Congress Prizes

Congress Prizes

Not sure who, if anyone, will be reading this the first post on the Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress blog. You’ll find me posting here occasional oddments relating to our event, and perhaps sometimes things related to chess events more generally.

A question to begin with: to what extent does prize money available for a tournament make you more likely to enter? Winning a large prize would no doubt be a boon, but with the prize winners being a small proportion of the entrants overall, I’m wondering whether it would make sense for us to organise things differently. We could offer no prizes and massively reduce the entrance fee, or lessen our reliance on sponsors. Or we could use the saving to invest and improve the tournament conditions.

What do you think? Our current prize schedule can be found here. You’ll see that in addition to the monetary prizes we are also (at the time of writing) offering membership prizes. There is also a handsome trophy for the best local junior. How would you like prizes to be organised? What’s most motivating? And are there other things you’d prefer we spend the money on? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

On a side note, I have occasionally wondered about some amusing prizes I could add to our schedule, and to explain them I will need to take a rather circuitous route.

As some of you may know, in spring 2018 we added a small dog to our family. I’m still rather surprised that my wife and daughter went with my name suggestion: Magnus. Anyone else got chess “themed” pets? One of my chess club colleagues said it was quite wrong to call our dog Magnus, as Magnus is supposed to be the G.O.A.T. and not a dog, but anyway …

Having easy access to this Magnus give me the chance to offer some great/weird sounding prizes:

  • Play a game with Magnus
  • Thirty minutes 1-to-1 with Magnus
  • A lick from Magnus
  • Rub Magnus’ tummy
Steve Lovell

Steve has been the organiser of the Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress since the 2015 event. He also helps run the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club and is Internet Officer for the Bury Area Chess League. Outside of chess, if there is such a thing, Steve works in IT at Greene King.


Dan Hardman Posted on10:23 pm - 28 August 2019

First of all. This is one the best chess tournaments I’ve played. Well organised and really friendly team.

Personally, prize money doesn’t make a difference to me. I do find the entry fee a bit pricey, and I know that’s what some of my fellow club players dont enter. Despite me offering to drive.

I’d consider lowering prize money for a lower entrance fee To attract a sell out crowd. Nevertheless, one of the best tournaments in the area. Shame it’s only once a year!

    Charles Richmond Posted on8:16 am - 30 August 2019

    The old argument was that the prizes attracted the best players in the area. This in turn gave the tournament more exposure and recognition. Personally as I have yet to get in the top three of a section my reason for entering is that it is local and extremely well organised.

    Whether I enter or not depends on conflicting items in my diary /life. If it materially affects numbers token prizes only should be considered

Steve Emmerton Posted on9:22 am - 17 September 2019

I have only played here once – the year before last – and I was very impressed with the organisation and all round friendliness of the Congress. I travel from Staffordshire and, given current fuel prices, this is not cheap. I’m fortunate to have friends in Mildenhall and family in Cambridge so accommodation is not a problem. I do not play with any expectation of a cash prize so my personal opinion would be to lower both the entry fee and prize money – if not in the Open then certainly in the other Sections. I think that the Open should stay as it is in order to attract high quality entries.

Andy Waters Posted on2:02 pm - 17 September 2019

I select congresses by the attractiveness of the location, the ease of travel, the availability of accommodation and the quality of the event, prize money is not a factor. Bury St Edmunds scores extremely highly on this criteria. I’d be happy to play for no prize money but to be replaced by a trophy for the winner of each section. A large monetary first prize will attract Masters to the Open section however.

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