Friday, December 29, 2006

Jennifer Shahade Interview

There is an interesting interview with editor and Chess Bitch author Jennifer Shahade online in The Gothamist. Her ideas for gaining chess greater exposure through television (on the model of poker) are very interesting, especially the suggestion that chess might capitalize more on the travel involved with professional play. As she points out, "chess media and sponsors should emphasize its glamorous aspects: worldwide traveling, parties and escape from real world responsibilities. Poker made it big on the travel channel, after all." There has always been a connection between chess and tourism, with hotels and other sponsors interested in promoting their resorts. Witness the major American tournaments of the early 20th-century at Cambridge Springs and Lake Hopatcong. But I was most interested in her thoughts on making more popular:

"My first goal is to create an attractive, interactive website that forms a community of chess lovers. I want to keep it light and keep people coming back--heavy on photos, humor, and simple chess tactics and strategies. I want to promote our top players to increase their visibility and their chances to make a living at chess.

I have a blog there, and I want to connect things like what I ate for breakfast, or the movie I just saw to chess. I think that with all the energy being poured into the redesigned magazine, Chess Life, and the website, raising the number of USCF members from 80,000 to 100K+ should happen naturally."

You can read the full interview online. Hat tip

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