20 April 2009


What is involved in organizing a large state youth tournament? In winter 2006-2007 I met with Chris Frye at the Spokane Regional Sports Commission to begin work submitting a bid to host the 2009 Washington State Elementary Chess Championship. The Sports Commission helped line up a venue, secured rate quotes from area hotels, and offered advice on getting started. With their help, I put together a bid proposal that was then approved at the annual coaches meeting during the 2007 WSECC in Vancouver, Washington.

After the bid was approved, the SRSC paid the Spokane Convention Center a security deposit. The local organizing committee started meeting regularly in May 2007. In early summer 2008 these meetings became monthly. This spring, we've met every three weeks, and the meetings have run two hours or longer.

The tournament will be held this weekend. The past five weeks, I have worked full time on the event.

These numbers tell part of the story.

45,000 approximate budget in dollars
300+ hours I've spent putting this together
2000+ emails I've answered
200+ phone calls I've made
4 flights I've made into Sea-Tac Airport for event promotion
5 rental cars I've driven for same purpose
1098 shipping weight in pounds of chess equipment purchased for the event
120 C batteries purchased for chess clocks
10728.28 cost in dollars of trophies
200 volunteer t-shirts printed
250+ approximate number of chess sets to be donated to area schools
0 minutes spent on this enterprise that I regret!


  1. Have fun this weekend. What i miss, five pounds of ear plugs to filter the noise. :-)

  2. James,good for you for putting it on "for the children," and best of luck for a smooth and enjoyable event. I knew this was why your blogging had been light, your readers are hoping for a big spread after the event is over and you've had time to recover!

  3. Good luck, I hope everything will go smoothly.

  4. Thank you.

    Not everything went smooth, but most things went smoother than I expected. For every complaint, and there were many--large and small,--there were dozens of parents, coaches, and players offering thanks and praise. I consider the event a terrific success. Today, I am elated and exhausted, but I have already started planning for the possibility that we might do this event in Spokane again in 2012. We have eleven months to decide whether to do it again, and to prepare our bid.

    Our success was due to the many hours of volunteer work of Teri, Gloria, Naureen, Chris, Ted, Kevin, John, and Adam over the past two years, and more than one hundred others over the past few days. Thanks to all of you. Thanks to the kids that participated, and thanks the parents that spent their time and money to make their children a part of this great event! Thank you to those that offered praise, and thank you to those that complained and criticized our errors. We did well, but we can improve, should we do it again.

    Good luck to the South Sound Chess Coaches Association who are hosting next year's event in Tacoma. You already know that I will serve as one among your legions of volunteers.