Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What's a Chessabit?

There is a chess competition in London that I wish had a Sydney equivalent. It's called "Chessabit". Actually, it's a group 4 chess lovers who, one day, presumably in some less than sober state, came up with "the idea of organizing little tournaments for friends, just for fun, in bars around Central London".

From their website:

We have been holding tournaments for about a year now, and have been advertising our project quite extensively, so that the players now are not only our friends or passers-by, but people which responded to our ads. Everybody has been enjoying themselves, first and foremost us and after all, why not? It’s been all about playing Chess, having a drink, and making friends with the people that kept coming constantly to our events.

A brilliant idea!

The guys just held their third Rapidplay event and we're very glad for our fellow blogger, Tom Chivers of the Streatham & Brixton Chess Club blog, who took third place. Next time I'm in London, I'm definitely signing up for one of these.

The closest we come to a Chessabit in Sydney are our long nights, playing blitz and surrounded by dancers with hip hop blaring through the loudspeakers, in the Spanish Club, usually on Fridays. Two weeks ago, I had to leave at 2AM. But a couple of my friends, including Jelle Marechal, founder of Get A Life, stayed til bloody 4AM!


Tom Chivers said...

Heh, thanks!

Chessabit is indeed a welcome addition to the London scene.

I think the set up works for several reasons.

1. Pubs have quiet periods in London, so welcome the extra trade these events generate at those times. City-area pubs are virtually empty on the weekend when the workers are away for instance (many close completely) where the last two chessabits were held. So I think that if you book the venue in a quiet period, then you get it for free. I don't know for sure, but I would guess this is the case.

2. The event is under 175 ECF. This is probably equivalent to something like under 2150 Elo. This means the mass of players aren't put off by the prospect of coming up against one of the city's resident GMs or IMs - some of whom (eg Michael Basman) are not to be messed with at this speed.

3. Big prizes. With more sections - for instance an Open section - the prizes would be diluted. Instead, everyone stands something of a chance. And the city has a lot of under 175 players.

4. The guys who run Chessabit are friendly, committed and involved. They ask for feedback, email you directly, might phone you to invite you even, and turn up to other events eg League matches with leaflets, and so on. In short they go the extra mile.

5. They are brave enough to kick out trouble makers, who might otherwise spoil the event for others.

6. There are no competitors - their formula is currently unique.

So . . . why not set one up in Sydney? It shouldn't be impossible!

Unknown said...

Hi Amiel :)

Ed (Lee) here :) After a couple of years break, during my extended sojourn up north to London, the first tournament I played in was the 2nd Chess-a-bit late last year, and I have to say it was a fairly good battleground to dust off the old cobwebs, and overall a fantastic tournament experience - plenty of games at a reasonably fast (but slower than blitz) time-limit, over in a day (so you don't need to give up a whole weekend to play!) and with the (very very improbable for me ;)) prospect of substantial cash prizes.

Why don't you set one up in Sydney? I'm sure you could if you put your mind to it (plus there'd be a great tournament for me to come back to if/when I decide to return ;)).

The Closet Grandmaster said...

OMG! I thought it was you I saw in one of the photos. What are you doing there in UK mate?


Unknown said...

Yep, that was I in the photo.

I'm just here for a lark, why not hey? Staying for as long as they'll have me :)

Good points: always lots happening, great music scene, very busy chess scene, proximity to many European destinations makes holiday travel quite easy, strong British pound = high earning capacity.

Bad points: the weather, people always complaining about the weather, people finding they have nothing to talk about when the weather's actually good for a change, strong British pound = high cost of living, dirty smoggy London, people (when not complaining of the weather) talking and dreaming of moving somewhere warm like Florida (or Australia) - how yawn.

I'm actually quite comfortable here at the moment, my girlfriend and I managed to stumble across a (relatively) cheap and roomy Islington (fashionable inner-London area) pad. I play for Hackney Chess Club (www.hackneychess.org.uk) - they play in several different divisions in several different leagues (the London League (Div 1&3), the Middlesex League (Div 1&3) and the North Circular League - so usually there's at least two, sometimes three games per week. So far I've discovered that the two or so years off hasn't really improved my chess at all, worse luck :)

So how are things down in Sydney lately?

The Closet Grandmaster said...

Hey, Ed. Send us your email addy mate. I'm in London at least once a year - typically December. Maybe we can catch up.

Mine is amielr at gmail dot com.

Cheers mate.