The 2011 All-Stars Invitational at the State Capitol was a wonderful kickoff to a new chess season. With 117 players, this year’s All-Stars tournament was the biggest and most energetic ever. Record turnout despite having about 10% fewer eligible players this year is a great sign for upcoming chess season.
Especially encouraging was the great turnout in the Rising Stars division. Several months prior to the event, we used some fancy statistical modeling to estimate how many players would participate in each section on tournament day. We were pretty close with the Super Stars and Bright Stars but WAY underestimated how many Rising Stars there’d be:
Super Stars (rating >= 1400): 22 expected, 23 actual
Bright Stars (1100-1399): 43 expected, 42 actual
Rising Stars (U1100): 41 expected, 52 actual
This is a sign that interest among new players is stronger than it has been in previous years, while interest among the more experienced players has not diminished.
In addition to unexpectedly large turnout among Rising Stars, the event was the strongest All-Stars yet. There were more players rated above 1400 than there were last year (23 vs. 19), the average rating of players was significantly higher than last year (1098 vs. 1130), and the number of players rated above 1700 was also a record.