faculty tour, but was unable to find the chess club. I suppose I made up for it at MC3 and should brush up on my Tagalog. I played four Filipinos with an even score {Mario Rebano (2132), 1/2; Ramon Manon-Og (2181), 0; Florentino Inumerable (2090), 1/2; Oscar Tan (2157), 1}. Another Filipino player Ernesto Malazeret (whom I lost to at MC2) said, “You beat my friend (Oscar)!” Every time he would tease me. He said I would not get revenge on him in this tournament! Maybe next time, my friend. 🙂 There is something very endearing about the spirit of Filipino players and they are great fighters! Right Manny?

  4. FILIPINO POWER!
    Philippines Philippines Philippines

    FM Rico Salimbagat, GM Mark Paragua,
    GM Oliver Barbosa and Expert Mario Rebano
    Photo by David LLada

  5. …analyzing with Adia Onyango. There are some chess players whose passion you can feel immediately. Adia is one of those players. She is a very active organizer in the New York area and a staunch supporter of the Millionaire Chess events. This past summer she eclipsed 2000 USCF rating after dedicating herself to a dietary and exercise regiment. At the tournament, she wanted me to guess the best move in a position from her game featuring an Arabian mating pattern. Enjoyed this session!

    Adia Onyango analyzes.

  6. …playoff matches!

    While Millionaire Monday was the marquee event, I enjoyed the playoff matches even more. Perhaps it was because most of the players had not started leaving Atlantic City yet and the hall was packed. The spectators were watching games at all levels the tension was as thick as pea soup. Take a look!

  7. Photo from MC Playoffs!
    CLICK to see larger images. Hover to get descriptions.
    All photos by Daaim Shabazz (unless otherwise stated).




    There were other highlights of the event in my eyes, but the tournament was the best of the three in terms of organization. There were some pairing issues, but they were minimal compared to the debacle at MC2. Overall, there was a festive spirit although not at the level of MC1. MC1 has the most exciting environment, MC2 had the best media coverage and MC3 had the best organization. How would I rate some of the following areas?

The five areas of focus are…

  1. Tournament Management… Maurice and Amy worked hard to make this tournament a success. One can sense that there was not the same excitement leading up to the event and there was little media buzz. There was also not much discussion in social media as there was in the first two. The idea of a scaled-down event had the effect of brand erosion… no longer a millionaire event, the prize fund was nearly halved and there was no MC Square game show. However, Harrah’s was a great host and provided more exclusivity in terms of the tournament. Players did not have to run through smoke-filled casinos to navigate the complex.

    Who is this smiling gentleman? It’s Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa who came all the way from South Africa to help organize and publicize the event. Bruce served as the event planner, was courteous and seemed to be enjoying himself while serving the players. The security checkpoint was again well-managed as players had become accustomed to the procedure. The phone check was also very efficient. Amy had done a wonderful job in setting the apparatus in motion.

    In her absence, the tournament ran smoothly and there were none of the obvious hiccups that occurred in previous edition. Repairings occurred a couple of times and were rectified swiftly. There was the case of Courtney Barnes who was mistakenly put in the under-2000 section while having reached 2000+ in past year. He scored 6/7, but when the error was discovered, he was put in the under-2200 playoff. A controversy ensued, but it was handled to the satisfaction of all.

  2. Tournament Decorum… The playing hall was more spacious and had a European feel. There was ample room between tables and each player had a table and elbow room. The hall did not have the coziness or aesthetic appeal as the previous two editions, but it was player-friendly venue. The World Champion banner remain a nice touch and I glanced at Anatoly Karpov’s banner a number of times. He was the first player I studied with great depth.

    The common area was wide…

    … and made a great place for socializing!

    Viewing room for top games. IM Yaacov Norowitz on right.

    The color purple certainly exudes class, royalty and sets a positive tone. The world champion banners were again a signature look, but the Millionaire Monday room did not have the touch of designer Eric Lee this time. There were some noticeable cutbacks in order to cut back on expenditures.

  3. Fun Factor… No pool party. No comedians. No massage chairs. No bughouse/pizza party. No fun, right? Wrong! Many of the fringe benefits were gone, but the tournament still had an enjoyable atmosphere, centering exclusively on chess. Missing was the Confession Booth and the webcast, a $100,000 expenditure. I was standing behind a young player who asked “Where is the Confession Booth?” Of course it had become a big hit at the Sinquefield Cup and was featured at MC2.

