Victorian Chess Festival

This page will contain the 'fleshing out' of the ideas presented previously in the Chess Festival Plan page, with ideas about how a chess festival could work in practice.

Essentially the idea is based on the fact that there is so much chess, or COULD be so much chess, in Victoria from November to January.

Essentially I see that there are four distinct types of events run during this period, which are the basis for the chess festival idea

Schools events - in late October & early November the state Primary & Secondary finals are usually held, while early December sees the Australian Schools Finals.

Regional events - in early-mid November there are weekend events run at Mildura & Warrnambool, while the Victorian Country Championship is typically run sometime in the last half of the year & could be run in November, possibly after, or incorporated into, one of these events.

Metropolitan events - the Melbourne Cup Weekender would be the logical start to the festival, being held at the start of November to coincide with the Melbourne Cup horse race & associated long weekend. Other weekend events held in metropolitan Melbourne during this time include the Christmas Swiss, the Canterbury Summer Swiss & the Australia Day Weekender.

National & International events - December & January are the time when these events are typically held. The Australian Young Masters & Australasian Masters are typically held in December (although the AYM has sometimes been held in the middle of the year). January sees the Australian Open, Australian Juniors & the recently created Australian Women's Masters

There is a sense of progression & building in these events, with the state schools finals leading towards the Australian finals, the various regional events (potentially) leading towards the Country Championship, the December weekend events leading into the Australian Open, while the December Master events are a way to finish off the year, while the national events, both the Australian Open & Australian Junior are there to start the new year in chess.

The main reason why I am drawn to the idea of a festival is the fact that at present Australian chess is struggling to attract sponsors for events. In general, sponsors want exposure to a captive market if they are going to be involved in an event & at present any marketing in Australian chess is non-existent, or poorly done at best.

The ESSENTIALS for this to work, apart from the obvious things like having all the national events in Victoria, is marketing, a website & internet presence! The big advantage of the festival idea is based on the fact that you will have regular internet traffic for a period of three months, not the usual week or so that is typical for an event like the Doeberl Cup or Australian Championship.

Sponsorship is a vital element of this & a 'tiered' system of sponsorship could be set up, so that companies & people, both with big & small budgets, could be involved.
Sponsorship could include (but is not limited to) some of the following ideas (ACME used as example only):
Festival Major Sponsor (eg: ACME Victorian Chess Festival)
Particular Event Sponsor (eg: ACME Melbourne Cup Weekender)
Prize Sponsor (eg: ACME Best Junior Prize)
Internet Coverage Sponsor (eg: Live games brought to you thanks to ACME)
General Internet Sponsor (eg: ACME logo & link on website)
Major Event Board Sponsor (eg: ACME logo on board 1 of Australian Open)
Player Sponsor (eg: GM wears ACME logo patches during festival events)

Potential Schedule of Events (late 2016 - early 2017)
Monday October 17 - Victorian Secondary Schools Final
Tuesday October 18 - Victorian Girls Schools Final (Primary & Secondary)
Thursday October 20 - Thursday October 27 - Victorian Primary Schools Semi-Finals (4-8 events depending on numbers)
Friday October 28 - Tuesday November 1 - Melbourne Cup Weekender - Official Opening Event
Friday November 4 - Victorian Primary Schools Final
Saturday November 5 - Sunday November 6 - Mildura Open
Saturday November 12 - Sunday November 13 - Warrnambool Open
Saturday November 19 - Sunday November 20 - Victorian Country Championship
Saturday November 26 - Sunday November 27 - Australian Schools Finals
Saturday December 3 - Sunday December 4 - Christmas Swiss
Saturday December 10 - Sunday December 18 - Australasian Masters
Monday December 19 - Friday December 23 - Australian Young Masters
Tuesday December 27 - Friday December 30 - Canterbury Summer Swiss
Monday January 2 - Friday January 13 - Australian Open
Saturday January 14 - Sunday January 22 - Australian Junior
Monday January 23 - Tuesday January 31 - Australian Women's Masters - Official Closing Event
Thursday January 26 - Sunday January 29 - Australia Day Weekender

In between events (mostly held on weekends) you could run things like simuls, master classes, lectures, blitz tournaments, etc. This would be particularly the case in the week following the Australasian Masters, if there are foreign players who are playing in multiple events around this time. This could also be a way to involve clubs in this, as in many cases they would still have regular club events going on, particularly at the beginning of the festival.  It could also be useful during the larger events, like the Australian Open & the Australian Juniors, to get more people involved rather than just those playing in the 'main event'.
In addition, by incorporating schools events into the program, there is the potential for kids to transition from school chess to club chess, as there is a focus on the various events during the festival.

What do you think of the idea?
Comments are most welcome!

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