Monday, January 02, 2006


I've just read somewhere that entry fee for HB Global Chess Challenge was 400$. There were around 1500 players who paid the ticket and guaranteed prize fund was 500.000$. Are those numbers correct?

I knew that fees are high in the US but this is beyond my understanding. Do organizers expect participators to sponsor most of the prize fund? How can anyone expect that US can produce top players if they have to pay thousands of $$ only to play tourneys, while progressing from 1500 to master level. Not to mention coaching. Does chess becomes privilege of rich people. Look at your top players, most of them came to US as formed IMs and GMs.

In Serbia entry fees range from 5$ for rapid and weekend events (and people usually get a sandwich and refreshment) to 15$ for FIDE rated tournaments (this goes for rating and arbiters). Moreover, every year we get one young GM with population that is only 2% of US.

I hope DG or Michael Goeller have to say something on this subject.


The Closet Grandmaster said...

Check out the FIDE chess event in Chicago: The entry fee for those rated 2000-2199 is US$500! I read this today and nearly fell off my chair. And I thought Australian tournaments were rip offs! But the US one is downright extortion to me. But I am certain that there is a logical explanation.

The Closet Grandmaster said...

Actually Goran, after a bit of googling, it seems that the HB group is kaput. And with the group dead, it means that the tournament may also be dead. Check out this post by Mig.

DreadPirateJosh said...

I'd be interested to see what they say too. Who can pay that much on top of travelling expenses? (I do think it was closer to $350 though, which is still a lot of money for anything, much less a chess tournament).

Michael Goeller said...

Thanks for raising the issue. Sorry I did not see your post until DG linked to it today. Yes, that would make a good topic for discussion. I will say that clubs and individual philanthropists will usually cover the fees for promising young players, especially through clubs. But the overall structure does create a barrier to participation.

I have been developing a couple longer reflections on related issues and will be sure to mention this when I post those.

Ed said...

Yes, the organizer sets the entry fees to cover the prize fund, as well as the tournament expenses and (hopefully) a profit.

I think the HB Global EF was about $300-$350 depending on how early a player registered. The tournament lost a ton of money, and the organization that ran it has ceased to exist.

But you must understand, the US has perhaps a couple of dozen tournaments each year with large prizes and multi-hundred-$ entry fees, which is not many considering the size of the country.

Most tournament chess is played in smaller, cheaper events, many in clubs. At my club (the Marshall in New York City), there's a weekly blitz tournament for $5 or $10, frequent quickplays at $15 to $40 (serveral every week), and a few slower tournamnets at $20 to $40. The entry fees depend on the size of the prize fund; we do seem to have a mania for money prizes.

Most adult chess is played in club tournaments like that. Thger are also many tournaments for school children, which usually have no money prizes and are inexpensive.

I don't think the poor development of players in the US is because of the entry fees. It's more because, in our culture, being a chess professional gets you very little money and even less prestige.

Also, the fact that we don't have a league system like European countries probably hurts the popularity of chess.