Browsing through the USCF website, most chess clubs in US are still promoting the classical time control game. The only thing that has changed is, instead using the traditional 40/2 (40 moves in 2 hours, and 20 moves thereafter per hour), they are using the more regular and acceptable 90/30 (90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment per move). There are events with shorter time control i.e. 30 minutes, 35 minutes, etc, but still, the variety of available time control for players to play makes the circuit a bit more interesting. In contrast, most of Malaysian organizers (I am guilty as well....) are running amok with 25 minutes and rapid games almost everywhere and every weekend. Well, for this one, I have some plans to revive the longer time control games and would probably come up with some game plan once the National Closed is over. But, let me give some thought on that first and I will share the plans because..... that is a somewhat different idea to share. I think the main challenge to this is having to run events right up to late evening (3 rounds a day can extend the last round until as late as 11:00pm? I think in the past few years, most Malaysian organizers have done away with night games except when events are organized during weekdays where players have little choice but to start their game in the early evening)
So,back to my "old stories"....
In those earlier days that while I was active in the USCF circuit, I remembered some of the interesting "ideas" that I thought can be done in Malaysia. When I came back in 1988, I find it surprising that we have a different chess culture but without making any "comments", let me just describe a few:
- Chess players in the US comes to the tournament hall bringing their own chess and clocks. Before a game start, both player can decide whose clock and set to use. Of course if both players do not have a set to use, they can always borrow from the guy next door or the organizer can always rent the sets and clocks to them (Of course I had my own set and my own BHB clock!). In Malaysia, organizers prepare everything for the players including the recording sheet.... Pampered...
- In US, the USCF makes all kinds of chess items and accessories for their members (and non members) to purchase i.e. the sets, the books, the magazines, the pairing cards, the membership card, including trophies and medals! In short, anything and everything that can generate income to sustain its operations. In Malaysia.... Not that I do not want to start but, because there is none to start with... *grin*
- In US, members get a yearly subscription to its magazine - sent on time every time, and reminders to renew our membership. Once done, you are given a card (it was a mere paper card then - I am sure they have turned it into a "plastic" card). You have your name on the card, your registration number, your rating and your state (Mine was Texas and for your information, I was in Lubbock Texas where I was one of the pioneer group that started the chess club - well, that is a different story). Whenever the rating changes (usually every three months), a new card comes in the mailbox. In Malaysia.... ok ok ok... Let's not do the comparison.....
- Clubs were given a certificate which they display proudly when doing a tournament that the event is sanctioned by USCF.
- There is a list of "registered and qualified" arbiters listed by USCF
- Events were divided into rating category usually separated by 200 points so that players who are rated between 1800 and 2000 will only play against players of the same strength. Of course, player can always play in a higher category but not the lower ones. It provides an almost even chances for players to win and, it promotes improvement because players always wants to play in the "higher level" or the "next level". But of course, there are "sandbaggers" who try to manipulate the system. (You can ask IM Mok the meaning of "sandbaggers")
- Similarly, while I was in Lubbock, we use to have the "Fish trophy" which is given the higher rated player who is defeated by a lower rated player (with the widest margin). So, most of the higher rated player would not want to get beaten by the "weaker" counterpart otherwise, they will end up with the "Fish trophy" - similar to the "broom" award which created some hu ha in Selangor. (Actually, I wanted to add this prize to our weekend event... but I need to create an excel "formula" that can identify this immediately! Maybe I should just do....)
- There were some events that I took part in where the organizers "bundled" the entry fee and the hotel charges into a single payment so, you can stay at the hotel and play. And unless the club has its own premise, most events are being staged in a reasonably good hotel.
- I think I will stop at 8
In Malaysia, the cycle seems to have gaps everywhere and failed to make a complete circle. Or am I seeing it differently?
What say you?