The Vietnam Chess Federation (VCF) on Thursday inked four-year sponsorship contracts worth US$200,000 with the country's two best chess players, Le Quang Liem and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son.
The 20-year-old Liem, ranked 28th in the world, will receive $150,000 and 21-year-old Son, ranked 83rd, will get the remaining $50,000.
The contract will take effect on the first of January, 2012. Liem will receive $30,000 in the first year, $35,000 in the second and $40,000 and $45,000 in the third and fourth years.
Son will be given $10,000 in the first year, followed by $12,000, $13,000 and $15,000 in succeeding years.
The contracts allow the two GMs to make their own decisions and use the money as they see fit to employ experts, buy supportive software programs and improve their performances at competitions to promote the image of Vietnamese chess.
The two GMs must inform VCF if they want to sign contracts with any other sponsor. After each year, the two GMs will meet with VCF to sign appendices to the contracts under which the sponsorship money can increase based on their performances.
After signing the contracts, Liem and Son expressed their happiness. The support would encourage them to make greater efforts to reach greater heights, with the coming South East Asian Games in Indonesia being their first attempt after the sponsorship deal, they said.
"I will spend the money for competing at international, open and invitational events. Playing at more competitions will take me to new heights," said Liem.
Son echoed Liem, saying: "I have my own way of training and practicing. I will spend the money on tours to compete at different events."
Explaining the difference in the amounts for Liem and Son, VCF general secretary Luong Trong Minh said, "It's because Liem is among the world top 30 players, which requires a lot more investment than Son."
Minh said the amounts can change after each year if Son manages to rise in the world chess federation rankings.
He said VCF would continue to call for more financial help to provide greater support to other chess players, with priority given to young players, female players and international GMs.
VCF hopes that such sponsorships will be a strong driving force for young players to follow Liem's and Son's examples, paving the way for more chess talents from the country to be featured on the international stage, he said.
GMs Liem and Son will accompany the country's chess team to the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia. Chess matches at the Games will take place in the Indonesian city of Palembang from November 12 till 21.