The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many important spheres of chess life - and the one that suffered most is open tournaments. Most of these events have been canceled during 2020, and FIDE's concern is that if this situation does not improve soon, many of them might never be able to make a comeback.
FIDE acknowledges the importance of supporting OTB events during this crisis and recognizes the crucial role that open tournaments play. We believe that, by helping them, we would be indirectly supporting many other segments of the chess community, including young players, professionals, and even beginners.
In view of this, FIDE has approved the following initiative from the Global Strategy Commission (GSC):
1. To allocate an amount of € 100,000 to support the holding of open tournaments in 2021.
2. To assign the distribution of the specified amount to the President, on the basis of a list proposed by GSC. This list will be elaborated taking into account the application of the following criteria:
a) Priority is given to traditional open tournaments that have taken place for at least three consecutive years.
b) A geographical criterion is applied to maximize the countries and regions that will receive support.
c) The recipient of assistance must present the tournament budget with a detailed breakdown, including reasonable prizes for women, veterans, and youth.
d) The tournament will establish the lower fees (or absence of fees) for the agreed categories of participants (veterans, youth, women, representatives of developing countries), to ensure that FIDE sponsors can be reasonably represented at the tournament.
The aid package allocated for one tournament should not exceed 20% of the total budget of the tournament (including all costs) and will be limited to a maximum of €15,000 per event.
"Open tournaments represent a very important integral part of the entire chess community eco-system. It helps young players to grow, it provides bread - and sometimes butter - for hundreds of 2500-2700 players, and it represents a very important part of professional life for women players 2300-2500", explained Emil Sutovsky, on behalf of the GSC. "It also helps local chess clubs and communities, and it is oftentimes an important link between chess and city hall or region. We must do our utmost to preserve it - as there is a real danger for many of the events. And we shall act quickly - as organizers are about to decide if they are going to stage their event this spring/summer."
With the good sponsorship prospects, particularly in connection with the upcoming World Championship match, the Global Strategy Commission is hopeful that this support fund might be increased in the near future. This possibility would be a joint decision of the President and the FIDE Treasurer.
More detailed regulations will be published at the end of January. In the meantime, organizers of chess opens are invited to submit their inquires to GSC: firstname.lastname@example.org