5 years ago in 2003, the U.S. Open drew big name GMs such as: Shabalov, Kaidanov, Yudasin, Wojtkiewicz, Sulskis, Minasian, Stripunsky, Ibragimov, Christiansen, Ehlvest, Granda, Akobian, Blatny, Lein, Browne, etc.

In 2008, only 2 GMs entered the U.S. Open: Shabalov and Yermolinsky.

The overall attendance took a downward trend: 543 players in 2006, 408 in 2007 and 379 in 2008.

The membership numbers also took a dive. In 2003, the USCF membership was around 95,000. In 2008, it is around 80,000.

What are some of the reasons for the dramatic decline? What do you think? What can be done to reverse this trend?

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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