The most obvious thing was the very spacious playing area. I must empathize on this because I have been playing in so many tournaments where tables are long, having 4-5 boards each, and players are packed so tight that if you want to leave your seat during while your opponent is thinking, you are forced to disturb your neighbours unless you happen to be seated in the end of those long tables. Sometimes there are even tournaments where they would actually have enough space, but even so the tables are placed unnecessarily close to each other. And this is especially important to me since I am one of those players who like to have a little walk after almost every time making a move.
Another thing was the fact I asked you about (and you told me you didn’t quite know how you had managed to do it) was the huge amount of beginners in the tournament, rated below 1000 or unrated. It’s a big problem in Finland, and as far as I know, a universal problem that despite so many people play chess online, it’s very difficult to get them to play in OTB tournaments. Hats off for that achievement! And the beginners were not only kids – during the social event on Saturday I was talking with two guys aged in their 30s or 40s, who were playing in their first rated tournament ever and both were excited and eager to talk about their games and opening choices, in a way that reminded me of myself when I started playing “official” chess as a teenager.
A third one was the fact that the tournament ran so smoothly. By this I mean that there was hardly ever noisy afterwards analysis – I remember one case where two players had to be shushed, and even they were by no means particularly loud. In an average tournament it usually happens several times that people start talking after their game, not whispering, but talking just with their normal voice, even ignoring shushing around them. Most typically old men in their 70s, occasionally kids… but in your tournament, despite the big amount of participants, this didn’t happen. Quite amazing, I have to say.
A third one was all the “extra” you had in this tournament, including the social event, live commentary, players being interviewed after their games etc. “Everyone is treated like a pro” on your event site certainly doesn’t feel like too much exaggeration!