Monday, January 4, 2010


Some of you may be aware of the emails coming out of Las Vegas concerning Stan Vaughn's version of the world chess championship (he calls it the real world championship). He's sniping at FIDE (who doesn't?) keeping Grandmasters from playing in this event by, in effect, disowning them.

That doesn't explain why the lower-rated GMs aren't playing. A decent, lower end GM could carve himself up a large pile of change and not give a crap what FIDE thinks for the rest of his life. Somewhere around $6 million bucks worth of prizes. It's being hosted at the Riviera where many other events of a chess nature have been held in the past, usually the National Open.

Everyone is skittish I think. The American Chess Federation has been fighting the USCF for ages about who has the right to do whatever. I've noted that master friends John Blackstone and Ron Gross have played in parts of this "championship" event. Stan has so many rounds, quarter-finals, and different names for each phase (Robert Fischer, Sammy Reshevsky, Reuben Fine...) that I have lost interest. The ChessBase web site doesn't take this event as seriously as I know Stan wishes they would.

I suspect the sponsors will pay unless Stan finds a way to make this big show go into default mode. (Stan is the current world chess federation champion, almost by proclamation.) I know Stan, he's approached me about a couple things. I fell for the first one in Las Vegas. It was a mountain resort 30-60 miles out of town. I was told 300 people were expected to arrive and I would be the only dealer. Well, I was the only reseller but there were only 64 players! (Someone forgot to mention that the American Open was being held simultaneously in Santa Monica!)

That was a long trip out there and back! I sold $3,500 worth of stuff, which wasn't terrible, but my mind was thinking of a larger number since it takes 2 days to get out there and 2 to get back. A lot of packing and I brought along another person to help out. And I lost a week fo work back home. In other words, not profitable.

Bob Karch was the TD and when a problem did arise, no one could get him away from the slot machine he was winning on (I was there, I saw it dumping out the money!). Mike Brooks was there and so was Dmitry Gurevich. I think Walter Browne too and you can guess that none of them bought anything from me. The taxi ride from the airport was so expensive that Mike had to borrow some dollars from me to eat! He paid me back when he got home as I knew he would.

I was glad to get back home to my girlfriend. One little joke however. I saw a guy there who I recognized as running for Sheriff back in my home county of Scott in Iowa. He had, on his arm, this beautiful babe (if I ever saw one). I walked up to him (he was in the sales area) and you could tell he was visibly surprised when I asked about the "sheriff's race." I then asked, "So what brings you here?" He stumbled for a second, recovered, and said, with the girl hanging on his arm, "I'm working undercover." I couldn't resist as I replied, "I bet."

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