Today, I was getting ready to leave my house to go to see the event which I assumed would be in Midtown Manhattan somewhere near to where the New York Shogi Club meets, when I checked to find the location.
Looking through several e-mails I have received, I was concerned when I discovered that, while they had provided the time and the date, they had neglected to give the place.
Finally, I found an e-mail attachment which had been sent by my friend Doug Dysart. Opening this attachment in fear and trembling (cognizant of the "Love Bug" virus) I read the document.
It gave the place as Ramada Inn, Armonk, New York (Tel.: 914-273-9090).
The tip-off was the telephone number, which is not a number for New York City but for Upstate New York. I called the number and was told that the Armonk Ramada Inn is "only" ten minutes away from the North White Plains train station.
"Ten minutes by walking", I said, hopefully.
"No. Ten Minutes by car", was the reply.
"But I don't have a car. Isn't there a train or a bus that goes there?", I asked.
I have lived in New York City off and on since 1964 and I have worked as a taxi driver here, so I feel that I know almost everything there is to know about New York, but I have never heard of Armonk, New York.
My question is this: It is obvious that New York City was selected as the location for the World Shogi Championship because it is the greatest city in the world. What is the logic to holding the tournament in Armonk, a tiny village far from the city, which nobody ever heard of?
In addition, the entry fee is $150, but included in the entry fee is a meal and a party. When I play in a shogi or a chess tournament, I play to win some games. I do not come to party. I eat at McDonalds. I am not interested in their "Meals: $75 (including, breakfast, lunch, dinner and party for 2 days, May 20 and 21)"
Agreed, the prizes are substantial, but for me to pay $150 on the gamble that I might win the prize for "Class B Champion: $1,500", would be quite a risk, especially since the last time I played in a shogi tournament I faced a sandbagger who claimed to be a one-dan player but who was actually four-dan, (roughly the equivalent of a 2200 player at chess claiming to be an 1800 player), and I had to give him a handicap instead of him giving me a handicap.
I am sure that somebody will offer the explanation that this is a Japanese tournament and the Japanese do things this way.
However, I do not believe it. When I go to a major shogi or go event in Japan, it always takes place at a major hotel in the center of Tokyo. It never takes place in Chigasaki.
The tournament announcements indicate that the Japan Shogi Renmei is sending five top rated professional shogi players from Japan to attend this tournament.
Does the Shogi Renmei and do these top rated players know that the event is to take place in a tiny hamlet out in the boondocks. Or, do they think that the tournament will take place in New York City.
I think I know the answer.
The tournament organizer, Minoru Hayashi, is the president and manager of the Van Club International at 1600 Broadway, New York, New York, which rents vans to arriving Japanese delegations. Since Mr. Hayashi has his own fleet of vans, he probably does not think it is any trouble to hold a shogi tournament in a remote rural location. Does he hold these events in remote locations so that he can rent his vans to the players?
The same thing happened last year, when it was announced that the US Shogi Championship would be held in Chicago, but it turned out that the event was held on a golf course in an unincorporated remote rural area called Hoffman Estates.
Flying to that tournament without knowing about that in advance cost me $450. This time, since I cannot afford to pay the $150 entry fee, it will cost me zero.
Please take a look at the official announcement of the Shogi World Championship and please note that, while it states that the tournament will be held at the New York Shogi Dojo, it does not say where that is. Nowhere does it state that the tournament will be held in Armonk.
I think everyone would assume that the New York Shogi Dojo is located in New York City. Who could imagine that it is located in the tiny village of Armonk?
Note that the website includes a picture and a letter from Mayor Giuliani welcoming the shogi players to New York City. Did Mayor Giuliani know that the tournament was not going to be held in New York City, or was he in on the fraud and the scam?
What is the logic of sending five top shogi professionals from Japan, just to play in a tournament in Armonk and not in New York City?