Next year we're talking about doing a basic quals system for any tournament in the country to fill independently (and for any of the bigger tourneys to auto-qual for), where certain performance variables will render you eligible for the "NOVA Invitational," held during the NOVA weekend in 2011. This idea is still in its nascent stages, but the top finishers at this year's Open will get the first "Conditional" Invitations to next year's event.
If it happens / when it happens, it will likely bracket the actual Open, so that attendees can still participate in the big event, but with a qualification-oriented side event on Fri/Sun that nets a pretty sizeable prize (possible just a boatload o' cash).
Forgetting the idea of doing it or not, the question that is in my mind is how to format it if we were to do it, and I think the community could offer some solid feedback. Well, whatever community actually reads this site!
Things to ponder ...
1) Do you qualify "best generals," "best overalls," or both? I'm inclined to think high levels of sportsmanship and basic appearance fulfillment might be required to ensure players don't behave poorly when competing for a major cash prize (we're thinking thousands here). More to the point - how to ensure that the invitees are not just sterling awesome players, but reliably awesome people. The bigger the prize, the higher the risk of a heated competition.
1a) If we did this, tables would all be refereed ... so arguments / issues / possible cheating would be moderated actively by exterior observers. That's another thing to structure and think about.
2) Do you do it as a raw singles event, or do you do it as a "team" style event ---> i.e., have each tournament's top qualifiers be a loose team in a score sense, or just a focus on the individual?
3) What kinds of standards do you implement in the first year, and what tournaments are large enough to deserve exemption? My thought is simply to encourage transparency, fairness, openness ... releasing scenarios early enough, keeping your player base informed about all the details, etc. I don't want to make people pick up the NOVA format, or dance to my tune. I just don't want to reward a shot at thousands in cash / prizes to players who earn their quals via shady or collusive methods.
A casual note - this is a thought exercise at present - one I want you all to help me work through. We aren't committed to doing this, and more importantly - it's too soon to be committed.
We have a major tournament coming up in a few days, and our primary focus and job is to EXECUTE it ... but I figured I'd drop a light in on one of the MANY things we're planning for next year in order to let ya'll work through some of it with me.