Making your own publicity

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.

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13 thoughts on “Making your own publicity

  1. Sounds like your wife and mine have at least one thing in common. My wife went so far as to call the Foxwoods Open “Dork Fest 2007.” ;)

  2. Just read your piece over at the Chess Carnival. Very interesting position. Didn’t have time to sit down and analyse it tonight, but the tactical nature of it almost managed to pull me away from things that “must” be done.

    Keep up the good work!

    -Chris

  3. Oh – Greg – thanks, now I’m clearly NOT winning the $100 with this thread! :)

    My wife laughed so hard at your wife’s comment…Kinda feel like this subject deserves its own post…

  4. Yeah — chess is a hard enough sell in my household as it is. Thankfully, I have no interest in such hobbies as science fiction, comic books, D&D, or ventriloquism. At best, those activities would give my wife WAY too much material (even more than she already has). At worst, I’d be out on the street, with my Isaac Asimov books, X-Men comics, hit points and/or puppets as my only comfort.

  5. Chessloser’s in the process of moving, and probably out of action until mid-Sep.

    For all these people who say chess is dorky, I wonder what their hobbies are. Drinking tea? Watching soaps, or worse, American Idol? Tae-bo?

    I’ve been blessed with a set of friends that are almost entirely nerds, so even the non-chessers have little ammo. Hopefully my future wife will be drafted from similar stock.

  6. But chess IS dorky. :) Or at least in America, it seems to attract a higher proportion of dorks.

    I say this with all affection. I am one of them/us.

    However, I totally agree with your other observation there – watching American Idol is less dorky than an activity that actually engages your brain? Please.

    I am only giving half the story here on my wife anyway. She’s very supportive of my Tuesday night club fix and the occasional weekend junket. She just enjoys making fun of it at the same time :)

  7. Derek — I agree 100% with the first three paragraphs of your latest post and would say that the last paragraph applies equally to my wife.

    L.E.P. — I met my wife in law school at the so-not-cool University of Chicago so she would probably qualify as a “nerd” herself. That said, she has no shortage of ammo to use against me. I suspect that your future wife will be similarly well-armed regardless of who she may be. That’s just part of the fun of being married! :)

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