Chicago Chess Initiative Hosts 2017 Chicago Cup


Chicago Chess Initiative (CCI) is hosting the two-day Chicago Cup tournament this weekend in the south loop of Chicago. The event is offering a $2,500 prize pool based on 80 entries. Details are posted on the ICA Calendar.

Organizer John Porter has ambitious ideas for the Chicago chess landscape and, while preparing for the Cup, was kind enough to respond to some questions from this reporter.

1. What was your concept for the Chicago Cup?

I created this tournament with the idea of having a chess event that represents our great city and shows the diversity that we have. I also wanted to share with the chess community a positive experience on the southside of Chicago!

2. What is your idea of good time controls for tournament play?

One of the main things we will be known for is giving professional tournaments with time controls that reflect quality chess. 90% of our tournaments will be FIDE-rated and our standard time controls will be 90 minutes with 30-second increment.

3. What do you think about the chess scene in Chicago?

Chess in Chicago is coming back and coming back strong.  Currently it is hard to find a good tournament to play at on a regular basis. In the last two years it seems everyone is attempting to get some kind of chess program going. Chicago is a world-class city and needs to give world-class events every weekend.

4. You've mentioned that you believe there are areas of Chicago which are underserved by the greater chess community. Can you expound upon that?

Because Chicago is such as big city and covers a large area, some of its residents can be forgotten about when it comes to chess. Areas such as the southside of Chicago and the west side need infrastructure in the form of programs that are on-going, not just flash in the pan, four- or five-week fill-in programs.  We as a community of chess players must bridge the gap and make chess accessible to all.

5. What are your goals for chess in 2018?

We are building momentum as we speak, our goals for the upcoming year is to do the following:

  • Hold a two-day FIDE-rated tournament every 90 days.
  • Start the process of educating the senior population about chess and its positive effects on health.
  • We want to put a tournament-level chess set in 1000 children's hands in 2018.

6. What is the Chicago Chess Initiative (CCI) mission?

We will educate and inform the general population of Chicago of the importance of chess, we will also promote chess programs, organizations and clubs who are like-minded and want to see Chicago at the forefront of this great game moving forward.

7. I understand you took a time-out from chess for a while. This reporter did the same thing in my mid-life. How does it feel to come back to chess?

Believe it or not, I was a tournament director and a regular player for over 30 years, then I stopped playing for over 10 years and decided to come back to chess with the CCI. Chess has been very good to me over the years as I have been able to achieve a lot in a short period of time while meeting and becoming friends with several players throughout the state.

8. Is the Chicago Cup a one-time thing?

We are excited about this tournament as it is going to be the premier tournament around this time every year, we are hoping that our players have an experience that makes them want to play more and more in all CCI events. We hope people find our tournaments well-run and well-organized and fun.

We believe that chess can change lives one move at a time.

8. What's your background?

I achieved the rating of Expert as a player. I've supported the ICA throughout the years and see myself as a friend of the chess community and want to help the community grow. Professionally, I'm a market researcher and own my own marketing business. I am very excited about chess in the 21st century and hope to be a good resource for the ICA -- and the greater chess community.

The ICA wishes Mr. Porter good luck with the Chicago Cup and hopes to post results after this weekend.