Pawn Wise: The Atlantic All-Ages Chess Festival 2020, which takes place this summer in Halifax, is shaping up to be an event like no other in Atlantic Canada. Still months away, the event is already attracting top level players such as GMs Evgeny Bareev, Dommaraju Gukesh, and Hou Yifan. Unprecedented in this region for its size and scope – featuring two tournaments, a scholastic chess festival, and a scholarly panel – Pawn Wise is envisioned as a bold opening move in a strategic effort to put Halifax on the map as a hub for chess in Canada.
Chess Nova Scotia, the group hosting the festival, launched its completely redesigned website in December and in February began an advertising campaign to promote the event. The organizing committee has been hard at work for months and is now fully engaged in the event’s sponsorship drive.
“We want to ensure that Pawn Wise lives up to its potential and is a tremendous success,” says festival coordinator Roger Langen. “We’re encouraged by the high level of interest shown in the festival so far and the willingness of Chess Nova Scotia members, government, and the local business community to sponsor our event.”
Langen says fundraising is on pace and is currently at close to $30K raised. He points out that, in addition to sponsorship received from the provincial seniors department, three more government grant applications are under way. He adds that corporate fundraising has also begun, with one outstanding result so far.
“Further success will depend on help from our members,” says Langen. “We know that our most likely donors will be medium-sized corporations with an Atlantic base, but we’re going to need the local chess community to advocate for us on the inside. We need a little help from our friends.”
Langen says the inside approach applies to all other important aspects of a major event campaign: publicity, media, institutional access, and so on.
“The organizing committee is asking its members to review the Note to Members on our website’s Support page,” says Langen. “If you know anyone connected to a potential sponsor for our event – in particular, someone who is passionate about chess and its many benefits for seniors and children, and for health and well being in general – please let us know. We will gladly follow up.”