There’s a semi-professional US Chess League, now in its third season, pitting teams from Boston and New York and San Francisco and elsewhere against each other over the Internet.
(Both) faithful readers of Reassembler will recall that my favorite chess tournament every year is the US Amateur Team championship in Parsippany. The USCL also uses 4-man teams but with a much higher average rating limit, and I believe players for some of the teams receive modest compensation. The number of GMs involved has grown steadily – Christiansen, Serper, Kudrin, others.
This year league commish Greg Shahade played a brilliancy. Chess publicity, as we know, is an oxymoron, as far as standard newspapers go. So instead of burning useless calories trying to get mainstream coverage, the USCL simply put up a $100 prize for the best coverage of this season. And the bloggers descended. For $100, this is what the USCL is getting:
And so on – many of the teams now have other sites and/or blogs as well. Okay, it’s not solely about the money, and yes some of these folks covered previous seasons as well, but the number and fervor of USCL bloggers seems greater by an order of magnitude now.