This last weekend the CFCC held the Sunshine Open in Lake Mary. It was a well-run and well-directed event, in a nice venue. Registration also included a discount for CFCC members, but.... there is more to the story.
The annual dues for the CFCC are $30 for players age 19-54. The schedule is a little more complicated, but you can view the whole menu here:
The dues page for the Central Florida Chess Club
You may note that the dues amount on the site is $31.17, because they add on the card processing fee for online transactions. Cheesy, in my opinion, but it's their show.
What do the dues get you? Basically, it's discounts up to $10 in their multiday weekend events, of which there are 3 a year. I think there may have been a discount on Tornados, but they were poorly-formatted, poorly attended, and I haven't seen one scheduled in a while.
The dues also qualify you to win the Club Championship. All fine and good, but this year the event was Invitation only, so even if you paid the dues, there was a better than even chance you could not play in it. That's a whole separate nasty issue, but hey, the CFCC has their own way of doing things. (Congratulations to those who were allowed to play-Todd was one, and he really enjoyed it.)
Bottom line? If you play in all three CFCC weekend tournaments (The Winter Open, The Sunshine Open, and the Autumn Open) you get a $30 discount. If you join online, you actually lose $1.17!!
Of course, it's about playing chess, not making money. This last weekend for the Sunshine Open, Todd Durham and I noticed that there was no way to get the club discount when registering.
No biggee. I had a poor Saturday for the event, and communicated via email with Steve Vigil and Harvey Lerman that I was withdrawing, thinking that they would get the email on their phones or computers at the event, with an e-paper trail. They got the email but too late, but they graciously changed the forfeit to a withdrawal. A learning for me.
I mention this because in the email I mentioned the dues, and asked that Steve and Harvey apply my $10 refund to one of their meals at the tournament. I appreciate what they do, and it can be a thankless job at times.
Harvey replied, and he had this to say about the dues:
"Also, membership discounts were given to all who came to Kevin Sibbitt and requested it... putting the responsibility on the player rather the club."
Pardon me, but I think this concept is very misguided and ill-conceived. The CFCC solicits dues and offers benefits. Having solicited (and collected) dues, it is their responsibility to deliver on the benefits.
The idea that a player has to directly contact the Treasurer to get his or her discount is unnecessary extra work for an entitlement.
Clubs exist to serve their members, not the other way around. The CFCC seems to be oblivious to this, and the fact that their events have had lower attendance and financial challenges in the midst of a Central Florida chess renaissance should be a message- but I don't think it is getting through.
Bottom line? I think there is little point in joining the CFCC or paying the dues, and doing so recently has only cost me money and extra unnecessary effort.
I am a paid member through August 2020, but unless things change, my membership will lapse at that time. I'll still play, of course, but without the extra steps.
There is also another club in central Florida, the Orlando Chess Club. They have lots of things going on, and it is worth checking out:
The website for the Orlando Chess Club
As of yet, they do not have dues- but if they start, I suspect I will see value in the dues and enjoy the benefits.