Some participants will miss the drums. More than a few others will not. For most of its 35 year existence, the People's Chess Tournament was held at Sproul Plaza on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Love 'em or hate 'em, the drummers were always a part of the annual President's Day weekend tournament.
A sad sign of the times, state budget cuts, rising rental fees and lack of insider support forced organizer Richard Koepcke to find another venue. He teamed up with BayAreaChess.com founder Salman Azhar to move the event to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Concord (1/2 mile north of the Concord Hilton where last month's Golden State Open was held). The weekend simply won't be the same, although the board game being played remains unchanged.
The entry fee has increased due to the rental cost at the hotel. The days of cheap tournaments seem to be history because few organizers can find a free or cheap playing site. Big sigh!! The nonprofit Mechanics' Institute remains the biggest exception. New this year are 3-day and 2-day schedules, plus an experimental dual entry fee structure: players may pay the full entry fee to win full prizes, or pay 2/3 of the entry, but only be eligible for half of the advertised prizes. So far, about 1/3 of the entrants have chosen the "economy" fee. (If you're a junior playing up a section for the experience, then it makes sense to pay the economy fee.)
- Event: 36th People's Tournament
- Date: February 13-15
- Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel in Concord (map link)
- Format: 6 rounds in 6 sections (Open, U2100, U1900, U1700, U1500, U1300).
- 3-day schedule: Reg: Sat 10-11. Rds: Sat 11:30, 5; Sun 11:30, 5; Mon 10, 3:30.
- 2-day schedule: Reg: Sun 9-9:45, Rds: Sun 10, 12:15, 2:30, 5; Mon 10, 3:30.
- Time control: 30/90, G/60 (rounds 1-3 of 2-day schedule at G/60)
- Entry fee: Regular $99/98 or Economy $69/68. Play up for $20. Add $25 after 2/11.
- Prize fund: $7,001 based on 129 paid entries. $1000 (guaranteed) top prize in Open and $500 in each of the lower sections. Economy players win 1/2 prize.
- Tournament Flyer
- Online Registration
- Advance Entries (89 players as of 2/11)
Trivia question: Who won the People's the last time it was not held at UC Berkeley?