By Shelby Lohrman
Last week, the National Open, the largest chess tournament since the pandemic, was a big hit! When it was first announced months ago the attendance figures rose to levels no one thought possible. ACE supplied all the sets and custom boards for the tournament. Our customized chess clocks went to section winners, too!
I was fortunate to represent American Chess Equipment at the National Open by providing an array of ACE chess products and assisting in the store. The 12-to-14-hour days I spent running the store went by fast and getting to see my old friends and customers made me want the days to never end. Here are a few things that I learned about you, the chess player, from working in the store.
People were amazed at the updates we made to our Ultimate Chess pieces (04-4037). To the casual player, they did not seem much different. But to the serious tournament player, especially when I told them of all the improvements, it was a no brainer! One customer was cashing out and told me of his wishes for a plastic weighted tournament set that would handle the abuses of all his Blitz and Bullet play. After I extolled the virtues of the new weighting system I had to run in back and pull one for him. While I was on my way to get it, one of the guys in line yelled out “Get me one too!”. Nice to be around people who recognize quality!
We also had the Metal Ultimate pieces (01-4037) right next to the checkout area right where people had to walk past it to access the store. I was surprised on how many people that had to stop, ogle, and pick up the pieces. I know they are amazing…but it is nice to see customers think the same way!
What really shocked me was the demand for chess clocks. With all the people signed up for the beginner section we grossly underestimated the demand. We sold nearly triple the chess clocks we normally sell. As usual, the Bobby Fischer Chess Clock (09-6004) was the big seller. People like the color combination and packaging better than its sister, the DGT North American.
Just want to give a big shout out to the National Open tournament staff (Alan & Janelle Losoff, Glenn Panner, and their dedicated tournament directors) for putting on such a great tournament. The amount of prep work to organize one of these is something that most tournament chess players never realize. When you see a tournament run seamlessly people do not understand the months of work in prep. I look forward to seeing all of you there next year. If you think this store had an amazing selection of products…just wait till you see what I have in the pipeline!
NATIONAL OPEN HIGHLIGHTS
This little king dominated the U1500 Section - Tied for #1 Rank at only 7 years old!!
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