24-hour ECF Chess Marathon Raises Estimated £10,000 For British Red Cross
Four streams in action during the British Red Cross 24-hour marathon.

24-hour ECF Chess Marathon Raises Estimated £10,000 For British Red Cross

| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

The British chess scene joined forces in a 24-hour chess marathon held over the weekend that raised an estimated £10,000 (over $12,000) for the British Red Cross. Held on, the arena tournament was won by FM Harry Grieve ahead of GM Daniel Gormally and FM David Haydon.

Charity events to support the fight against the coronavirus are happening all over the world, with occasional connections to chess. A recent example was the "Play For Russia" event for hospitals and health workers fighting the coronavirus epidemic in Russia.

Last weekend saw a wonderful gathering of the British chess scene connected to a fundraiser for the Red Cross. A 24-hour Arena tournament called "Checkmate COVID-19" was held on, with 459 players participating and several of them streaming.

Among the participants were eight grandmasters: Matthew Sadler, Michael Adams, Gawain Jones, Simon Williams, Danny Gormally, Keith Arkell, Luke McShane, and John Emms. Streamers included (with hyperlinks to their channels): IM Dagne Ciuksyte, WFM Maria Emelianova, Jones, IM Thomas Rendle, Sadler, IM Adam Taylor, Williams, ChessPitPod, and ChesspatzerUK.

A 12-hour(!) stream by chess photographer & streamer Maria Emelianova.

The tournament had games with five minutes on the clock, running from Saturday, May 23, 5 p.m. UK time till Sunday, May 24, 5 p.m. The format was an arena, meaning that players could join, leave and rejoin when they wanted, were paired as soon as possible against an available opponent, and got rewarded with bonus points when they defeated multiple opponents in a row.

According to Danny Rosenbaum, one of the organizers, an amount of approximately £10,000 was raised. "We won't know the definite amount raised for a while as some schools have had their own fundraising page, and we are not sure how much they will bring in," he clarified in an email. "That said, I think it will be around £10,000."

One source of the donations was the website Tiltify and people can still donate there. donated $500 to the British Red Cross and also donated five one-year diamond memberships as prizes. The English Chess Federation donated £300 ($366).

There were quite a few donations in different forms as well, which served as prizes. For example, Leicester City Football Club provided a signed 2019/20 shirt; Stephen Fry donated a signed book; Chess Magazine donated a year's subscription; publisher Elk and Ruby provided 20 books; and GM Daniel King donated a signed copy of his recent book about Sultan Khan and also a copy of his new DVD on the King's Gambit.  

More information and a larger list of prizes can be found here. The winners of the tournament can choose their prize in order of their standings, with only UK mailing addresses getting the physical prizes to save postage and packing costs and keep the funds for the charity.

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