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Subject: Professional Entry Fees

Author: Bruce Moreland

Date: 22:55:42 10/12/97

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On October 12, 1997 at 18:47:22, Vincent Diepeveen wrote:

>Why must professionals pay more than amateurs anyway?
>Is the absolute world microcomputer chess champion title worth more
>if you are professional than if you are amateur?

Take someone like Martin Zentner.  He's a college student.  If he wins a
title it will be a big upset.  Obviously an amateur, obviously a
hobbyist, obviously has little to gain, directly.  Sticking him with an
entry fee might keep him out of the competition.

Take a big diversified commercial software house such as Interplay,
Sierra, Mindscape, etc.  They sell their work (or someone else's).  They
have a good chance to win a title, and if they do win a title, they will
put it on their box and plaster it across their ads.  To these people an
entry fee might not be a large consideration.  To pay for a
representative from the company to go to Paris, stay in a hotel and eat,
and to pay that person's salary while they are there, would cost way
more than a paltry $1000.

I think at least this is the idea behind it -- to raise some cash from
people who can afford it and who are likely to benefit financially from
a good result.

I think part of the break-down here is that there is an intermediate
group, people who are not making a huge amount of money, but who have
very strong programs which are available commercially.  I don't know how
much money you make by doing chess programs, but I bet that in many
cases, you don't make a lot.  The thousand bucks might tend to really
matter to these people.  But the consumer might not see much difference
between them and the big software houses -- the program is as strong or
stronger, and costs as much or more.

They tried to solve this problem by making a new category -- emerging
professional.  This is tailor-made for someone like Stefan Mayer-Kahlen,
who became professional after the tournament last year.  He probably
hasn't sold a ton of units, but on the other hand, he's not Martin
Zentner, either.

But it is harder to find a perfect fit for Mark Uniacke, who has a
strong program that is available commercially (and is in no way
"emerging"), but apparently he doesn't make a lot of money from it.
There is also a problem with Marty Hirsch, since he is apparently
struggling due to his problems with Eurochess, but he is also in no way
"emerging".  Apparently both of these guys are put off by the entry fee,
although we only have Thorsten's word for that.

It sounds like this system needs overhauling, again.  Unfortunately,
while it is easy to complain about the system, it is harder to devise a
better system.

Last time I asked, in r.g.c.c., for constructive suggestions about what
to do about this, I didn't get a lot of response.  The response that I
did get was mainly, "flatten out or eliminate the fee structure and get
rid of amateur/professional distinction", if I remember right.  Is that
the best solution?

What percentage of the event cost is generated through entry fees, and
would this make it less likely that we could hold these events in the
future, if these fees were eliminated?


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