Lara invited you to her fundraiser Save Hastings International Chess Congress

Fundraiser by Lara Barnes

About the fundraiser
At this time of year, the organisers of Hastings International Chess Congress are usually busy preparing the entry form for the annual event which starts at the end of December. To enable this, a new lead sponsor is needed to replace the Tradewise Insurance Company, whose agreed term of support came to an end after the 2018-2019 event. Hastings Borough Council, which has co-sponsored the tournament for many many years, is willing to continue its support, but this requires match-funding. The Congress is seeking to raise £10,000 – £15,000 to enable this historic and world-renowned event to take place as usual at the end of this year. So far, £2,000 has been pledged towards this target. The present day Congress, which takes place from 28th December until 6th January each year, brings considerable income to the town at a time of year when visitors are scarce. Each year the event attracts around 400 entries from over 20 countries and provides excellent opportunities for aspiring chess champions to achieve international honours. The careers of many illustrious chess players have benefitted from playing here, and the event also provides a feast of chess for ordinary club players. The games in the Masters tournament are broadcast worldwide, and this IT aspect is something which could easily be exploited to the sponsor’s advantage. The recent success of the English team securing the Silver Medal at the World Open Team Championship also owes some debt to Hastings – all members of the team have honed their skills at the HICC in the past. The great Hastings tournament of 1895 cemented its place in chess history, being the strongest worldwide of the 19th century. The list of participants reads like a roll-call of the world’s greatest chess players. It has now become an integral part of Hastings and English heritage. The centenary of the Hastings International Chess Congress will take place in 2020-2021. Past sponsors include – The Times, ICL, Foreign & Colonial Financial Management and Tradewise Insurance Company Ltd. Sponsorship is being sought urgently to ensure the continuation of the event this year. However, the ultimate aim is to attract a major sponsor which would enable the Congress to recover its past status on the international chess calendar and reach another centenary in 2024-25.

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