by Mark S. Dutton, International Arbiter
WATCH LIVE CHESS GAMES from the 2010 Grand Pacific Open Chess Championship!
Round 2: 12 Noon PST 3 PM EST
2010 Grand Pacific Open Chess Championship Schedule
Grand Pacific Open April 2 – 5, 2010
LIVE BROADCAST AT MONROI
Sections: Open (FIDE and CFC rated); U1400 (CFC rated)
Rd 1 at 6:00 pm Friday April 2nd;
Rds 2 and 3 at 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm Saturday April 3rd;
Rds 4 and 5 at 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm Sunday April 4th;
Rd 6 at 10:00 am Monday April 5th
2010 Grand Pacific Open Chess Championship Schedule
4TH Annual Grand Pacific Open April 2 - 5, 2010
Sections: Open (FIDE and CFC rated); U1400 (CFC rated)
Round Times Rd 1 at 6:00 pm Friday April 2nd;
Rds 2 and 3 at 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm Saturday April 3rd;
Rds 4 and 5 at 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm Sunday April 4th;
Rd 6 at 10:00 am Monday April 5th
TD Mark S. Dutton, IA
Victoria Chess Challenge (Grade K-12) April 2 10am - 4pm, G25min+5 sec increment, 5 round swiss or round robin, medals 1st, 2nd, 3rd each grade K-12. Open to Out of Region players including US and International. Top players will qualify for BC Chess Challenge (BC residents only). TD Elliot Raymer
Grand Pacific Active April 2 12 noon - 4pm, G25min+5 sec increment, 4 round swiss, medals 1st, 2nd, 3rd 12 years >12years and > 60 years TD Elliot Raymer
Midnight Blitz April 3 10pm or ASAP to 11:45, G5min, 5 double round swiss, 1st $50, U1700 $25, U1200 $25 TD Elliot Raymer
Grand Pacific Bughouse April 5 2pm - 4pm, G5min, 5 round swiss TD Elliot Raymer
By Abby Marshall
Kudos as always to MonRoi for broadcasting the games and making it possible for everyone to know the results live. I guess I switched to writing hieroglyphics in the middle of my notation so I can’t read half my moves, but thanks to MonRoi I now have the complete score. Yay! I’m definitely not going to be the last girl to win. There are many young players who are stronger than I was at their age. I have no doubt this is just the first step in American chess for women reaching equality with men. I’m excited about that.
MonRoi is delighted with the positive feedback received after the 2009 Canadian Open Chess Tournament, which was held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We thank the Canadian chess community and chess fans worldwide for their continued support. Below are a few comments from Chess Talk.
Big Thanks to CO Organizers !
I played in this past Canadian Open and had an absolutely fantastic time. Definitely the best Canadian Open I've been at (2006-2009) so far. Everyone I had talked to about the 2005 CO, also held in Edmonton, said it had been an outstanding CO and that 2009 was not to be missed. They were right!
A big thanks to Micah Hughey and Vlad Rekhson, along with their team, who put on a fantastic show, and were always very helpful and professional. Everyone who I hanged out with seemed to have been having a terrific time overall, even if the chess results at times proved disappointing (got ourselves to blame really).
The website was easy to navigate, complete with results and pairings for the next round, always posted about one hour after the last game of the night was finished. Always great to have (and use!) monroi to record games and to view them afterward from home. Coverage was excellent with chessbase and terrific to have Shabalov annotate some of the top board games.
Not comparable to any other CO I've attended were the side events: 5 simuls, 4 lectures, blitz and bughouse tournaments. Shirov, Ganguly and Bluvshtein gave terrific lectures, which were very well attended, and Piasetski analyzed one-on-one with players who wanted an expert opinion on their past games where improvements could have been made. I took the opportunity to play in my first clock simul (1 hour per player) against Zhao Xue and learn a tough lesson in the black side of the Albin Counter Gambit. In the end she did some analyzes although advised me to select a more sound opening in the future All chess professionals were very friendly and approachable throughout the event, from what I witnessed.
