Welcome to the FIDE newsletter

Welcome to the new FIDE Newsletter. On this issue, make a brief recap on the Checkmate Coronavirus initiative. You will find information about some upcoming seminars by the Trainers and the Arbiters Commission, and we also invite you to provide your feedback on the recently published Arbiter's Manual. The announcement of a new "Earth VS Space" match, and a brief article about some national championships records complete our newsletter #7.



Checkmate Coronavirus enters its final week

The Checkmate Coronavirus campaign reached this morning the 500 hours milestone. Over the past three weeks, 1.779 tournaments have been played under this initiative, totaling 377.329 entries and 1.247.516 games of chess. We are very proud, and thankful, for the response of the chess community to this project. Acting together, in a coordinated campaign, allowed us to show the world the real potential of chess.

This has not passed unnoticed by the mass media: ForbesWall Street Journal, New York TimesXinhua News Agency, and El Pais, have also published long reports about chess.

Remember that all participants are eligible to win a prize, no matter what their result was. You can check if you are one of the lucky winners at www.checkmatecoronavirus.com.

Input request on the Arbiters' Manual

"Dear chess friends,

The FIDE Arbiters’ Commission represents one of the most numerous communities in the FIDE family, counting over 14,000 licensed arbiters, and plays an essential role in the development of chess all over the world.

In addition to the organization of seminars and workshops and to the regular publication on its website of guidelines and new content for all chess arbiters, an important achievement of the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission is represented by the Arbiters' Manual. This document was created several years ago in the belief that it was important to have policies and procedures which could be easily accessible and of great assistance to the arbiters, the National Chess Federations, the players, and everyone who is involved in the organization of chess tournaments.

The Arbiters' Manual has now been updated, and the readers will find in this book the new regulations and all necessary documents for chess arbiters to be guided in their daily activities by a team of the most experienced experts in this field. I sincerely hope that this book will be an essential tool for the training of future arbiters and will contribute to increasing the number of qualified professional chess arbiters in the world and to further enrich their skills in order to allow them to exercise their duties in the best possible way.

I am proud to express my deepest gratitude to the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission and to everyone who contributed to the creation of this new issue of the Arbiters' Manual."

FIDE President,
Arkady Dvorkovich

The FIDE Arbiters' manual is a key working tool for chess arbiters. In order to improve it, the Arbiters' Commission would like to invite arbiters, players, Federations, organizers, and other FIDE Commission members to send us their comments and proposals. Please provide your input on the manual to IA Shohreh Bayat, Councilor of the FIDE Arbiters' Commission, using the online survey below:
FIDE Arbiters' Manual survey
Alternatively, you may send your proposals to IA Nebojsa Baralic, Secretary of the FIDE the Arbiters' Commission (secretary.arbiters@fide.com) who will pass on to the team.

The deadline to submit proposals is July 8, 2020.
The webinar "Specifics of chess arbiter’s work in online tournaments" was organized by the Chess Federation of Russia.

FIDE Trainer and Arbiter's seminars

The Trainers Commission has just announced the first seminar for Russian speakers, which will be held online on June 26-28. With Artur Yusupov, Alexander Motylev, and Victor Bologan, the seminar will touch on a wide array of topics: from opening preparation to endgame study, but also "how to teach chess tactics" and "learning from the Classics". You can find complete information on our website.

The Arbiters Commission has also announced two new workshops, which will be offered free of charge: the first one (June 10, co-organized with ECU) will be dedicated to educating arbiters on best practices to fulfill their role in the new context of online competitions. The second one (June 18) will provide some guidelines to arbiters in the process of title applications, with the aim of helping arbiters and federations to have their title applications approved timely and smoothly. We would appreciate it if you could forward this announcement to all the arbiters in your respective federations.

