SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
CANADA TO BE DOWN-SIZED?
It is now official. Just ask Bob Armstrong. ”Canada is a big country.” (Maybe even too big.) All this according to the prominent member of the CFC leadership and self-appointed guru of the break-away Canadian Chess Coalition. Canadian chess might never be the same again…
Ofcourse, this does not mean Canadian chess players should panic, yet: Canada is exactly the same size as it was when the Europeans first started to inhabit the Americas some 500 years ago. But in recent years the CFC has had increasing difficulty to manage chess in Canada. The country refuses to get any smaller. Or cheaper. Especially cheaper.
ISN’T REALITY A BITCH!
Making things worse, to justify the short sightedness of a relatively new policy of promoting chess at exactly zero cost , the CFC has let its national championships go to hell and fend for themselves. In the past the CFC was responsible for ensuring that these championships were prestigious and met with respectable standards. Today if the best players want to participate, then they still can– but they not only have to pay all of their expenses — they also have to pay entry fees of several hundreds of dollars. If not, then any lowly rated player who is willing to pay can become our champion!
DEMOCRATIZING CHESS, YEAH!
The result is entirely predictable: in recent years most of the elite (top-ten) players in both the junior and adult categories have boycotted the national championships. For example, the recently held Canadian Junior Championship had just 1 player from the top-ten list. And only one player from east of Winnipeg (which is situated exactly in the middle of Canada) bothered to play in the championship which was located in Calgary.
Is the CFC going to reverse its failed policy? No way!
Why do that if the chess politicians are happy! Canada’s FIDE rep and past CFC president was enthusiastic with the Calgary event and wrote ”Well done all!!”
The apparent contradiction between the acknowledgement of rising costs (for everyone) and the simultaneous,dramatic reduction (zero-cost) of investment in the promotion of chess in Canada is something the top chess players have been trying to make known to the CFC leadership.
But…the players’ opinions are…well…irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Better to find ever creative solutions….
”Have both a Western Junior Chess Championship and an Eastern Junior Chess Championship with the two winners eventually squaring off in an old fashioned match tournament for the national title…Canada’s a big country …. only one player each year would have to go to the expense of making a long trip …”