The skittles room, although located a couple of floors above the playing hall on the other side of the hotel, was always full of life, with players of all levels doing post-mortems, including Adams and Shirov. The playing hall was high class, spacious with carpeted floors, washrooms immediately adjacent, inside the downtown City Centre, yet secluded from the noise. There was also a movie theatre 1 minute walk from the playing hall inside the mall.
The format was just one big swiss section, which I didn't mind and I know of many colleagues who were looking forward to playing against titled players. I can see how some masters may be disappointed by the lack of norm chances, especially if they were led to believe this was possible. However it would already be tremendously difficult if not impossible to reach a norm in 9 rounds swiss. One IM told me that a GM norm was completely out of the question, even before the tournament began.
I got the impression everyone was having a great time, again from those I came across, and am a bit surprised that some of the people who criticized this CO further down in chesstalk posts were not there. I am looking forward to anyone doing a better job and hope to be there too.
It seems to me that organizers (current or future) can learn a lot from the guys in Edmonton, who created the best festival / tournament I've been at. Provided I can get together the funds again, I'll definitely come back in future years.
A big thanks for a memorable vacation / experience.
I share Alex's opinion.
Once again Thank You MONROI for many hours of pleasure during the Canadian Open.
What a great event! What a great event for Canadian Chess Players!!
Ken: I ditto that. Monroi is an innovator benefiting the global chess community. More tournaments in Canada should be covered, not fewer.
Yes indeed, thanks to MonRoi for their great work! We tend to take being able to watch live games for granted, but someone has to do all the hard work involved with getting them out. The technology is great and I wish it was in greater use.
Thanks MONROI for all the games transmissions to chess players. It was a real pleasure during the Canadian Open to watch them on our computers' screens. What a great event for Canadian Chess Players!!
FIDE Grand-Prix is a series of six invitational chess tournaments, held over two years, managed by Global Chess. Global Chess is co-owned by FIDE’s President Kirsan Ilymzhinov and Chess Lane LA company of David Kaplan, a Russian-Israeli businessman. Global Chess BV was established in Prague on the 21st day of December 2006, when Memorandum Of Understanding was signed by FIDE’s President and Bessel Kok. It appears that subsequently Bessel Kok, the Chairman of Global Chess has left the company.
|The original Grand-Prix schedule||The current Grand-Prix schedule|
Apr 20 – May 6, 2008
Apr 20 – May 6, 2008
Jul 30 - Aug 15, 2008
Jul 30 - Aug 15, 2008
|DOHA, QATAR - Cancelled
Dec 13 – 29, 2008
Dec 13 – 29, 2008
|MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND - Cancelled
Apr 14 -30, 2009
|ELISTA, RUSSIAAug 8 – 24, 2009||YEREVAN, ARMENIA
Aug 8 – 24, 2009
|KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC
Dec 7 – 23, 2009
2008 FIDE Grand-Prix
21 players were selected to compete in the FIDE Grand Prix tournaments. Two events have been organized so far, in Baku and Sochi. Four more events were scheduled, but shortly after Doha was cancelled and moved hastily to Elista, the organizers of Montreux tournament cancelled their plans as well. To make things worse, top seed Magnus Carlsen as well as England’s number one player Michael Adams have withdrawn. At the present time, there is no answer what is to happen to their scores. FIDE removed nominated players Mohamad Al Modiahki (Qatar) and Yannick Pelletier (Switzerland) from competing in the Grand-Prix. It looks like the four players are replaced by Vladimir Akopian, Evgeny Alekseev, Pavel Eljanov and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Tournament organizer of the 6th Grand Prix event, Pavel Matocha is not pleased with negative publicity surrounding FIDE’s Grand Prix. What started as a promising series of tournaments has rapidly turned into a sinking ship states Peter Doggers at the Chessvibes news site.
