Question: What will screen vixen Paris Hilton, R & B superstar Usher and the winner of the HB Global Chess Challenge have in common?
Answer: a Polanti luxury watch
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GM Maurice Ashley wants to make sure that the HB Global Chess Challenge is one that chess players will not easily forget. Besides the ground-breaking $500,000 prize fund and the "no draw" rules in the Open section, Ashley has announced that the famous watch maker Polanti has agreed to donate one of their luxury time pieces. This prize will go to the winner of the HB Global tournament in addition to the $50,000 first prize check.
These developments are unprecedented and Ashley states that his idea is provoke an "attitudinal shift" and to improve the moribund image plaguing the chess world at present. In sporting competition, sponsors have routinely affiliated with major championships as Rolex's association with Wimbledon attests. The $7000.00 watch is studded with 200 diamonds (4.4 carats) and the company website boasts a number of "famous faces" who sport the sleek watches.
This venture hopes to draw more attention to chess and will no doubt raise the bar in terms of standards for tournament conditions, sponsorship and organization. GM Ashley expressed excitement about the relationship with Polanti and hopes that this will be the beginning of a new era in associating chess with respected, powerful brands. He told The Chess Drum, "this is only the tip of the iceberg." Speaking of ice, the diamond-studded watches can be viewed at Polanti Watches.
Press Release (MS-Word - 1.3MB)
HB Global Chess Challenge (website)