    Even Maurice Ashley found time for a battle of blitz.
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz

    The Bopalas from Montreal, Canada.
    Photo by David Llada.

    CM Wachania Wachira (Kenya), IM Daniel Jere (Zambia), Daaim Shabazz (USA), IM Oladapo Adu (Nigeria), IM Farai Mandizha (Zimbabwe). Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    The red carpet is definitely a fun attraction giving players a chance to express their personality and immortalize the event with friends and loved ones. The best-dressed contest was again fun, but it appeared that players did not need an incentive to dress nicely. It was refreshing to see so many players looking smart in their suits, dresses and fine wear. I never won a prize in the three events, but there were some interesting winners like the gentleman who wore what appeared to be a Maharajah-inspired outfit in the first round!

  4. Tournament regulations and prizes… Customers spoke and the company listened. The time control for MC3 went back to 40/2, SD/30 and it appeared to make players a bit happier. In my MC2 experience, I was in time pressure every single round and ended on a miserable -2. The prize fund was not 50-deep as in MC1, but they were still generous enough for a high percentage of winners. The Open section had 50 prizes (with prizes for U2550 and U2400), the U2200, U2000, U1800 had 40, the U1600 had 50 (with prizes for U1400 and U1200). There was also $6,000 in special prizes including mixed doubles, best dressed and women’s prizes in each section. There was also a brand new “Redemption Jackpot” which allowed players to sign up and have only the last three rounds count. One will have to look at the numbers to see if that prize structure provided enough incentive.

  5. Media Coverage… David Llada has quickly developed a reputation as the world’s top chess photographer. His photos capture so many different expressions and the photo he took of me (below) won plaudits in social media circles.

    MC’s social media was run by Lennart Ootes and chess24.com carried the games live, but there were no daily reports on the action. In my experience in covering tournaments, it is extremely difficult to have the level of quality coverage without dedicated media … or attending media organizations. For some reason, major websites and organizations skipped out on MC3, a big disappointment. Perhaps, the Isle of Man tournament got most of the attention as many MC2 players were competing there. I was able to post a couple of reports, but when you are also competing in the tournament, it’s an untenable task.

Synopsis… Neither Amy nor Maurice were pleased with the turnout and were at a loss for why there was such a shortfall in entries.

Four hundred players from all over the world flew in to compete. The number of participants was well short of the projections and expectations, which was a big disappointment for the organizing team. The low attendance may have been due to various reasons, the chief of which possibly being the lack of a 100% guaranteed prize fund. Given the enormous risk after 2 years of significant losses, the decision to lower the prize fund may have been logical from a business standpoint. However, despite the dramatic reduction of the entry fee, far less players participated than in previous years.

There was a $300,000 guaranteed prize fund for started as a $499 entry fee. In the end, there was a high percentage of winners. I scored 50% in the under-2200 and won a prize! For the tournament to be on the eastern seaboard and not draw the crowd from New York, Philadelphia, DC and the rest of the east coast is puzzling. While one may think that a lower turnout showed lack of interest, it may be that chess players are attracted to the idea of a high stakes tournament and were disappointed at the reduction of the prize fund. Even at $300,000 prize fund, it is much higher than many tournaments held in the U.S.

Maurice and Amy embarked on an ambitious mission to change the face of chess and awarded $2,306,000 in three tournaments. Despite this effort, there are some who wanted MC to fail. One high profile tournament director (initials TJ) posted that he hoped it was the last one. That attitude does nothing to aid chess and we are not improving the chess culture in the U.S. by wishing failure on a chess event.

IMs Akshat Chanda and Awonder Liang battle!
MC3 provided another venue for talented youth to shine…

… and for players like FM Alisa Melekhina to earn norms.
She supported all three tournaments…

… as did foreign players like GM Zhou Jianchao of China.
Photos by Daaim Shabazz

In my interview with Maurice, he compared the enthusiasm of chess in U.S. with that of Europe and he stated that it was like night and day. The chess community in the U.S. is experiencing a boom, but there is no culture being built. Future tournaments will be able to take the best from their three MC editions and create a something much better than what we are used to.