The winner of the Grand Prix was originally announced to play a match against the winner of the 2009 World Cup, for the right to challenge the World Champion in 2010. FIDE has changed the rules, introducing a Candidates Tournament, for which the top two placed Grand Prix participants would qualify. FIDE has changed the rules and format for the World Championship Cycle so many times, that it's hard to depend on any announced format actually holding up by the time the matches or tournaments are expected to be played states Mark Weeks at Chess.About.Com.
The Global Chess predecessor, a London-based company called FIDE Commerce International Ltd. organized the Grand-Prix in year 2002. Octagon, a global sport marketing firm was hired for promotional purposes. Results from five chess tournaments, Abu Dhabi, Moscow, Bangalore, Dubrovnik, and Rio de Janeiro were to be combined to produce an overall Grand Prix winner. The first tournament was moved to Dubai and held in April. The second was held in Moscow in June. The other Grand Prix events were cancelled.
2008 FIDE Grand-Prix Open Letters
Open Letter from Henrik Carlsen re Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen
We have just informed FIDE by e-mail that Magnus withdraws from the Grand Prix series due to the dramatic change to these regulations approved by the General Assembly. According to the regulations the final decision on changes to the regulations is the responsibility of the FPB - and not the General Assembly - but we have been informed by several FIDE executives that the Presidential Board will endorse the GA decision shortly if necessary. Magnus is simply not motivated to continue the GP series with the dramatically changed conditions approved in Dresden, and the uncertainty related to any future changes that may be decided by FIDE.
To mention one thing, it is hard to understand how diminishing the value of the Grand Prix series can be interpreted as a way of saving the ongoing cycle. Having withdrawn from the Grand Prix series Magnus does not have to spend more time and energy on the uncertainty involved, and may fortunately now concentrate on playing several well organised and interesting top level events elsewhere. In the first half of 2009 he has agreed to play some Grand Slam events as well as some great rapid events, starting with a rapid tournament in Gjøvik, Norway January 2nd - 5th and the Corus A from January 16th onwards.
Norway, December 4, 2008
Open letter from Grandmaster Michael Adams
I have regretfully withdrawn from the whole Grand Prix series. Some of the reasons I took this decision are the sudden switch of venues at very late notice, the replacement of players whose results thus far will affect the results of the whole Grand Prix both in terms of prize money and World Championship qualification and the fact that when I made my decision the status of some of the future GP events was still unclear.The changes to the World Championship cycle also concern me as making major changes to a cycle in progress in such a sudden manner is very undesirable. There also seems to be no guarantee that further changes will not be made in a similar manner in the future. The changes are obviously immediately very negative for all Grand Prix participants but also in general it seems to me that the rewards for success in such tough events as the Grand Prix or the World Cup are now much too minimal.
England, December 11, 2008
Open letter from Grandmaster Levon Aronian
Dear Mr. Ilyumzhinov and the FIDE Presidential Board,
In the wake of recent events surrounding the FIDE Grand Prix and the General Assembly's (GA) decision to alter the current World Championship cycle, I feel obliged, as a participant and a leading chess player, to express my disappointment. I must request you to critically view and question the GA's latest decisions and the processes to which they came. I must stress that I am not one for scandals and do not wish to cause unnecessary fights – however I believe it is my duty to act as the voice of the players.
Firstly, the decision to alter the World Championship cycle at this time is not in the spirit of fair competition. We can draw a parallel to the following example: the rules set before a race state that the marathon is 42km, and while the runners are still running, having already completed 20km, the rules are suddenly changed to make the marathon an 80km run. The runners thus lose motivation to run and consequently distrust the rule makers. This is comparable to the situation the participants of the FIDE Grand Prix will be in if the GA's decisions are made final.
After severe criticism for many years over the World Championship cycle, FIDE finally created a promising new system, only now to self-impose new waves of criticism. When the initial World Championship cycle was set in place and the Grand Prix system was created for players to qualify legitimately for a chance to challenge the world champion, we had the belief that there was finally a fair and reliable system (which my federation also supported).
