Saturday Allegro

The Melbourne Chess Club is the oldest chess club in the Southern Hemisphere. Located in a club-owned building in the inner suburbs, they have around 150 members and run a variety of tournaments, coaching and social play.

Coronavirus restrictions prevented the club from opening and they had to work out how they could continue to provide value to club members during shutdown
Their “flagship” event was the Saturday Allegro, which attracted between 40 and 50 players each week.

The Allegro was already using Tornelo.com as a Pairing Program and for live-ratings, so maintaining the player Over-the-Board ratings was a consideration when deciding how to proceed.

Their “flagship” event was the Saturday Allegro, which attracted between 40 and 50 players each week.

The Allegro was already using Tornelo.com as a Pairing Program and for live-ratings, so maintaining the player Over-the-Board ratings was a consideration when deciding how to proceed.

Moving the event online as an arbiter-led, scheduled online event was a huge step for the club. Benefits would be:

  • Continue providing opportunities for members to play
  • Maintain player ratings
  • Keep connected with members to ensure that when restrictions are lifted, members return to the club

The advantages of choosing to run an Arbiter-Led Event:

  • Maintain control over all aspects of the event
  • Provide a visible point of authority and community connection

Benefits of Using Tornelo

 

  • Non-club members are joining the event
  • Club captures contact details (name/email/phone) for these players and can continue to engage them post-restrictions
  • A new membership category of “online member” was created and membership grew
  • Club can still generate revenue despite being closed
  • Club offers benefits for members (member-rate entry fees)
  • Tornelo allows the Organiser to deal with ALL the things that happen in a chess tournament; late entries, early withdrawals, players skipping a game, changing pairings after the round has started – most online tournaments just aren’t that flexible
  • Take registrations ANY TIME, and collect money direct into the Club bank account
  • Round-by-Round Fair Play assessments

This is How the Trial Period Unfolded

Week 1

Will this even work?

Event was capped at 32 places, which were quickly filled.

Week 2

Was that a fluke?

It was clear there was demand for online chess in the local community, but running larger events might throw up some unknown challenges. Another free event, but this time capped at 128 places. The event reached capacity about 12 hours before the start time.

Week 3

Will people pay for this?

Two things were tested this week. Firstly, a nominal entry fee was added to see if players saw enough value in an online chess tournament. And secondly, the event was setup with Multiple Divisions (Premier, Challengers and Minor) to provide more closely competitive games to all players.

Participation dropped to 75 players, but everyone paid an entry fee.

Week 4

Prize Money

Cash prizes were introduced into the Premier event only. Prizes in the other divisions were free entries to future events or free attendance at club coaching sessions.

Participation remained at 75 players

 

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