Today’s chess video
Today’s chess video ”PUSHING WOOD” has been around for a couple of months, so perhaps some of my readers have already seen it. The story line touches many topics connected to organized chess, but mostly focuses on the 2014 Millionaire Chess Tournament held in Las Vegas in October and organized by GM M.Ashley and sponsored by Amy Lee.
This video is infact just a trailer of a as yet unfinished film on the same theme, and the people behind it (Jeffrey Plunkett & Andy McAllister as well as Michael Lockridge) are trying to raise some $50,000 in order to complete their project. Perhaps you might be interested in contributing a few dollars…
The above video, and especially Ashley’s pioneer Millionaire Tournament, are close to my heart with respect to topics of interest that I have written about (extensively) here on this blog. How to make chess more popular? How to interest media, especially TV, to cover major chess events? How to bring more sponsors into the game? ETC.
But first some clarification about Ashley’s fundamental vision: it is NOT original. In American chess, Bill Goichberg has pumped in tens of millions of dollars of prize money into the chess circuit these past decades. The last time I checked, it was not unusual for Goichberg to personally guarantee $250,000 for his World Open. Sometimes more…ON TOP OF THAT, in Las Vegas in 1999 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov organized a SINGLE tournament with $5,000,000 dollars in prizes. But Ashley wants the world to recognize him for being the first organizer to guarantee EXACTLY one million dollars in prizes. OK! So be it…
The truth is that Ashley’s tournament in October had ONLY 550 participants, much less than any of Goichberg’s World Open efforts, for instance. Despite nice words by both Ashley and Lee, and an apparent enthusiasm to do it all once more in 2015, the truth is that the organizers made no money on their Millionaire Tournament. (They lost). They got virtually no TV time. And that does NOT spell optimism if they are still trying to look for ‘partners’ to share the financial load. Kirsan’s 1999 experience was a publicity DISASTER…and the fact that the film director of the above video has to go hat in hand to look for money to finish the project should be ENOUGH to pass judgement of this latest effort by Ashley. It failed. Period. Too bad…why should 2015 be any better?