Tuesday, September 27, 2005

National Open Attendance

In Jerry Hanken's article on the 2005 National Open -- "Las Vegas International Chess Festival: Gurevich Triumphant in National Open" (Chess Life, September 2005) -- he mentions the following almost in passing before moving on to the winners and the games:
The National Open attendance, 703, was somewhat off from last year's, as has been the case with almost every large tournament this year.
If it is true that attendance has been off at almost every large tournament this year (and I have no reason to believe it is not true), then this seems like an issue deserving of more attention. Here are some hypotheses that might explain this phenomenon:
  1. The Conventional Perspective: The convenience of on-line chess is drawing people away from OTB tournaments.

  2. The Maurice Effect: Many players who made the financial and time commitment to play in the HB Global Chess Challenge have cut back on other tournament activities to conserve both.

  3. The Beatrice Syndrome: People finally have had enough with USCF shenanigans and are starting to vote with their feet.
What do you think? Any other ideas? International readers, are you seeing the same trend in attendance in your major OTB events?

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