A Playing Venue
by Sevan Muradian of NA Chess Association

So for my first entry I wanted to discuss a playing venue. This is one of the most difficult aspects of organizing to deal with for various reasons.

Let’s talk about how much space. How much is too little? How much is too much? How do you know how much is right?

First you have to answer the following questions:

(1) Will there be a skittles area? Well if your answer is no then don’t proceed any further. Unless you are a small club tournament, any tournament of size will require a skittles area. Keep in the back of your mind that your skittles area should be about 1/3 – 1/2 the size of your main playing area.

(2) Will you have a chess vendor there selling books, etc.? I think this is one of the most positive aspects of a tournament when a reputable seller is there. (*Side Note – if anyone is interested in personal recommmendations for vendors please contact me).

(3) Will the chess vendor share the skittles area or will they have their own room? This is an interesting question and you have to think about it. Is this a multi-day event? If so your bookseller will not want to break down each night to pack up (he / she has to secure their inventory). If not then maybe being in the skittles room is fine but you’ll have to increase the size of your skittles rooms by about 400-500 sq ft.

(4) Are you going to have someone there, like a local master, analyzing games? If so then you would need space for this as well. I would not recommend putting this in the skittles area. So you should account for 400-500 sq ft for this activity.

(5) Where will the directors sit? Yes this is quite important. Again I recommend this be somewhere by itself so the directors can concentrate and handle issues as they arise. Again the magic # of 400-500 sq ft for this activity would be sufficient.

(6) Last but not least – how many people are you envisioning on having at the event? 100, 200, 500? Well my personal Yoda, Tim “The Walking USCF Rulebook” Just, taught me to use 20 sq ft per player. This would allow for a good comfort zone. So for a 200 person tournament that would be 4,000 sq ft.

Now mind you all we have been talking about is size. Size here does matter. Too small and people are packed like sardines and no one is having fun. Too big and you are spending $$$ you don’t have to and run the potential of some of the kids using your free space as a football arena – not good!

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