Greengard's ChessNinja.com

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I noticed that the US Chess League site says it's sponsored by a giant online poker site. (Shahade, like so many chessplayers, is a serious online poker buff). They are quite aware that chessplayers are a good market for their wares. Every month I used to have to go into our ad network at KasparovChess and turn off the casino ads, which are generally viewed as not kid friendly.

I'm not moralizing about vice and sin, but just like I wouldn't run ads for porn sites, I do think some expressions of our free will can be more destructive than others, and/or less conducive to a pleasant atmosphere. In the last few years, thanks to the poker boom, people are more prone to think of gambling as a career, and it very well can be for a tiny minority. For another minority it can be addictive and dangerous. Of course online poker ads are hardly going to destroy today's youth. Kids can't gamble anyway, at least in theory. (Regulating over-21 online must be a joke, no?) Casino ads can even land you on some net nanny lists in the US, which has never seen a vice it wouldn't simultaneously embrace and condemn. Of course this is a subjective and personal thing. I wouldn't run a gambling ad here, but if, say, a giant Vegas casino wanted to host the US Championship I wouldn't stress about it. So many US and international chess events are at casinos already.

I've been contemplating ads and sponsorship deals here after years of not bothering about it and just linking to a few sites I work with or support. I'm certainly not going to subject readers to flashing ads for a few hundred bucks a month. But shop affiliations and such are innocuous enough, especially if connected to real content such as chess book and software reviews. I'm particularly interested in engaging the community here to create peer-reviewed reviews with practical tips and advice in the comments, the best promoted to the main item.

My interest in monetizing traffic here to promote a few causes and prizes. One is the creation of a yearly brilliancy prize for top American chessplayers. My initial thought was that it should also be a game played on US soil. Players rated over 2400 (say) would submit one, maybe two, of their games to a small panel of judges. I'd want fan donations, sponsorship, and Ninja to combine to at least four or five thousand dollars to give it some traction. Plus a trophy/medal/certificate, natch.

Another cause is the creation of low-budget matches to give young pros and potential pros a chance to meet strong competition in match play. I'm not really interested in getting into organizing, a laborious and thankless task, but I'm not above promoting some things I'd like to see.


How about support for young chess writers who've contributed to this site freely for years? ;)

I think you do enough self-promotion here that you should be paying me for hosting it all!


Lol... I don't mind if you find someone else who can accurately give you information about British chess- a lot of my 'self promotion' recently has helped with your recent 'dirt'.

Mig, sure you don't need to pay Mark. He'll always be willing to make anti-Scottish potshots for free.

And before anyone raises it, yes I am willing to make anti-Mark potshots for free.

Rowson = 3-time British Champion... 30,000 'English' pounds to show for it ...

It should be pointed out that multiple chess sites (PokerStars and JetSetPoker) were sponsors of the New York Masters as well.

well chess is same as poker in a way. you need to gamble to win.

"Regulating over-21 online must be a joke, no?"

More or less. Most sites are 18+, and will kick out any players that they discover are underaged, but getting away with it is not difficult.

Wouldn't it be better to have five brilliancy per year, to spread the wealth around? If each is worth $1000, that's still something. I assume your interest here is to support US chess players.

hold on. I am not sure I understand what is proposed here.

are you saying we will get advertising so you can raise say $5,000 to donate to players.

I dont want the advertising.

I have seen this sort of thing just about destroy other web sites. then people start up other competiting web sites to get away from the advertising. the new ones are back to no advertising. but then we have to log into numerous web sites and things begin to fall apart because there are not enough people at one site making comments.

I am not willing to sell my soul for 30 pieces of silver.

give me Liberty or give me death.

give me advertise free media or it will kill me.


Frank H

Hey Mig,

Would you say you don't play poker on moral grounds?

I don't know much about these things, but I am surprised to learn that "PokerStars and JetSetPoker" are "multiple chess sites" (whatever that may be).

Hey Mig,

About a month ago, I was in a private school library (in St Louis, MO) that had net access. I tried to go to chessninja.com, but it would not let me go there. I always wondered why the site was blocked....I was able to go to chess.com and ninja.com , so it was not the name.....but I wonder if certain words are flagged, and considered inappropriate for students??

Your mentioning of "porn, poker, vices" may be the reason??


I try, mostly by filtering out profanity, but I've given up trying to figure out all the filters out there. You have schools, corporate blocking, etc. Some places block anything associated with games, for example. Others block javascript or anything with chat. Some try to block any form of discussion sites, and since Ninja has message boards that does the trick for some strict systems.

Murali, I'd play poker and I also drink and make other decisions in my personal life that I might not find appropriate to endorse commercially or to promote publicly and actively.

Elsewhere, I disagree that betting on your own chess games is the same as gambling on poker and other games of chance. The mentality is quite different once you remove the element of luck. A gambling personality can still have problems, of course. We all know compulsive types who will bet on blitz at the club all night.

Macuga, there is always the temptation to give more prizes of less money. But this decreases interest compared to a single prize. Rarity and exclusivity are important. There could be year-long buzz about front-running games, etc. I also want the cash to be enough to make a difference to the winner. A few honorable mention certificates could be awarded, but I think it's important to just have a single prize.

Yes, Frank, we all want something for nothing. Good luck with that. Advertising doesn't drive web readers away, barring extreme cases of invasive stuff like animated pop-ups and such, and even those have little impact on traffic numbers. As much as a small percentage of people like to complain about ads, they are ubiquitous and still essential for offsetting the costs of content distribution.

Of course you should add some non-flashing quality adverts. You're just throwing money away every day you don't.

The problem here is that, as in many places, poker is equated with casino gambling. Whereas in reality the two are nothing alike, though you can find both under the same roof in Vegas. In normal casino gambling, the house always wins in the long run... plain and simple.

Poker is however a game that involves actual skill, and it's obvious that the more skillful players win vastly more often than others. Sure, luck is involved. But so is tournament strategy, reading other players, and just generally knowing what hands you should be involved in.

Sorry, meant "multiple poker sites" in my post, obviously.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 4, 2006 4:33 AM.

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