In their wrap-up of the third edition of Millionaire Chess, they offered,

“Certain things could have been improved at the tournament, and at each event we tried to build on the successes and lessons from the previous one,” said Ms. Lee. “With MC3 we were working towards the best Millionaire Chess Open yet but unfortunately this did not happen in terms of number of participants. We are not able to make any kind of commitment regarding MC4 at this time unless we can secure a corporate sponsor. We are very grateful to all the players, fans and everyone else who supported Millionaire Chess since its inception.”

Amy Lee and Maurice Ashley present a triumphant
Wesley So with the winner’s check in MC1.
Photo by Paul Truong

MC2 was won by GM Hikaru Nakamura.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

GM Dariusz Swiercz won MC3 and
receives winner’s check (US$30,000) from Ashley.
Photo by David Llada

THANKS MAURICE & AMY FOR PROMOTING CHESS!
* * *

CONTACT: MILLIONAIRE CHESS

email address: contact@millionairechess.com
official website: https://millionairechess.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HighStakesChess
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millionairechess
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/MillionaireChess

Drum Coverage: (2014, 2015, 2016)

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

18 Comments

  1. I am puzzled about the low turnout………

    Cash prizes of USD 2.3 million over the past 3 years. If only we had that kind of money in African chess. We could do 20 grand events.

    Amy and Maurice put their hearts into the project and can be proud that they did their best.

    1. Kim,

      People here are not used to chess being presented as an elite activity with marketable conditions. It is more of a hobbyist activity that we are not very serious about. In other places where chess is respected, there is a different mindset of what conditions are acceptable. In most tournaments in the U.S., you are still required to bring your own equipment. There is also no standard of respectability in terms of attire. There is no respectability of how one behaves at the board. People eat at the board like they’re at the chess club. Rules are routinely violated and sometimes tournament directors do not know the proper rulings. It is not a professional outfit. However, this is what we are used to.

      MC tournaments tried a variety of ways to increase the respectability of the game. Some worked and some did not. At least Maurice and Amy are trying to improve the marketability of chess. They lost money in three editions, but probably contributed more to the understanding of chess organization than anyone else in the past 40 years. No one else is trying anything new or pushing the envelope.

      Lastly, there was an undercurrent of undermining the tournament by other factions. There were organizations dissuading others from being involved with it. There were people who thought that Maurice was trying to bilk players out of money for a big payday. There were people thinking that Amy would not pay the prize winners. All types of nonsense was spread…especially before MC1.

      There were people who lived right on the east coast who complained about the distance to Las Vegas and when it came to New Jersey, they complained about something else. There were people who complained about $1000 entry, but when it went to $499, they complained about something else. We have an apathetic base of adult chess players and are not deserving of a gold medal Olympiad team. We don’t appreciate chess, nor do we respect it as a sport.

      BTW, we didn’t support Queen of Katwe either.

  2. With regard to clothing, times have changed. Either accept and embrace change or be crushed by it.

    Millionaire was crushed.

    1. You’re right drkodos. Times have certainly changed… for the worse. Chess has not been able to raise funding for international events or build awareness as a respectable activity with any value proposition for sponsors. We can’t embrace this change. Even chess-themed movies have failed. “Pawn Sacrifice” lost $14 million; “Queen of Katwe” has done slightly better, but still floundering. Chess was once respected and now it is not.

      The MC brand wasn’t crushed. Millionaire Chess had three great tournaments and is still a recognizable brand. Chess was crushed… again. You can embrace that change if you want. I will not.

  3. Hi, I loved watching your game and annotations against Tan. Would it be possible for me to get the pgn file so I can see it in more detail on my database? Thank you!

    1. If you take the divider between the frames and drag to the left to make the board smaller, it reveals the save icon. You can also use the engine feature… looks like a wheel.

  4. Daaim,
    Great report. As someone who does them fairly often I know the many hours it must have consumed.

    Congratulations as well on your performance. 50% is “decent” having regard to the various factors with which you had/have to contend, including your work schedule, limited time to prepare and the time-consuming “distraction” of being a journalist.

