Gladiators of the Chessboard Amateur Open, Sept 16-17 ** All Ages ** All Levels

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  • Gladiators of the Chessboard Amateur Open, Sept 16-17 ** All Ages ** All Levels

    ** All Ages ** All Levels ** An Amateur Oriented Event

    Event website (official details): Gladiators of the Chessboard Amateur Open - LINK

    A gladiatorial spectacle of fighting chess. All ages and skill levels are welcome!
    • WHAT:
      • One section. Six round Swiss. CFC-rated (Regular)
      • Time Control: 60 minutes + 30 seconds per move
      • Prizes: Fees less expenses ($0 if ≤ 34 players)
    • WHEN: 6 rounds over 2 days:
      • Sat, Sept 16, 2023 — 10am , 2pm , 6pm
      • Sun, Sept 17, 2023 — 10am , 2pm , 6pm
      • (ask for byes if you prefer less chess per day)
    • WHERE: Excelsior Chess Club
      • 91 Skyway Ave, Suite 206, Etobicoke, ON
      • For details & maps, see Excelsior Chess Club.
      • No loitering in the hallways or stairs. Keep the washrooms clean!
      • To enter & play, you must complete the following steps by 8pm ET, Sept 14 (Thursday).
      • No in-person registration on Sept 16!
      • Register soon since space is limited.
    • CONTACT:
      • Email:
      • Email to request byes, ask questions, etc.
      • Email asap if you are going to miss a game. Not showing up without notification is a VERY BAD to do! You will have wasted the time & money of your opponent. Don't do that!
      • Arbiter: Omar Shah (International Arbiter)
      • Organizer: Don Parakin (National Arbiter
    Last edited by Don Parakin; Tuesday, 15th August, 2023, 05:54 PM.

  • #2
    This tournament is a mini experiment of format changes geared towards "Amateurs", those in middle and lower sections at larger events (although top section players are VERY welcome). One change is less time between rounds. The larger events often have 6 hours (10am & 4pm). Since most games in the middle and especially lower sections are over in around 3 hours (sometimes 2, sometimes 4). That means around 3 hours to kill (sometimes 4, sometimes 2) until the next round starts. It's often only the top section that is still pushing wood after 4 hours.

    Less time between rounds requires a slightly faster time control: 60 mins + 30 secs/move. The 30 secs/move means time scrabbles at the end shouldn't get too ridiculous (as it would with only +10 or +5 increments). So, 60+30/m still gives the classic "slow chess" experience for most amateurs. 60+30/m was used recently in the Hamilton 150th (Hamilton) and Lynn Stringer Memorial (Sidney, BC). Paul Leblanc said 60+30/m was popular at his tournament.


    • #3
      I really like the concept Don. Thanks for reaching out and organising.


      • #4
        Another format change geared towards "Amateurs" is a lower entry fee, $60. Some of the larger events charge up to $120 or up to $24 per game for a 5 round event. That's a lot, imho, especially if you get a forced-bye or a no-show forfeit. But lower entry fees mean the tournament must have lower expenses unless sponsors can be found (ha!) or someone is willing to personally lose a lot of money.

        From a chess organizer's viewpoint, running a tournament is a financial risk. Most big expenses are fixed (venue, arbiters/staff, guaranteed prize fund, other) but income is variable (entry fees). This Amateur Open is run by an amateur organizer who aims not to lose a lot of money (to just break even in the long run). So, no guaranteed prize fund. Around 33 players are needed to break even so no prizes if 33 or fewer players register. Hopefully that's okay as cash prizes are not why most amateurs play. If that's not you, be happy to pay $120 to play in the other events.


        • #5
          What are your expenses to just break even?


          • #6
            Originally posted by John Brown View Post
            What are your expenses to just break even?
            John, he has already answered that question.
            He needs 34 players to break even, times entry fee gives you total expenses.

            If you like the tournament: Prizes, entry fee, location, date, are my friends entered?, refreshments?, time control, atmosphere, etc.etc.
            Lots of parameters to make the play / don't play decision!

            Let the organizers worry about the expenses, free from scrutiny on chesstalk.
            That is so, 20th century!!


            • #7
              Hi Bob;
              Maybe my question was not correct. Are your biggest expenses rent and TD fees? By saying that he won't have prizes if he does not do better than break even, tells me to save my money.
              Had he said trophies will replace prizes if I don't do better than break even would make me consider playing as I have something to maybe win.


              • #8
                John, yes, biggest expenses are rent and arbiter fees. If I only get, say, 20 players, I am personally out of pocket over $700 (unless the venue shows me some mercy). That is even with $0 in prizes and much worse if I were to guarantee prizes. If I get 33 players, I break even with $0 in prizes. If I get, say, 90 players (out of 100 max for the venue), I'll cover my fixed and variable expenses and have almost $3000 for cash prizes. No trophies (too much work to get them; too few want them).

