Starved of chess action in between tournaments (and even more so following my office IT’s decision to block all chess blogs and forums at work), I decided to organise the inaugural Treasury Chess Championships.
Perhaps it’s the sorts of people attracted to both chess and economics, or perhaps it’s just the Canberra cold, but the interest in the tournament was quite impressive. There are 26 players in the tournament, including complete beginners, “I used to play in school” amateurs, players with decades-old ACF ratings, and a top seed rated just above 2000.
Of course there have been the usual mismatches in the opening rounds, probably exaggerated by the large strength differentials, but overall the level of enthusiasm and vigour has been quite impressive. A bunch of players have gotten stuck into learning how to notate and use a chess clock, looking up chess openings, and even getting me to go through their games. More significantly (and surely the sign of a successful tournament), there has even seen a bit of sledging and competitive banter among the participants.
As impressed as I am by the players, this has reminded me just how tough it is to be an organiser. I can’t remember which grandmaster it was who said that any player who feels like insulting an organiser should be made to organise a tournament themselves first, but this is exactly right. It’s a thankless job, but definitely necessary, something us players would do well to remember.
At least Treasury seems to be getting behind this event, with our social committee promising to provide a trophy for first, and an article in the monthly magazine scheduled for August. Even our café staff declared that chess seemed ‘cool’ in our building. Could it really be?
Now if only IT would unblock the chess sites…