Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grow Your Chess Club!

There is an article in the January Chess Life about how two guys built their state (North Carolina) Chess Championship from 108 entries to 232, and adding six Grandmasters and ten International Masters to the field! Impressive stuff!
As I read the article, I tried to skim off the methods of how they did it to see if the LCCC could use those methods to build our membership. I figured it was worth a shot. Here goes.

1. Have a guaranteed prize fund. Translate for the club; Have a guaranteed night of chess players.

We have that! We play every Monday except for holidays or city shut down due to bad weather. So far, so good.

2. Low entry fee. We have that! Our club has no dues. For first time visitors, there is no charge. After that – a $1 entry, which goes to the Hartland Senior Center as a donation. One dollar for a first class chess playing area with players of all strengths. A super bargain!

3. Pick a good date. Translation for the club, pick a good day. We did that too! Monday competes with no other chess club close by or events usually. Even Monday Night Football waits until LCCC is nearly closed before starting their game.

4. Pick a good playing site. Our place to play may be our biggest draw, except for the friendliness of our members. We have individual card tables to place our chess sets on, padded chairs, space, private room for a serious game(s), and a clean restroom close by. It’s a dream spot!

5. Network for players. Uh-oh. This needs work and a commitment from every current member.

This is not to say efforts are not being made. The LCCC website is under construction, this blog is operational, and we have conversations with other clubs negotiating home and home matches. And I am sure every member mentions our club every chance we get in every situation possible. All good stuff.

But we need to be creative and pro-active and THINK of other methods too. Anything you can think of to get our club name out there. Publicity – especially FREE publicity is what is needed.

One idea I had (and the motivation to write this article and get more ideas) was this:

Who re-cycles? Just about everyone, right? I know it really doesn’t do any good in reality, but it does make us feel better.
Well, how about re-cycling those chess magazines and books we no longer have any use for, in a different and delayed way?

For instance; how many of us go to the hospital, doctor, dentist, car dealer, car repair place, clinic, etc. Any place with a waiting room with magazines! Take that magazine you were about to throw out/re-cycle, and instead place a label on it stating;

“Compliments of the Livingston County Chess Club”, and putting this blog address on the label also.

Only a chess player or someone who knows a chess player will pick it up and the waiting room staff probably will not get rid of it. Why would they?
Someone will write down the blog address for later use, and a “real” chess player will probably ‘accidentally’ walk off with the magazine! Either way, at least one more person will know about us!

Donate that book to a school or city library with the same label on it.

Anyone else have any ideas on what members can do – EVERY DAY – to get our club name out there?

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