                John, you've been playing in tournaments for decades. Have you never given some thought to the organizer's financial risks with fixed expenses and variable incomes? I organized tournaments decades ago but back then I had a free venue (Nipissing University) and free arbiter (me) and so could return entry fees as prizes. Today, not so lucky.


                • #9
                  Hi Don;

                  I'll send you a private message.


                  • #10
                    Unless there's a wave of entries in the next few days, the results of this event's experiment will be less than what was hoped for. No matter, the event is still a go even if it may feel like a small town tournament. See the WEBSITE and CHESS-RESULTS for details. Costs have changed so that we'll now have prizes if >20 players.

                    At other events over the years, I've had hallway discussions with other mid to lower section players: entry fees are too high (I don't care about prizes), time between rounds is too long (I hate having to somehow kill 3+ hours until the next round), evening rounds suck (I hate fighting Toronto rush hour traffic for a 7pm round), etc. That was all talk and theory; this event provides some empirical evidence. Can I conclude mid/lower level players are happy with the format of the big events?

                    (Okay, I'll admit it, this post's purpose is to shamelessly bump this topic to the top again :)


                    • #11
                      I agree with you Don Entry fees are too high for lower rated sections. When I started playing there were different entry fees Premier was the elite and the most ,fees Intermediate was the next rate and Novice was the lowest fee. However with those entry fees the prizes were proportional. So Premier got the highest prizes etc. So if Organizers went back to that method then one problem is solved. #2 problem rush hour evening games. Hey we all know if there is an evening game we do one of three things 1. we take time off work to get down early, 2.we take a bye or3. we fight the traffic. Solution 2 solved. If mid to lower rated players you talked to don't care about prizes then have they all joined your tournament?
                      People play in tournaments because they want to play in that specific tournament. You cannot please any chess player with any tournament. That is why Organizers always try to provide a good tournament with lots of Prizes,


                      • #12
                        It's a bit odd to see amateur players (anyone below IM, in Canada) concern themselves with prize money at a chess tournament.
                        Sure, "it's nice" to sometimes get your entry fee back, or some prize that may cover the weekend's expenses - entry fee, lunch, travel - but that should never be someone's reason to enter a tournament. Again, unless a player is 2400+. The rest of us mortals, are just playing chess. We pay a fee for the services that others do for us, in organizing it - getting a site, doing the marketing, working the logistics such as equipment, arbiters, water, coffee, etc...
                        I remember the Guelph tournaments (Hal Bond, at Guelph University) being very well attended events and people loved them. The top section subsidized itself in terms of prizes (meaning the prizes were fairly modest), and all the other sections (amateurs) got trophies. As part of the tournament package, Hal had the coffee, water, snacks, etc etc etc
                        If someone is playing for the chance of winning money, they're better off working on the weekend, any minimum wage job. It is guaranteed pay and it will be more money than the vast majority of prizes at a chess tournament, especially the amateur sections.

                        Chess is cheap. When we go to a movie theatre, we pay something like $15, for a 2 hour movie. Plus all the other things we also get at a chess tournament. Travel, parking (maybe), food / popcorn, etc... At a chess tournament we pay what, $100 for a full weekend of chess? Seems like a good deal.

                        I think what Don is doing here is great! And it seems he's happy to break even and return the remainder to the players. As for the expenses / balance sheets, I agree that they should not be on chesstalk. Too many armchair critics who never actually go to a chess tournament, or organize one themselves. However, I do think the financials should be made public on-site for anyone who would like to see them. Nothing wrong with knowing the monies are going, and if anything the chess world could use a bit more transparency.

                        Alex F.


                        • #13
                          C'mon John. $60 - 6 round weekend Swiss in Toronto is a good price.
                          You are more likely to see entry fees of $100.

                          Sign up John. I am hoping to play you!

                          I just checked our ratings.

                          You get 21 points for beating me.
                          And as we all suspect, I am way overrated!
                          Last edited by Bob Gillanders; Monday, 11th September, 2023, 07:44 PM.


                          • #14
                            Sorry Bob This is the weekend I go to my sister's to celebrate my Birthday.

                            I'm not saying Don is not trying to change history.

                            You have to Remember I've run 51 PEEL Invitationals Helped run over 16 Niagara Falls Opens . Had two master lectures at the Old Chess and Math Site.Plus a match of two masters in my apartment..
                            But, I never complained about not getting enough players to attend. I flowed with the rivers of success and failure.
                            Even Hal offered Trophies for Prizes. I've been to Excelsior club and played in the 65 + and gained 80 points so right now I don't need your 21 points .

                            Your time controls are too fast for me without a longer break. This tournament is for younger players who run on empty. I need a rest between rounds.
                            Last edited by John Brown; Tuesday, 12th September, 2023, 06:19 AM.


                            • #15
                              Happy Birthday John.

                              Maybe we get a chance to play in Niagara Falls next April. :)