Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Join The Fun at Millionaire Chess Tournament in Las Vegas

As a competitive chess player I am used to making the opening move...so I have taken a chance to reach out to you! While there's already a real buzz in the chess world it may not have caught your attention yet that this is shaping up to be a breakout year for chess -

• · A new 23 year old world champion beat Bill Gates, who naturally thinks he is quite good at chess, in just 3 minutes in the Silicon Valley.

• · 80 million people watched the final World Chess Championship game broadcast live in India.

• · Cuba Gooding's chess movie, Life of a King premiered in January and Toby Mcguire's biopic on the greatest US chess player ever, Bobby Fischer, is scheduled to come out later this year.

• · Hundreds of thousands of school children in the US are playing chess as part of their school curriculum. It’s proven to develop children’s planning and thinking skills.

• · A One Million USD prize fund, the largest ever for an open tournament, will be fought over in Vegas in October. Prizes at this level allow talented young players to make a living playing chess. The tournament is working with MIT to change the way audiences follow the game.

The man behind the tournament (millionairechess.com), Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, is known for his historic achievements. He became the game's first African-American Grandmaster back in 1999, does chess commentary for ESPN on Man vs Machine chess matches, and most recently at the 2014 US Chess Championship in St Louis. (http://uschesschamps.com/live)

I hope this sparks your interest and if you need any more background info or interviews please let me know.

It's your move now!


Be a Part of History in Vegas!

The 1st million-dollar Open chess tournament is set to take place from October 9-13 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. First place in the Open section is a whopping $100,000 while the $40,000 first place prize in the class sections is simply unheard of. GM Maurice Ashley, who previously ran the $500,000 HB Global Chess Challenge back in 2005, is the one of the lead organizers. The prize fund is absolutely guaranteed (regardless of number of entrants), and the multiple amenities include gift bags for the players, a VIP room, limo pick-up from the airport for 1st 20 GMs and their travel companions, enhanced security to deter cheating, hostesses in the playing area, GM lectures, free GM simuls for participants, and much more. The event will be broadcast live online with a production staged to simulate watching a televised sporting event.

Millionaire Chess Open
October 9-13 or October 10-13,
 7SS plus 2 round knockout, 9SS for Open with 2 round knockout for final 4,
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, 3667 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109.
In 6 sections: $1,000,000 prize fund absolutely guaranteed. Free lectures and GM simuls for registered players.

Open section, October 9-13 only: 40/2, SD/30, d5. After 7 rounds, the top 4 finishers will move on to play a G/25, d5 playoff on Oct. 13.  Players outside of the top 4 will finish playing another two rounds on Oct. 13 to win prizes and acquire norms. (see http://millionairechess.com/tournament/schedule for details)

Under 2200 to Under 1400 Sections, October 9-13, 10-13: 40/2, SD/30, d5 (4 day option, rds. 1-5 G/45, d5). After 7 rounds, the top 4 finishers in every prize category will move on to play a G/25, d5 playoff on Oct. 13 (only top 2 from U1000). The tournament will be over on Oct. 12 for players who finish outside of the top 4.

Open Section: $100,000-50,000-25,000-14,000-8,000-4,000
                         2350-2499: $40,000-20,000-10,000-$5,000
                        Under 2350: $40,000-20,000-10,000-5,000
GM and IM norms possible, FIDE rated

Under 2200: $40,000-20,000-10,000-5,000-3,000-2,000
                         7th to 20th – $1,000
                         21st to 50th – $600

Under 2000: $40,000-20,000-10,000-5,000-3,000-2,000
                         7th to 20th – $1,000
                         21st to 50th – $600

Under 1800: $40,000-20,000-10,000-5,000-3,000-2,000
                         7th to 20th – $1,000
                         21st to 50th – $600

Under 1600: $40,000-20,000-10,000-5,000-3,000-2,000
                         7th to 20th – $1,000
                         21st to 50th – $600

Under 1400 Section: $24,000-12,000-6,000-4,000-3,000-2,000
                                       7th to 20th – each $1,000
                                       21st to 50th – each $600
Under 1200: $20,000-10,000-6,000-4,000-2,000
Under 1000: $8,000-4,000-2,000-2,000-2,000

Unrated/Provisionally rated players may only play in the Open or U2200 sections. The Chief Tournament Director has the final say on the ratings used in the event.

