For eleven days in July 2017, Sault Ste. Marie and Sault College will be home to the nation’s premier chess tournaments. The Canadian Youth Chess Championship will bring children from across the country to compete for the title of national champion and the right to represent Canada at the World Youth Chess Championship. Immediately following the youth tournament, the Canadian Open Chess Championship is expected to draw players of all levels from across Canada and around the world.
Tournament bids for Sault Ste. Marie were submitted by Andrew and Roman Peredun, in collaboration with Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, and approved by the Chess Federation of Canada. Andrew, originally from Sault Ste. Marie, is a former Canadian Scholastic Chess Champion and current chess Master. For the past five years, he has coached the Canadian Team at the World Youth Chess Championship.
“Sault College is an ideal location for a major tournament,” said Andrew. “We have access to large playing, analysis and lecture rooms, and the college itself is within walking distance of many hotels and restaurants. Also, Sault Ste. Marie’s location on the U.S. border will help us attract players from across North America.”
Along with chess matches, the 11-day event will feature learning opportunities, demonstrations and guest lectures from some of the world’s best players. “In addition to growing the interest in chess locally, the ultimate goal is to put on a spectacular Canadian Championship, setting the stage for a yearly major tournament,” said Roman, a Sault resident who is co-chairing the tournaments with his son. “We’d like to give all chess players the chance to discover Sault Ste. Marie as an inviting and welcoming community.”
With close to 1,000 participants, officials and supporters expected to attend, the events are projected to inject more than $1 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy, along with millions more in indirect economic activity. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie works with local organizations on attracting and securing major events. The 2017 Canadian Youth Chess Championship and 2017 Canadian Open Chess Championship are prime examples.
“The economic impact of these national and international chess tournaments is significant,” said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. “Each player will compete in only one or two matches per day, giving participants and their family members plenty of time to tour the community, check out our attractions, and visit restaurants and stores. The direct spending into our local economy will be considerable. Also, the chess tournaments will coincide with Canada’s 150 anniversary, making 2017 an especially special year to host the events in Sault Ste. Marie.”
Registration for both events is expected to open in early 2016. For more information on the Chess Federation of Canada, visit www.chess.ca. Also online: www.sault-tourism.com and www.saultcollege.ca.