I am an employee at a non-profit start-up that makes scholastic chess tournaments more professional.

For example -- we provide all equipment a professional chess tournament would have (e.g. DGT boards, country flags, etc), enforce professional conduct (e.g. recording moves, no cheating, etc), reward prizes reminiscent of professional chess tournaments (e.g. big purses, trophies, etc). We do a lot more to make the tournaments more professional, but that's beyond the scope of the question.

Anyways, we want to add the following line to our website:

We [insert verb here] scholastic chess.

We've considered the following verbs, but they either don't completely fit or the word has a negative connotation (e.g. romanticize - think of as better than reality would warrant).

  • Romanticize
  • Up the ante
  • Spruce up
  • Glamorize
  • Nothing can be clearer and more appropriate in the context than saying "more professional", stick to it. – Kris Oct 23 '19 at 7:58

It seems kind of obvious and you may have dismissed it, but why not use professionalize?

From Dictionary:

verb (used with object), pro·fes·sion·al·ized, pro·fes·sion·al·iz·ing. to give a professional character or status to.

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    Discordantly "professionalize" doesn't sound like a very professional term to me ;) – Mike Oct 22 '19 at 22:35
  • -1 That would imply things are not professional now. To make it more professional is not the same thing, right? – Kris Oct 23 '19 at 7:56
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    Also there's another meaning of professionalise to mean paying the players money which may want to be avoided - e.g. to make an amateur tournament (unpaid players) into a professional tournament (paid players) – Smock Oct 23 '19 at 12:34

Consider elevate:

2 Raise to a more important or impressive level.

As in:

We elevate scholastic chess.

For a phrase, consider take to the next level

Further improve or develop something that is already successful.

As in:

We take scholastic chess to the next level.

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formalize, "give (something) legal or formal status" (Oxford);

[fully] organize , "coordinate the activities of (a person or group of people) efficiently" (Oxford);

officialize, "make (something) official" (Oxford);

legitimize, "make legitimate" (Oxford);

standardize, "to bring into conformity with a standard especially in order to assure consistency and regularity" (Merriam-Webster);

regularize, "to make regular by conformance to law, rules, or custom" (Merriam-Webster).

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You could say that you sanction scholastic chess matches, provided that the non-profit start-up considers itself to be an independent officiating body.

verb [with object] 1 give official permission or approval for (an action): only two treatments have been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration.

There's also authorize, accredit, mandate.

In my experience, the point of having such regulations is to standardize play and thus make results comparable across a league. So if you're going to institute regulations--with all the attendant pomp--you might as well deem yourself an officiating body with the right to sanction play.

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  • Unfortunately 'sanction' can have two fairly opposing meanings. (To Endorse and to discourage) – Smock Oct 23 '19 at 12:30

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