With the GA’s recent actions, it seems that there is a democratic deficit within FIDE. The GA did not consult the players currently taking part in the Grand Prix in their decision processes. Please keep in mind a very important point – these players, including myself, have a legally binding agreement with FIDE regarding the World Championship cycle and the Grand Prix. Therefore it is FIDE's duty to consult the other party of the contract – the participants.
Does this mean that the chess players have lesser rights than others? The GA appears to act with no concern for the players. The decision to suddenly change the World Championship cycle has damaging effects on the career plans of leading chess players. It is also reasonable to ask: why should we go through several tournaments over several years and fight for a place in a tournament that another player gets by losing a match? The GA's decisions remove the motivation for players like myself to take part in the World Championship cycle.
It should be noted that Mr. Mastrokoukos' reason to change the cycle because of the unforeseen events of two legs of the Grand Prix withdrawing is not convincing and does not reflect reality – because a Grand Prix event in Yerevan has already been announced by FIDE as a replacement. It is clear that the withdrawal of Doha and Montreux are not endangering the system, as he would have us believe in his letter to Mr. Carlsen.
It seems that FIDE was on the right path towards a reliable World Championship cycle, which had the support of leading players and chess federations worldwide. However, with the GA's recent actions, FIDE has left the right path and will lose its credibility in the eyes of chess players world wide – not to mention, ruin its efforts to be recognized as a sport by the IOC. I hope that the above arguments will be heard before finalizing the decisions of the GA.Sincerely,
Germany / Armenia, December 6, 2008
Open Letter of the Association of Chess Professionals
The ACP objects to the modifications imposed by FIDE in the World Chess Championship cycle. The system of the World Championship cannot be changed once the cycle has started. This statement relies on an opinion study made by the ACP among chess players rated above 2700.
Changing the Regulations of the World Championship in progress negatively affected top players who were already involved in the cycle, and eventually led to several withdrawals. The ACP therefore suggests that FIDE regularly consults with top players on all essential questions such as the World Championship.At the end of November in Dresden, FIDE put forward a new format for the World Championship cycle started earlier this year. The General Assembly approved this proposal. The ACP Board subsequently contacted all players rated above 2700. Many of them eventually sent their answers, while some others expressed their views directly in the press. The whole procedure took a couple of weeks but enabled the Board to determine how the ACP had to react in order to represent top players' opinions in the most objective way.
The ACP draws the following conclusions:
The essence of the World Championship is to let all greatest chess players fight to obtain the precious title of World Champion. Changing the regulations once the cycle has started means changing the qualification process which participants have agreed to go through. Thus, players' rights have been neglected.
Considering its pure content, the new system proposed by FIDE has the right to exist. It actually bears a certain resemblance to what has been tried in the past few years. However, the problematic point, which has been contested by numerous players, concerns the selection to the candidates tournament (or matches). The ACP believes that the qualification system has not been worked out in the most adequate way. It is crucial to select players according to the most objective criteria, so that the World Championship can be held at the highest possible level.
Taking into account the aforementioned points, the ACP recommends FIDE to build a sustainable dialog with chess players, where the ACP could play a role of mediator. Consultation and discussion are the key words to lay the foundations for a fair World Chess Championship cycle.
December 16, 2008
NASA and the USCF organized the correspondence chess match between astronaut Greg Chamitoff, in orbit aboard the International Space Station, and the kindergarten through third grade U.S. Chess Championship Team and its chess club teammates from Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. The game moves at a pace of one move per day on weekdays only.
The K-3 champions select up to four possible moves each time it is Earth's turn, and then the public votes on which move will be made. NASA transmits the winning move to Chamitoff, who then responds. Chamitoff has been playing correspondence chess in his off time with NASA’s control centers during his missions. He has added Velcro to the chess pieces to keep them from floating away in weightlessness. So far, he is undefeated.
Kelly Humphries, NASA
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Glenn Petersen, USCF Chess Life for Kids
Coach David Hendricks, Stevenson Team
WA State Scholastic Coordinator
Hal Bogner, Match Director
May 9 - 11, Pennsylvania
The competition this past weekend brought 2,200 chess players, some as young as 4, to Pittsburgh from nearly every corner of the United States.
