London Chess Classic Elite Rest Day as the World Forgets Not to Watch
I was not alone in ignoring all the scheduling information the excellent organisers of the London Chess Classic and Grand Chess Tour put out. It was only after logging onto chess24.com and seeing that Saturday was not Round 2 for the elite players but a rest day only the FIDE Open was running, closed the browser.
I remember banging on about the disconnect between chess organisers and the tournament players and attending audience (assuming there are any). I used to think the answer was in convincing chess organisers to get Hi-tech with tournament apps that pushed notifications to players and followers. However, not sure that is really the answer. As there are some many apps for all sorts of events in our lives and every company seems determined to foister their apps on our unsuspecting smartphones.
No, the answer is social engagement. I once had the honour of posting social media updates for London Chess Classic on a 3rd party page I owned and it was all about creating a social event around the tournament. I created a Facebook Event for the London Chess Classic and shared it in the usual places for those interested to join. The exercise was successful as people began expecting to be fed with constants updates but began to post and share their own information and questions. I only did this for one year of the London Chess Classic in an official capacity and continued in an unofficial capacity until I got bored.
Grand Chess Tour, of which London Chess Classic is a part, as a spectator sport is awesome for chess aficionados who can forgive the failings regarding engaging the general public, spectators both who attend in person and who watch online.
Why do first-class tournament chess events have to be always so low key and badly publicised? The organisers of the world's finest tournaments spend oodles and oodles of money on getting elite players to attend, great playing conditions, good transportation, good accommodation but seem to leave the online marketing, social engagement and branding to chance. Strange, very strange.