Dating back to the 17th century, some of the brightest minds have been challenged by competing in the game of chess. As the nation gathers to honour Canada 150 over the summer months, Sault Ste. Marie will be hosting up to 1,000 visitors for a pair of international competitions involving one of the oldest games in the country’s history.
Taking place July 6 to 10, the 2017 Canadian Youth Chess Championship will see children from across the country compete for the title of national champion and the right to represent Canada at the World Youth Chess Championship later this year. From July 8 to 16, Sault Ste. Marie is also hosting the 2017 Canadian Open Chess Championship, which is set to draw players of all levels from across Canada and around the globe. With both events taking place at Sault College, the combined tournaments will bring participants, officials and supporters together for eleven days of chess matches, learning opportunities, demonstrations and guest lectures from some of the world’s top players.
Aryan Chopra, a 15-year-old player from Delhi, India, is currently one of the youngest chess Grandmasters in the world. He joins an elite lineup of players slated to compete in the Canadian Open Chess Championship and has been named to the World’s Best Under-17 team completing afterwards in the United States. Top players from more than 18 different countries, including Russia, Iceland, China, Ukraine, Scotland, Uganda and Egypt, have already pre-registered and obtained visas to come to Sault Ste. Marie in July.
“The bar is being set high,” said Roman Peredun, who’s co-chairing the two chess championships with his son, Andrew. “We have experienced many of these competitions over the years and are drawing on that expertise to bring the event to a new level. We’ve put together an exciting schedule filled with competition, guest lectures and socials. I’m confident the players will have an unforgettable experience.”
With players having only one or two matches per day, there is ample time for them to see and explore Sault Ste. Marie. In total, the chess tournaments are expected to generate more than 5,000 visitor days and up to $1 million in direct visitor spending for the local economy. This is precisely why Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with organizers on securing the events for the community.
“This is an incredible opportunity to showcase our city and all it has to offer for visitors from across the globe,” said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “During their stay here, players and parents have been invited to take in some of the area’s unique attractions, including the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, and this activity should generate goodwill and promotional benefits for years to come.”