K-1: Feng, Roland and Vasudeva, Tanuj (co-champions) 7 points
K-3: Angermeier, Danny and Polgar, Tommy (co-champions) 6.5 points
K-5: Li, Brian S and Liao, Eric N (co-champions) 6.5 points
K-6: Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr A (champion) 6.5 points
Atlanta, Georgia, USA- April 2008
We intended to just having fun. And somehow we won. Amanda Mateer- Bughouse Championship Winner
My favorite band is probably Red Hot Chili Peppers. Marc Arnold
I like the way that you can scroll and see all live games. That’s pretty cool. Daniel Rensch
I am happy! Daniel Yeager- 2008 High School Championship Winner
I’d like to recognize the person who helps to make all this happen. Please give your thanks to Ms. Pat Knight. Bill Hall- Executive Director USCF
Attendance: Over 1,200 chess players.
Dallas, Texas, April 2008
At the end of the day, I think that you know that what you are doing is making a difference in the next generation. Jerry Nash, USCF Scholastic Director
It’s a great tournament – Junior High Nationals. My first time (here), it was awesome. My dad was watching on MonRoi. It was great for him. My mom was really excited after every game watching at home, checking the website all the time to see the games & results. David Adelberg
You have to always stay focused on the position. Michael Lee- K9 Winner!
Attendance: More than 900 chess players.
By Peter Hum
In 2007, the organizers of the Canadian Open and Canadian Youth Chess Championships in Ottawa raised more than $90,000 in cash and many invaluable in-kind donations from sponsors and donors to stage the two events.
We had no other choice — we lacked the government support that some of our predecessors in other cities enjoyed. Fortunately, we secured support from telecommunications giant TELUS (far and away our biggest sponsor), Magmic Games (an Ottawa company that makes gaming software — including chess — for mobile devices including RIM's Blackberry), Hill & Knowlton Canada, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Marriott, ATFCAN (which had a special interest in sponsoring Indian GMs at the Open), OZ Optics (which felt the same way about Turkish players), Bell Canada and several embassies. Major Canadian banks and law firms also made tax-deductible donations.
“How did you do it?” you ask. Q + A-style, here is a summary of our sponsorship drive:
WHAT ARE THE BASICS OF ANY SPONSORSHIP DRIVE?
The organizers must convince the sponsors (and donors — more about them later) that their money supports a worthy, accountable, and even prestigious cause that ideally attracts much attention from chess and even mainstream audiences. Regarding sponsors in particular, organizers must show that the sponsorships will be duly recognized and publicized, through event promotions, advertising and media outreach.
WHICH COMPANIES DID THE OTTAWA GROUP APPROACH?
The short answer is, “as many as possible.” (We did approach many companies that turned us down. But we still learned nonetheless from our interactions, and in the future, those companies could be approached again.)
The more nuanced answer is a) companies whose executives are acquainted personally or professionally with the organizers; b) companies that are directly connected to chess; c) companies that have chess-friendly executives or employees; and d) companies who may be receptive to the well-made case that supporting a high-profile chess event is in their interest.
Making use of personal and professional relationships with potential sponsors is the quickest and often most productive route to take in the quest for support. We were fortunate in that several of our organizers had access to many Canadian corporate leaders.
That said, we had notable successes at the ground level, with other organizers querying their bank branches and insurers, and finding support. In the past, makers of chess clocks and software have supported events, and we found that Ottawa’s Magmic Games, which makes gaming software for mobile devices such as the RIM BlackBerry, was a natural fit as a sponsor for our events — once it was made aware of what the Canadian chess community was up to. We also found support from one Ottawa executive who played chess, and had several Ottawa chessplayers query within their own companies to see if support was available — it’s great if there’s a champion for your cause within the company. Finally, for companies that we “cold-called” and for companies that we were acquainted with, we prepared kits detailing why supporting either the Canadian Open or the CYCC or both was worth their consideration. We believe that, in particular, the kits — or rather the case it made — had some sway in our negotiations with the Canadian Open’s venue.
