Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Saturday in DeKalb Finale

The third and most likely final "Last Saturday in DeKalb" will take place April 30 at the First Congregational Church. Advance registrations remain open through Saturday morning at 8am.

Longer time controls (Game/60) will hopefully massage the synapses of the "serious contemplation" centers of the cerebral cortex. In other words, bring your best concentration efforts!

The wonderful church location where we held the previous "Last Saturday" event (in February) is ideal for chess tournaments and up to 36 registrants can be accommodated. There's even a separate skittles room to allow for offline dissection of games and casual play. Please note, this is NOT the bank location which has been used for the last couple Mid-Month Sunday events.

In our nine open events to date, 11 different players have either won a section outright or shared in that top spot. I'd like to think this demonstrates the competitive balance of our tournaments. Over 60 different players have joined the fray indicating a true diversity.

I certainly appreciate all the folks who take the time to RSVP ahead of time. As the registration roster grows, I begin to envision a full hall of chess players. I imagine we're helping to foster that love of chess and enhanced awareness which comes from tournament play. Alas, the emails do trickle in, but fall short of the barrage I hope to see when I log in. 

I can't thank enough the other club presidents who help spread the word and facilitate club travel.  I admire greatly the parents and coaches who tirelessly transport their chess prodigies to our events. And I greatly appreciate the enthusiastic participation of the stalwarts who seem to make it regardless of blizzard conditions and world/personal events.

For the better part of a year now, I've attempted to develop communication with the chess world as I know it within a two hour radius of the DeKalb/Sycamore area. Whether it's due to my own shortcomings in publicity, in local outreach, or in developing partnerships with other chess communities, whether it might be scheduling anomalies or rising gas prices, we're just not achieving that steady growth which suggests we've gotten it right.

Perhaps there is enough tournament activity elsewhere to suggest our events are superfluous. Perhaps by stepping away from hosting of tournaments, a void will be created which will allow others to create exciting events. I certainly would offer to help in any way practical.

I feel a minimum of 16 is necessary to create balanced brackets... over 20 is desirable... and just once I was hoping to eclipse the 30-registrant mark. Alas, we've only hit the "sweet 16" mark at four of our nine events, attracting more than 20 only twice. We also bring in an exceedingly high number of registrants from outside the area, indicating, perhaps, we just haven't developed the local enthusiasm for tournament play necessary to sustain these events.

So barring an unforeseen turn of events this may be the last event in these parts for some time to come.

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