Foreign player ratings: See http://millionairechess.com/tournament/faq

  • $1,000 before July 31, 2014
  • $1,500 from August 1 through October 8, 2014
  • $2,000 from October 9 through 3:30 p.m. October 10, 2014 onsite. No checks, credit cards only.
  • Registration officially closes at 3:30 p.m. on October 10, 2014
Discounts: Register with a group of 10-24 players and get 10% off.
Register with a group of 25+ and get 12% off. Rebate paid on site after all players in group have confirmed arrival.
Re-entry: $400, no re-entry allowed in Open section.
USCF membership required to play in tournament. Register at: https://secure2.uschess.org/webstore/member.php

Open Section plays 5-Day schedule only (Time control is 40/120 and G/30 with a 5 second delay): Thu 12:00 pm & 7:00 pm, Friday 11 am & 6 pm, Saturday 11 am & 6 pm, Sunday 11 am. No Draws: A 30-move draw rule will be in effect throughout the event, for the Open Section only, including any playoff games.  Player must not agree to a draw before the game or mutually agree to a draw in less than 30 moves.  

Playoffs to determine top 4 players: Sunday @ 6 pm (Time control is dependent on number of players vying for a place in the final four. The format will be announced 1 hour before round).
All players who do not make it into the final four will continue to play rounds 8 and 9 to determine 5th place and below, and to qualify for norms. Note the early start time. Rounds 8 and 9: Monday 10 am & 5pm

Round Times for Under 2200, U2000, U1800, U1600 & U1400

5-Day Schedule (Time control is 40/120 and G/30 with a 5 second delay): Thu 12:00 pm & 7:00 pm, Friday 11 am & 6 pm,Saturday 11 am & 6 pm, Sunday 11 am.

4-Day Schedule (Time control is G/45 with a 5 second delay): Fri 5:30 pm & 7:30 pm, Sat 11 am & 1 pm and 3 pm.
For rounds 6 and 7, merge with 5-day and compete for the same prizes.

Playoffs to determine top 4 players: 6 pm (Time control is dependent on number of players vying for a place in the final four. The format will be announced 1 hour before round).
After the final four players have been determined, the tournament is officially over for the rest of the participants in the Under2200, U2000, U1800, U1600, and U1400 sections.

Millionaire Monday Schedule
The top four players from each section will play each other in a double round knock-out to determine the eventual winner and prize distribution. Note that the losers of the semi-finals will play each other to determine who takes 3rd place and who takes 4th place.

Semi-Finals Schedule
Round 1 (G/25 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 11:00 a.m.
Round 2 (G/25 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 12:30 p.m.

1st Tie-Break Round
1st Game (G/15 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 2:00 p.m.
2nd Game (G/15 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 2:45 p.m.

2nd Tie-Break Round
1st Game (5min +2sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 3:30 p.m.
2nd Game (5min +2sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 3:45 p.m.

3rd Tie-Break Round
1 Game (White 5min, Black 3m 30s w/draw odds): Monday, October 13 @ 4:15 p.m.

Finals Schedule: Played to determine 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places.
Round 1 (G/25 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 5:00 p.m.
Round 2 (G/25 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 6:30 p.m.

1st Tie-Break Round
1st Game (G/15 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 8:00 p.m.
2nd Game (G/15 +5sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 8:45 p.m.

2nd Tie-Break Round
1st Game (5min +2sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 9:30 p.m.
2nd Game (5min +2sec delay): Monday, October 13 @ 9:45 p.m.

3rd Tie-Break Round
1 Game (White 5m, Black 3m 30s w/draw odds): Monday, October 13 @ 10:15 p.m.

Sets and boards supplied, bring clocks (some provided).

Hotel rates: Planet Hollywood $112, Bally’s $79, Call 1-866-317-1829, Ask for chess rate. Code Word MC2014

Special rules and FAQs: See http://millionairechess.com/tournament/faq

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why is a high stake chess tournament like Millionaire Chess Open good for Chess in USA?