    Chess is still respected to a great extent and will soar and soar.
    We must, however, continue to find ways to make it more marketable, “watchable” etc. There are many envious, selfish, misguided individuals out there who discourage, beat down etc. For whatever reason(s) they have “issues” but they will not stop the relentless march to improvement and raising the profile of this great art/science/sport.

    MC1-3 were a crucial part of this “relentless march”. In spite of the disappointments, I believe the pluses outweighed the negatives. One key benefit was simply the “hope and optimism” Amy and Maurice brought. The “audacity of hope” is alive and well.

    The seeds continue to be sown; greater things to come.

    1. Ian,

      When I interviewed Maurice a couple of weeks ago, he made some revealing statements about the differences between chess in the U.S. and in places where the culture is more accepting of it. He said it is like “night and day.”

      People in America are confused about chess, so it has a reputation of being for a specific type of people… the intelligentsia or high-browed, anti-social types. Thus, it does not have societal acceptance. People are admired for knowing how to play, but the sport is not respected here. Many journalists also do damage in writing inaccurately about chess. I asked my sister if she had seen “Queen of Katwe” and she asked, “It’s about chess, right?” To her it may have been something she couldn’t grasp so she did not seriously consider seeing it until I clarified. However, it is no longer playing in many venues. It was marketed in the wrong way. It was made to be a story about a chess champion when that is not really the point of the movie. “Pawn Sacrifice” was also mishandled and made to be a movie about an eccentric champion who went mad. Wrong angle. It was about an idiosyncratic chess superstar who overcame a mighty machine to win the world championship.

      We have problems in the U.S. trying to get support for events and do not position the sport well for public consumption. The Olympiad team did not get a special reception and was not part of a media cycle touting the success. The only narrative put forth was the “immigrant factor” of the team. Again… wrong narrative and it was negative. This is the reason that chess is not respected in America. People will admire you for knowing how to play, but chess as a mainstream activity does not have acceptance and sponsors are not interested at this point. We have not had an “x-factor” since Bobby Fischer. Players like Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura have not been marketed properly. Of course, that would’ve changed had one of them challenged Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship.

      MC was a fantastic effort and will be discussed for the next decade. Alas… we continue to plant seeds.

  5. Daaim. My story for MC3, which I shared with Maurice, was that I did not want to miss what might be the final installment. I was actually supposed to attend MC4…not this year, because I wanted a full year focus on the repertoire, which unfortunately let me down a bit this year. I ended up registering less than two hours before the final deadline. I then had to travel from Louisiana (1300 miles) on about two hours of sleep. I realized once I made it into Maryland that I likely would not make my first round game, and at that point I just wanted to turn around and go home. In the end, I’m so happy that I decided to keep going. It was an experience I will forever cherish. To be in the company of so many great players was something I could not fully appreciate until I made it back home. It is personally distasteful that this event may have reached an end. It is rare that amateurs can experience a high class event like Millionaire Chess. It was money well spent…and it will be one of my fondest memories in life. The venue, in spite of the distance…was grand, with a truly majestic main playing hall. The portraits of chess greats was an especially nice touch. I find myself wishing that it had lasted a few more days. If only I were a billionaire…

  6. wELL its easy to talk about “rEVOLUTIONIZEN cHESS” however to live it iz a whole nother aNIMAL and i will tell u from clear experience u gone be on the GRIND ERRDAY, IN REAL LIFE! oh drummas,Adia knows how funnie i am in ULTRAMODERNISTM so heres an uLTRAJOKE – TD Michale Mcduffie runnin a traditional Buffalo, NY Champ. Practice Tourny downtown they just called me and told me about it and UM here on the chessdrum ultratalkin with yall and ya know whats funnie, they gunna come to this site and read this post after the tourny and say , LIONEL u KTAZY!!!! hahahahaha

  7. In case we have not ran out of MC discussions, I was wondering. Are there others who feel that MC planners failure to make the many US chess club inclusive some how was a missed opportunity? In simple terms , i believe if we grew and strenghten US chess clubs chess popularity will naturally grew! just a thought.

    1. Dunno Cleveland but in general if u study the traditionalist chess seriously they have always been unable to sell chess its rather strange to me but UM sure they will continue to talk about it. Dunno whats goin on in NY if that chump match is even marketable =.

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