For Immediate Release:


Robert Burkhalter
Director of Tournaments
Voice: (408) 730-4716

Crystal Ulrich
Community Giving Manager, Second Harvest Food Bank
Voice: (408) 266-8866 x241
Fax: (408) 266-9042

Media Contact for Second Harvest of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties:
Lynn Crocker
Director of Marketing and Communications
Voice: (408)266-8866 x227
Fax: (408)266-9042

Chess-For-Charity.Com Announces Joint Effort With Second Harvest Food Bank
The World’s Largest On-line Chess Tournament Targets the Hungry

Sunnyvale, California, 2007 November 17

Chess-For-Charity.Com will host large-scale chess tournaments on-line to raise money to feed the hungry in America.  “Teaming with Second Harvest will guarantee the money does what we want it to,” said Robert Burkhalter, Director of Tournaments at Chess-For-Charity.Com.  “I chose Second Harvest because of their track record and because it enables us to start feeding the hungry right here in Santa Clara County.  Naturally, if this works out, we will reach the entire country.”

The idea is to collect a small fee from each player, pay some of it to the winners of the tournament, and send the rest to Second Harvest. uses the on-line tournament engine Burkhalter built called  Current testing indicates his design will easily support tournaments of 50,000 players.  Burkhalter smiles when he says, “Nobody has done a tournament larger than 4,000 players, and we’ll probably make the Guinness Book of World Records.”  He’s quick to add this is about feeding the hungry and not about getting into Guinness.

When Burkhalter was laid off from his job as Senior Programmer Analyst at Fed Ex Freight, he told a friend he had always wanted to host chess tournaments.  He said he thought the internet would be the place.  “Seven days after that conversation I had an on-line chess program working,” says Burkhalter.  “Two months later it was working properly!”

But going from playing a game of chess to a fully automated tournament took another 18 months.  In the middle of all this he heard that 1 in 3 children in America go to bed hungry each night.  Burkhalter shakes his head, “I found that hard to believe.  I still do.”

He wanted to help so he began offering the services of his website to charities.  None seemed to be interested; so he decided to do it himself.  He purchased the domain name Chess-For-Charity.Com and decided to send the proceeds from the tournaments to some charity.  He was drawn to Second Harvest because they care about the same things he does — feeding the hungry of America.

Fund-raisers that give something back to the donor work quite well, and this promises to be spectacular in that regard.  Burkhalter describes what he hopes will become a typical scenario: “We host a tournament for 50,000 players and charge $20 each to play.  That’s $1,000,000 in entry fees.  Half goes to Second Harvest, and the rest is divided up in prizes.  Prizes this large are usually enough to attract a lot of players, not just for the prize, but for the experience of playing high caliber players in a tournament setting.“

For some it will be like a “casino night”; they make their donation and have some fun.  For others, who take chess a bit more seriously, being able to play in a large-scale tournament for a few bucks will be a greater return on their investment than traveling to a physical tournament.

In cyberspace there are no fees for travel, lodging or food, and you can play when you want to.  This can significantly reduce the cost it will take for a player to get tournament experience.  So this looks like valuable experience at a fraction of the cost for serious chess players.

The software includes a PayPal interface.  That way the software can handle their money without access to the donors’ financial information.

“We’ll be teaming up with retailers in the Bay Area to smooth any rough spots in the system.  More news about that will follow,” Burkhalter said.  “I’m excited.  We’re going to actually change the hunger situation.”

About Second Harvest — Second Harvest of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is a private non-profit organization that collects and distributes more than 31 million pounds of food each year to low income children, adults and seniors.  The Food Bank currently serves an average of 165,000 individuals each month; the majority are families with dependent children and senior citizens.  Learn more about Second Harvest

About Chess-For-Charity — Its current focus is to use the on-line large-scale chess tournament engine provided to raise several million dollars to feed the hungry in America.


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