HOW DID THE ORGANIZERS APPROACH COMPANIES?
The most experienced and successful fund-raiser on our committee stresses: “In securing corporate sponsorships and donations, the person who makes the ask, or introduces the person who will make the ask, is pretty well just as important as what the cause/use of funds is. In addition to having a worthy cause and great materials, a lot of thought should go into thinking through who might know whom in a target company, and how personal/professional relationships can be used in order to access time with key decision makers. This is non-profit fund-raising 101 for virtually every meaningful charity in the country. In fact, for donations, this is the single most important factor. It is maybe a little, but only a little, less so for sponsors, depending on how compelling the ‘promotional benefits’ of sponsorship are.”
He adds: “It makes a big difference if those doing the fund-raising are personally committing funds to the cause themselves. This is as simple as: ‘if you (or your company) are not financially supporting the cause/event, why should my company support it?’ ... This can’t be over-emphasized.” In fact, several members of the Ottawa organizing group opened their wallets for the cause.
In the case of cold calls, they often went through community relations officials at companies. These initial contacts and queries were followed by detailed packages usually sent by e-mail, but sometimes as hard copy. In other cases, generic online sponsorship forms were filled out. (Googling will discover such forms for companies such as WestJet, Lenovo, Dell and others, as well as descriptions of the sponsorship guidelines for the company.)
WHAT WAS THE THRUST OF THE CYCC SPONSORSHIP DRIVE?
With Corporate Social Responsibility on the minds of all companies these days, it was felt that our case for the CYCC would resonate meaningfully with potential sponsors. You won’t have to look very far on the Internet to find companies that support youth programs of all kinds (literacy, troubled youth, spelling bees) and we felt the CYCC could enjoy like-minded support.
Quite honestly and passionately we made the case that the pursuit of chess excellence is good for young people (a case that Maurice Ashley and Susan Polgar among others have clearly made already), that the CYCC’s champions are among the Canadian cream of the crop, and that the winners would be sent to represent Canada on the world stage. In a way, this could be alpine skiing, water polo, or spelling that we're talking about. Google and you will see that the big Canadian companies sign multi-year, seven-figure sponsorship deals for the most glamourous sporting pursuits. We were very pleased that TELUS agreed to be the CYCC’s Gold Sponsor, and were glad as well for the endorsement we received from Janet Yale, TELUS’ executive vice president, Corporate Affairs. “TELUS believes supporting the 2007 Canadian Youth Chess Championship is an excellent way for us to encourage and support young Canadians in achieving their academic and intellectual goals,” she said. “It is part of our commitment to becoming Canada’s premier corporate citizen by making a positive difference in the communities where we live, work and serve.”
An aside: in my opinion, a high-profile sponsor such as TELUS wants an event to aim high by, for example, staging the CYCC at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier and bringing in former Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar to inspire and play CYCC kids so that the event has more appeal to mainstream media. Susan received plentiful press coverage in Ottawa (TV, radio, the Citizen).
WHAT WAS THE THRUST OF THE CANADIAN OPEN SPONSORSHIP DRIVE?
Our top fund-raiser says: "Raising money for an adult activity requires a very strong business case based on what the participants mean to or can do for the sponsor/donor — hence the need for very strong player statistics and demographic information." Generally speaking, this is a harder case to make than the case for the CYCC, when the benefits for children can be stressed.
We made the case that to sell the Open as an event worthy of attention for the world's online chess fans, and our efforts had more oomph once we had compiled some metrics concerning the popularity of online chess play and the leading chess websites (Chessbase.com, Monroi, Susan Polgar's blog).
Again, it was important for us to aim high, which meant trying to secure the participation of both high-rated and numerous grandmasters. As we were able to confirm the participation of GMs, we generated greater interest within the global chess community, which culminated in our recognition by the Association of Chess Professionals.
