By Katie Hartley
The GCA does not have a fundraising committee (hint hint), but we have to do something. The price for tournament venues keeps increasing. We want to run tournaments to bring people together to play chess. Finding an affordable space to do this is our biggest challenge and a basic need. It’s not an expense that can be cut from the budget. What can be cut are prize funds, trophies, and stipends. We don’t want to do that. So, with the Board’s permission and support, I launched a fundraising campaign yesterday through GoFundMe. This is a crowd-funding site designed to help promote and raise money over the Internet for a specific cause. Amrita Kumar, our GCA Treasurer, set up a separate checking account – an empty silo to store future donations to feed hungry Georgia chess players who are willing to represent our state in National and International events. We are raising money for stipends to give to the winners of our Championship tournaments. By doing this, we take some financial pressure off our tournament budgets and attract and support our strongest players,which in turn draws more players and creates an exciting and challenging environment for everyone who comes out to play.
Last year, our neighbors’ son, Carter Peatman, a senior in high school and a long time scholastic chess player with 380+ tournaments under his belt, had a break-out year. It was thrilling to watch. A “triple crown” winner, he secured the titles of 12th Grade Georgia State Champion, Georgia Class Champion (Premier section), and Georgia’s Scholastic Invitational Champion, which earned him the nomination for the prestigious Denker Tournament of High School Champions. His rating broke 2000 (and is still climbing), which is something my husband and I really wanted for him before he graduated (and we’re not even his parents!). But it all could have stopped there. Do you see where I’m going with this? Where does a chess player go when he’s won all the local events? The Denker was not in Atlanta. It was in Phoenix and it takes money to get there, stay there, play there. I feel that the GCA, which has provided tournaments for chess players like Carter to compete, needs to also support him when he qualifies for national (or international) tournaments. This is the kid you want representing our state. He loves to play the game. My husband has overheard him tell other kids who might skip a tournament to protect their rating “just play, it’s chess, you gotta play!” Some sound advice. He inspires other kids and reminds them not to stress out over a constantly fluctuating number.
Carter is not Georgia’s only star player (Zapata, Guo, Justice, Blanco, Avirneni, Gurevich, Ghatti, and more…we’ll save them for another article). Georgia has many players who play locally and choose chess as their “thing” – they don’t take byes for a soccer game or dinner party because chess is priority. They work hard and travel to play other strong players. They make us look good. They make us proud. They inspire our community and draw more players to a tournament when they compete, which builds better tournaments in Georgia. It comes full circle because they raise the bar for other kids and adults in our community and the strength of Georgia players grows, creating more chess champions.
The giving season is upon us so please consider donating to Georgia players through our GoFundMe site. The GCA is a certified charity and you will receive a tax receipt from First Giving via email immediately following the donation. No amount is too small and every cent is appreciated.
Our goal: $8,650
Why that number?
2VP Georgia Chess
I volunteer for the GCA because I
believe in building strong minds