I notice an uptick in traffic each and every time a column is published, so I’m going to see what happens when I go bonkers on the same day with a whole bunch of stuff getting put out. Are you ready?
Part of what I like to talk about chess is making the chess game, the event as a whole, something more of a spectacle than the game currently is… because what we have at the moment is a bunch of event at the physical location and some sideways reporting of the event, without any of the hoopla to go along with that.
Look at the UFC… no, really, take a long look at the UFC. While they don’t have the fight card stacked with huge names from top to bottom, they do have the headliners and at least one other big fight on the list and they promote the crap of out them. Why does chess put up a paltry effort in comparison?
Part of the problem, as I see it, is FIDE. The World Chess Federation is run by a corrupt politician, being influenced by corrupt politicians, not really investing in the thing that has them “in a place of power” at all. They want to sit in their ivory tower and look down on the rest of the world because they think no one else can do anything about it.
What about the Grand Chess Tour?
Some of the chess world has said that there shouldn’t be a single World Champion anymore, the chess world should be set up more like the tennis world… a series of tournaments to crown an ultimate winner at the end of the “season.” I’m not opposed to that scenario, but I also like the idea of a single champion.
Here’s where we move to make the UFC connection a little bit more connected. Take the Grand Chess Tour’s three tournament start this year. Is it a small start? Yes. Will it grow? Yes. Can they start promoting chess like chess is the only thing that matters? I don’t think so, but they need to in order to make a big impact. Why not promote so hard that anyone interested in the games can not only watch but WANT to watch.
Right now, the St Louis Chess Club is the one responsible for GCT broadcasts and the biggest downfall I see in their efforts is that there isn’t any means of watching the event after the fact. We have to watch live or we have to hunt, and hunt hard, for the replayability of the event. Is there pre-promotion? Not outside the inner chess circles. Do they have an idea for monetizing their enterprise? I don’t see a clear vision behind it.
It’s easy to be critical, mainly because I’m not involved. It’s also easy for me to sit back and say one thing and not provide an alternative in a tangible way. I will work on this tangible alternative… and I’m waiting for the right opportunity to do this (because I need the footage for this to work).