Our Great Idea

Projects to watch (part 1)

10 May 2020

What can chess organisations do during the pandemic? We reported FIDE’s online activities and strategy. Now we turn to the national federations: what can they do beyond organising online competitions, meetings and training?

Children can now be members of the Dutch Chess Federation without joining a club
Children can now be members of the Dutch Chess Federation without joining a club

Many national federations have acted in accordance with the emerging new practice: established online competitions, organised online coaching for their rising players and run meetings on Zoom. Some have widened the audience for meetings which used to be attended by a small circle of officials. Some have increased the training of their volunteers through webinars.

ChessTech has been looking around at federations which go a bit further. Here are half a dozen notable initiatives which are adaptable for many other federations.

Marathon charity blitz

Online chess charity events to collect donations to fight Covid-19 or help victims have been run by many organisations. The Marathon by the French Chess Federation on Lichess stands out by its impressive numbers: 2984 participants (including former world champion Anatoly Karpov) raised €10,098, played 59,335 games and made 4,029,512 moves.

Schaakmatties

Individual online membership was introduced in the Netherlands several years back. There was also a direct membership for school children which in late 2018 was relaunched by the Royal Dutch Chess Federation: Schaakmatties (which means little chess mates) combines Chesskid content and animation with online play and competitions for an annual fee of €7.50. It has acquired a 1,000 new members since March.

Online activity award for clubs

The German Chess Federation is inviting clubs to share their innovative online activities. Ten awards aggregating to € 2000 will be awarded for successful clubs. The competition runs until over the board chess is resumed. Several of the early applicants internationalised their club meeting or experimented with new training formats.

Twitch channel

US Chess started its own channel on the streaming network Twitch which is now running several dedicated programmes presented by Jennifer Shahade, Chess Life editor John Hartmann and arbiter Chris Bird.

Facebook groups

The Portuguese Chess Federation is using its Facebook page and groups to encourage clubs to run online activities and publicise them as well as to mobilise training courses. Already 400 coaches, arbiters, teachers and volunteers have joined courses run by the federation since March.

Online chess info page

The English Chess Federation has pooled all information about its online activities and those of English chess clubs onto a dedicated website.

Can you think of a project that is missing in this list? Or do you know an exemplary online project by a club, a regional federation or another kind of chess organisation? Please write to sl@chesstech.org