How many ACF Members are there?

General Discussion about the game of Checkers.

How many ACF Members are there?

Postby Ed Trice on Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:44 am

Just out of curiosity, how many members are there in the ACF these days?
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby John Acker on Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:48 am

According to the latest membership list, 218.
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby chipschap on Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:27 pm

USCF has tens of thousands of rated players ... and we're down to just over 200 members?

How can we improve on this?

It's scary, I don't want to see checkers fold in the U.S.
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby John Acker on Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:16 pm

When was the last time the USCF held a major tournament in a budget motel with a $200 top prize?
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby Ed Trice on Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:33 pm

John Acker wrote:When was the last time the USCF held a major tournament in a budget motel with a $200 top prize?


It's more than just that.

Some people may be aware I made my own chess variant, with an 80-square board, and I added two new pieces. My board looks like this:

Image

The piece on square e1 is the Chancellor (Rook + Knight). The piece on g1 is the Archbishop (Bishop + Knight).

I created an organization that would play this variant. I even got a patent for it (6,481,716), wrote a software program to play it (with Gil Dodgen, of course!), and built an online website where people could play. And, of course, I built endgame databases for this game, where white could announce mate in 268 moves.

Image

We went from 0 members in 2001 to just under 25,000 in 2005. Even legendary player Bobby Fischer expressed interest in playing, and after many conversations with go-betweens and Icelandic liaisons, Fischer agreed to play Anatoly Karpov, his arch rival in chess, a huge $15 million dollar match using my variant. I spent nearly two years raising the money to make the match happen, then Fischer died right before it was to take place. In the article that came out in Philadelphia right after his death, I was the most prominently mentioned person other than Fischer himself.

Image

So why do I mention all of this?

I built a grass roots organization, from the ground up, that was getting close in size to the United States Chess Federation, which had 80,000 members at the time of Fischer's death to my 27,300. The key to success is rather straightforward. Here is what I did:

1. Create an attractive online website where people can play the game.
2. Maintain a fair rating system for both online and offline (tournament) play. Publish the ratings regularly

(You'd be surprised how interested people become once they see their name next to a number).

3. Design a game format THAT PEOPLE WANT TO PLAY.

It is well known that most chess games spiral down into Rook-And-Pawn endgames, which was like Chinese water torture to most. The Rook, a powerful chess piece, is on the sidelines for most of the game, then in the end, has to play "nursemaid" to a bunch of pawns. I decided to make a piece that moves like a Rook or a Knight, so the "Rook-like" piece could be developed sooner than the endgame. Develop this piece too early, it will be attacked mercilessly, and you'll likely lose. Develop it too late, and your opponent's forces will overrun you. It brought excitement back into the game.

4. Offer serious cash incentives to reward the elite class.

Without an elite class, there is no fan base, and no aspirations for improvement.

5. Offer scholarships for those who are young and still in school.

Our college tuition scholarship tournaments, only held once a year, would attract upwards of 1,000 players, and twice it was over 2,000. For a $100 entrance fee, you could get all four years of college paid for. It was an awesome deal.

6. Create the ability to maintain control of the organization as it replicates locally.

Give autonomy to those who run clubs, offer cash incentives for highest local/state/regional club sizes, and PAY TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS! This was key.

7. Create a physical publication THAT PEOPLE WANT TO READ.

It can't be the "same old, same old," you need to find ways to spice things up. This was rather hard, but it was worth the extra effort.

If the ACF wants to grow, they should find corresponding planks to those I have mentioned, and find ways to implement them. It worked for me.

After Fischer died, I was tasked with repaying the match financiers an exorbitant sum, which took me years to recover from. I lacked the drive and motivation to continue. Others in my company followed suit, and by 2009, it was functionally over.
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby Bill Salot on Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:04 pm

I received this comment from a respected checker player who has given up trying to get on the forum:

"Recently there has been some discussion in the ACF Forum about dwindling membership. It seems to me. that membership might increase if it was easier for people to get on the forum in the first place."
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby ae_ted on Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:26 pm

The current ACF officers and a good many of the current few membership absolutely do no care about internet in any way.
Until the ACF adopts and embraces the internet world both by making the forum more accessible and by having a easily accessed online gaming site the ACF is doomed to die. Period. R.I.P.

and no, I am not wrong. I said same thing back when membership was a little over 400.The trend is down and continuing down and the end IS in sight.

Proof also is the presendent (alan) will not post or have anything to do with this forum. That is a poor example of leadership.
Sportsmanship is more important than a win any day Better to be known for word and honor than a win
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby John Acker on Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:00 am

Part of the problem is that a lot of the ACF's money is tied up in trust funds, often in Alan Millhone's name. That makes it nearly impossible to invest anything outside of the operating account, and after Alan dies we may not have any legal recourse to transfer control of the money to the ACF.
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Re: How many ACF Members are there?

Postby Ed Trice on Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:06 pm

John Acker wrote:Part of the problem is that a lot of the ACF's money is tied up in trust funds, often in Alan Millhone's name. That makes it nearly impossible to invest anything outside of the operating account, and after Alan dies we may not have any legal recourse to transfer control of the money to the ACF.


It would be an easy task to build your own organization from scratch and run it the way you want.
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