Is the Austin Chess Club the original Austin Chess Enterprises under a new directorship?
No, the Austin Chess Club is a new organization started in late 2005 by Peter Kappler, Drew Sarkisian, Michael Simpson and Josh Newsham. The current directors include Drew Sarkisian, Peter Kappler and Lori Balkum (who is also the club's most senior USCF tournament director). Austin Chess Enterprises lives on through the efforts of Gary Gaiffe and Lori Balkum who run the G/10 Monday night events at the Dobie Food Court on U.T. campus. The Austin Chess Club was formed to meet the needs of players seeking to play more serious, USCF-rated chess on a regular basis.
When does the club meet? How late into the evening can a meeting run?
The club meets weekly on Sunday nights. Club doors open at 6:00pm; registration closes at 6:25pm sharp (well, OK, we try to do this, but often we have a line of folks registering at 6:30pm). The club stays open until the final game is finished or the last Club officer leaves, whichever is later (typically 11:00-11:30pm).
What kind of events does the club run?
Our main events are 3-round swisses (1 game per week) played at either at a G/90 with 30 second increment per move time control. In between each 3-week tournament, typically we run a one-night Quick-chess (G/15, G/24) event, which may (or may not) be a USCF Quick-rated event.
Why doesn't the club open earlier? We have children who want to play in the events!
The club is sub-leasing space from the Bridge Center of Austin, so we need to be cognizant of their schedule while building our own. The Bridge Center uses the facilities most weekends, typically ending at 5:00pm and sometimes later. The director(s) need at least 1/2 an hour to prepare for the evening meeting of the chess club. Weeknights have the same scheduling issues for children, and puts even more pressure on players and directors to leave work and get to the club in a timely manner.
What is your policy concerning pairing of family members in tournaments?
During the early rounds of a tournament (for example, the first 2 rounds of a 3 round event), we will do our best to avoid pairing family members against one another. During the final rounds of an event, however, this artificial manipulation of the normal pairings may have a significant impact on the results / distribution of prizes. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that you will not play a family member during the entire duration of an event. We thank you for your understanding in this matter.
Why doesn't the Club always have "Open" sections in their standard rated events?
One of the main goals of the Club is to provide an environment where all players may enjoy themselves, playing against the strongest appropriate competition. Many of the stronger players do not have anything to gain from playing down 400-500 points for 1 or 2 rounds of a 4 round event. We appreciate the fact that it's exciting to play against only the strongest competition; this holds for the higher-rated members of the organization as well as the lower-rated members.
Please contact us if you have any questions.