Sunday , June 23 2024

National youth chess cup criticized for not giving trophy to winners

The 2023 national youth chess cup is under fire for giving no trophy or prize money to the winners, despite participants having to pay higher registration fees than last year.

When rapid and blitz chess events ended on July 16, many parents and players were surprised. The winners only received medals and there was no prize money, cups or gifts, although each player had to pay VND800,000 ($33.83) in registration fees.

The cup’s organizer Vietnam Chess Federation said they only give trophies to the winning teams in each category, not individuals.

One parent commented on social media: “My son won but I wondered why he didn’t get a trophy when this is a cup competition.”

The 2023 national youth chess cup has 1,367 participants, with four categories including standard, rapid, blitz and traditional chess, taking place in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta from July 13 to 24.

In previous years, each player had to pay VND300,000 to register for standard or traditional chess event, VND300,000 for rapid and blitz chess, which is a total of VND600,000. This year, a player had to pay VND800,000 to register even when they do not compete in standard or traditional chess.

The players compete in 20 age groups. With four varieties of chess, there will be 80 champions for all age groups. Every year, the organizers prepare nearly 100 cups and give them to individuals and teams. Each cup can cost several hundred thousand dong to VND2 million. A few years before, the organizers also awarded small cash prizes to the medal winners.

Nguyen Minh Thang, vice chairman of Vietnam Chess Federation, cited difficult financial situation and the withdrawal of sponsors as the main reasons for the lack of trophies and money.

“The previous chairman of the federation was the former deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Nguyen Dong Tien, so it was easier to attract banks to sponsor chess tournaments,” Thang said.

“After Tien retired, most of the banks withdrew and only one bank kept sponsoring jerseys for the national team.”

The national youth chess cup this year has two sponsors. The main sponsor is a pharmaceutical brand and another enterprise sponsored the cost of calculating the Elo rating for the tournament, which was about VND100 million.

Thang added that the pharmaceutical brand did not sponsor the cups for individual winners.

“This is a new sponsor and they want to see how the tournament performs first, then they can support more in the following years,” he said.

The national youth chess cup this year is also controversial for its organization. Instead of taking place in a gymnasium like usual, this year’s tournament was held in a hotel. Parents were not allowed to enter the competition room, so many had to wait for their children outside in the rain.

Thang said the hotel had many outdoor areas with a roof and chairs for parents to sit while waiting for their children. The organizers also allocated volunteers to take young players to their parents after the competition. However, there were many worried and impatient parents, so they preferred standing outside in front of the entrance to wait.

Another problem was the tight schedule. On July 14, the players competed in the first of six rapid chess games. The next day was free. On July 16, the players completed the remaining three rapid chess games and nine games of blitz, which lasted until 7 p.m.

During this time, parents were not allowed to enter the competition room, so many people were worried that their children might be hungry and thirsty. The organizers did not provide food or water for the players.

A representative of the federation explained that the detailed schedule of the tournament was announced a month in advance. However, on July 15, the hotel had another event which forced the tournament to move all matches to the next day, hence the tight schedule.

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