HB Global Chess Challenge nixed for 2006
HB Global Chess Challenge

The Chess Drum's Daaim Shabazz recently communicated with GM Maurice Ashley who last year was the principle organizer of the HB Global Chess Challenge. The tournament was quite successful from a sporting standpoint and brought a level of enthusiasm not seen in quite some time. More than 1600 players from around the globe trekked to Minneapolis (USA) to compete for the $500,000 prize fund. Zviad Izoria of Georgia won the $50,000 1st prize.

Despite the rousing success of the competition, the HB Foundation has decided not to take on the project for 2006. The tournament did not meet its financial projections and after analyzing the possibilities, foundation officials arrived at a decision. Ashley stated, "It was not a frivolous decision and was not made until all avenues were explored."

GM Maurice Ashley at the HB Global Chess Challenge. Copyright  2005, Daaim Shabazz.

GM Maurice Ashley

The HB Global Chess Challenge raised the bar as far as prize funds go.  It has been reported that the World Open has now offered a projected $500,000 tournament with $300,000 guaranteed.  In addition, Ashley's "no draw" idea has continued to gain currency in the world. The Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-bred Grandmaster recently released the book, "Chess for Success," and is currently undertaking other business projects. He told The Chess Drum that he plans to re-enter the tournament scene in the future.

Note: The discontinuance of the HB Global tournament has recently become the center of debate. On Mig Greengard's Daily Dirt, a thread titled "HB Foundation Floundered" was started on the subject and included some critical remarks. The thread and GM Ashley's remarks can be found here.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 10 December 2005