We were successful in finding smaller “niche” sponsorships — having companies and foreign missions in Ottawa supporting specific grandmasters. Bell Canada was pleased to sponsor GM Mark Bluvshtein at the Canadian Open with its specific contribution. ATFCAN, a Canadian clean energy business that is very active in India, which sponsored two Indian players. We also received invaluable support from selected diplomatic missions in Ottawa — the British High Commission, the Embassies of Poland, Israel, Slovakia and Turkey — which contributed to supporting players from their countries and our events.
One other point: there was a bit of a snowball effect, in that after some key sponsors signed on, their support helped buttress the case made to other companies.
APART FROM MONEY, WHAT OTHER KINDS OF SUPPORT DID THE OTTAWA GROUP RECEIVE?
We received vital in-kind support — sometimes as an alternative when financial support was not an option for the otherwise interested sponsor. The Canadian Open’s venue was recognized prominently as a sponsor in exchange for benefits. The Ottawa Citizen assisted with our banners and printed materials. Our relaunched website, logos, programs and media liaison were all supported by the human capital at ATFCAN. We received crucial e-commerce assistance from the Ottawa company Jaded Pixel, whose technology far surpassed what the CFC’s website offers for online registration.
WHAT DID THE SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES CONSIST OF?
Prospective sponsors received packages with a targeted covering letter, a “splash page” for the event with a photo and one-paragraph description boiling the event down, a term sheet that spelled out the benefits for the three tiers of sponsorship with respect to sponsor recognition and visibility, and examples of media coverage of previous CYCCs and Canadian Opens. We also included detailed, point-form media strategies for the respective events. A key sponsor requested to see our event budget before coming on board.
For the CYCC sponsors, we presented a one-pager detailing the benefits of chess for children, quantified by researchers. For Open sponsors, we included a page of metrics quantifying the online audience for chess.
GENERALLY, WHAT BENEFITS DID SPONSORS RECEIVE?
When we drafted our term sheets, we took our lead from examples found on the Internet of sponsorship term sheets. We offered three levels of sponsorship — Gold, Silver and Bronze. The kinds of benefits included naming rights, opportunities to speak at opening ceremonies, acknowledgement at closing ceremonies, logo prominence on t-shirt, websites, news releases, promotional materials such as programs and chessboards, mentions during pre-event publicity (mail-outs, webpages, etc.) on-site banners and mainstream media opportunities.
It followed that we were extremely conscientious to make good on our promises to sponsors, both during our pre-event publicity and during the events when we made considerable and successful efforts to attract mainstream media (print, TV and radio).
Finally, a vital assurance to sponsors and donors that must be met is that the organizers will meet the highest standards of financial probity — carefully accounting for all monies, ensuring the funds go to the benefit of the stated purposes and not to the personal benefit of the organizers.
WHAT ABOUT DONORS AS OPPOSED TO SPONSORS?
Donors do not receive the widespread recognition that sponsors do. The Chess Federation of Canada is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations that may be earmarked for specific events, and indeed, some companies preferred to support our events with major donations rather than sponsorships. Their decisions may have been due to budgetary considerations.
WHAT WOULD THE ORGANIZERS DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME?
Start earlier. We had only six months to find support. A year or a year and a half or two years would have been much better, both for us and the companies.
One priority during that time would be to create and compile better written materials to help persuade potential sponsors. In particular, chess organizers and organizations need to pull together some hard and impressive market data on chess to support why corporations should be interested in being associated.
Finally, it would be good to give more consideration to cultivating lasting sponsor/donor relationships. One-shot sponsorship (that is, having a different organizing group each year try to figure out, once again, how to raise some money) is highly inefficient. Repeat/multi-year sponsors/donors are the most efficient way to go.
ANY LAST WORDS?
There are naysayers who contend that corporate support for chess in Canada is a complete non-starter. But we hope our experience — starting very much from scratch — suggests otherwise, and that other organizers will be keen to follow in our footsteps and take Canadian chess events to a higher level.
Peter Hum was one of a dozen or so volunteers who organized the 2007 Canadian Open and Canadian Youth Chess Championships.
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