Saturday, 24 January 2009

Providing Opportunity

In some countries, chess events are run for commercial reasons, meeting a large and existing demand. In countries like Australia, this is often not the case and events exist for other reasons. At least for activities I'm involved in the notion of 'opportunity' is an important one. An tournament like Street Chess, which runs every Saturday in Canberra, attracts between 10 and 20 players most weeks. It receives $100 in sponsorship per week from a couple of local businesses (Chicken Gourmet and King O'Malley's), but the money collected in entries, and the money paid out in prizes, wouldn't keep either players or organisers in financial comfort for too long. However it does exists to provide an opportunity for chess players to come along and spend 4 hours a week playing in an enjoyable tournament, with the hope of a small reward at the end of it.
Today's event was a good example of this, with a couple of new junior players entering. 10 year old Stu Mason has played in a number of junior events, and open swisses, but this was his first tournament amongst the wily old hands at Street Chess. In the first round he managed to outplay veteran Gus Korda (being up 3 pieces for a rook), but experience told, and Gus ran Stu out of time, winning despite still being material down. However that was Stu's only loss, as he scored six consecutive wins to finish outright first on 6/7. As well as earning bragging rights in winning the event, he also took home $45 first prize, which is a nice chunk of change for a 10 year old kid.


Anonymous said...

great work Stu !

Also heart warming to see Chicken Gourmet and King O'Malley's getting behind chess. Perhaps these two names could be made public during Doeberl so chessplayers have a chance to support the businesses that support chess.

Great work from the organisers too, perhaps you could name them Shaun.


Anonymous said...

Yes well done indeed Stu.

What surprises me most is how Stu and Milan Grcic didn't end up playing each other... Gotta love the pairings. :)

Alana said...

I think it is fantastic to see street chess initiatives such as this raising the public's general awareness of the game, and possibly attracting new chess club members and club players as well!