Since the announcement last December of Millionaire Chess Open, there has been lots of buzz around. I myself have rode the tide and tried to follow the trends on this. Definitely there are lots of doubts about whether such a high stake chess tournament is feasible to organize at all. One question of the many were - are such high stake chess tournaments going to be good for Chess or Chess in USA? While the answer may sound obviously Yes, I have paid attention to the naysayers as well. It was one of the points on my post around the skepticism of Millionaire Chess Open tournament.

Today I want to share with you why I think high stake chess tournaments are good for chess in USA and for chess in general. Consider myself as a regular slightly above average strength chess player who spends approximately 10 hours a week on Chess (including tournament play). I guess my case will resemble many other regular chess fans in the country and help you come to a conclusion yourself.

When I participate in chess tournaments around Northern California and occasionally drive or fly out of town to join one, I see that my entry fee and expense vs the reward that I get has a high negative balance. For example a 2 day chess tournament of 20,000 USD prize money has an entry fee of $120 in under 1800, 2000 and 2200 sections (these are the sections I have played in last 3 years). Lets say its within my neighboring town (no hotel cost); then the food and gas cost for 2 days are $50. So the minimum costing comes out to be $170.

Now if you look at the prize money in Under 2000 section, its $2000-$1000-$500-$200-$125. Now you can imagine that the 4th and 5th prizes are going to only barely cover your expenses. To get some profit you will need to be in the top 3 performers in that section. Lets say the section will have around 80 people. So while mathematically you only have a 5% chance to be one of the top 3 performers, in practice the chance is higher than that because there will be people playing up from lower sections against whom your odds are higher. Lets assume you have a 20% chance of grabbing one of the top 3 prizes. That means every 1 out of 5 tournaments you will get that prize. We can average out the prize as (2000+1000+500) / 3 ~= $1200 (approximately). So lets say in 6 months you play such 5 tournaments and get $1200. Your costing is 5 * $170 = $850. So end of the day in half a year you actually get rewarded about $400 to $500 for playing competitive chess, averaging less than $100 per month. I don't know about you, but often in such tournaments, i pay a $100 just for a dinner or even less than the amount of money I spend per month to buy chess books or DVDs. Now on top of it add to tournaments where you had to fly out or drive out. Those are purely a loss in terms of money. But you enjoy the travel and can make it a chess vacation. For example, last December I won $2000 in National Open at Las Vegas but when I calculated, my overall expense was approx $4000 as my family was with me (and my son also played) and we spent on other non chess staffs too. So in other words, I will say, out of town chess tournaments, we don't need to go unless we can take it as a chess vacation. At least that's the situation right now.

High stake chess tournaments like Millionaire Chess is going to change this scenario. You are not likely to get the first 3/4 spots of your sections easily. But once you get, only once, will cover up your years of expenses on chess at once. I would say other than Millionaire Chess, it should b true for World Open, Chicago Open, National Open in Last Vegas etc other tournaments too contribute to and are eligible for being counted as high stake chess tournaments (relatively speaking as most other tournaments have only $2000 or less as section first prize where 3rd prize is probably around $500).

Once MC entered the market of high stake, we are looking forward to other organizers trying to be competitive. Of course they can't do it overnight, but it will be a motion started. At least that's the hope. Number of chess players in USA and across the world, will keep increasing thanks to the advent of internet. Remember that Chess is the largest benefitted sport / game that could easily take advantage of internet. Lets support this forward motion and be part of it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ashik vs Joel Rockey, Charles Powell Memorial 2014, MIC, SFO, Round 5

Ashik vs Zheyuan Fan, Charles Powell Memorial 2014, MIC, SFO, Round 4

Ashik vs Chigun Bayaraa, Charles Powell Memrial 2014, MIC, SFO, Round 3

Ashik vs Nelson Sowell, Charles Powell Memorial 2014, MIC, SFO, Round 2

Ashik vs McKeller, Charles Powell Memorial 2014, MIC, SFO, Round 1

Ashik vs IM Ricardo De Guzman, Friday Night Marathon Mat 2014, Round 1

This was my first win against an internal master in a normal time control. Although it was played in a local marathon tournament in Fremont NorCal House of Chess, its very significant for boosting my confidence as a chess player.

Ashik vs Keyven Reise, Friday Night Marathon, Spring 2014, Round 5