FIDE and ECU Workshop for arbiters in Online Chess
Schedule: 10.06.2020 [Wednesday], 18:00 - 20:00 CEST
Lecturers: IA Laurent Freyd, Chairman of the FIDE Arbiters' Commission, and IA Tomasz Delega, Chairman of the ECU Arbiters' Council

- What's the role of the arbiter in online tournaments.
- How to prepare for different kinds of online tournament formats.
- How to deal with the challenges that an arbiter may face online.
- What are the useful processes and tools for arbiters online.
- How to implement fair-play measures and tools.

FIDE Workshop for Federations on arbiters' title applications
Schedule: 18.06.2020 [Thursday], 15:00 - 17:00 CEST
Lecturers: IA Laurent Freyd, Chairman of the FIDE Arbiters' Commission, IA Nebojsa Baralic, Secretary of the FIDE Arbiters' Commission, and IA Jirina Prokopova, Member of the FIDE Arbiters' commission in charge of titles.

- How to fill in and validate an arbiter's norm
- How to select norms for a valid application
- How to check data related to an application.

With all the chess activity being conducted online, the need for the arbiters to adapt to the new circumstances has been a pressing matter. An online training seminar (Webinar) for FIDE Arbiters, International Arbiters, and online tournament organizers was held by the Chess Federation of Russia on June 05, 2020. Titled “Specifics of chess arbiter’s work in online tournaments”, this webinar in the Russian language became the largest chess training event organized during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Webinar organizers registered 203 participants from nineteen (19) national federations: Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Estonia, France, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. “I think it is a great effort by the organizing team and I hope that even in these difficult times, all arbiters, organizers, and players, everyone who is online now, can enjoy chess and show their best qualities”, stated the FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, who addressed the participants before the start of the workshop.

Chess is back in orbit!

A couple of months ago, with the occasion of the "International Day of Human Space Flight" celebrated on April 12, we published on our website an article summarizing the history of chess in the space. Chess was one of the very first human leisure activities brought to space by the cosmonauts, demonstrating one more time that strategy games are intrinsic to humankind. As we wrote in a previous newsletter, games like chess are part of our culture, and one of the oldest forms of human social interaction.

A new chapter of the "chess in space" history is about to unfold, as Sergey Karjakin will play tomorrow against two of the ROSCOSMOS astronauts currently aboard of the International Space Station: Anatoly Ivanishin (Hero of the Russian Federation) and Ivan Wagner. The match is organized to celebrate the half-century anniversary of the first Space – Earth chess game played on June 9, 1970.

Sergey Karjakin will be playing from the main hall of the Museum of Cosmonautics, one of the top touristic attractions in Moscow and probably the largest scientific and technical museum in Russia. Founded in 1964, the museum contains now almost 100.000 items from the space exploration era.

The event, co-organized by the Chess Federation of Russia, the Russian State Corporation ROSCOSMOS, and the Museum of Cosmonautics, will be broadcast live with English and Russian commentary.

Tuesday, June 9
11:00 CEST


Dominican GM Ramon Mateo, at the peak of his career.

National championships records

Last week, a spontaneous debate sparked on social media: Ramon Mateo, the only GM from the Dominican Republic, posted on his Facebook account that he won the National Championship in 1979, and then again in 2010. With a total of eight national titles under his belt, there is an impressive 31-year gap between his first and last victory. "Is this a world record of some kind?", he wondered.

While very praiseworthy, Ramon's achievement is not a record. To begin with, the World Champion Max Euwe also dominated the chess scene in his country for more than three decades: he won every Dutch championship that he contested from 1921 until 1952, and additionally clinched the title again in 1955. That's twelve victories in total, over a span of 34 years.

In 2013, Roddy McKay won the 120th edition of the Scottish Championship when he was 62 years old, 39 years after first winning his first title (shared with Eric Holt) in 1974. What makes this result very remarkable is the fact that his previous victory had been 25 years before, in 1988, so Roddy's victory can be seen as a huge comeback, in a country that is home to several Grandmasters.

However, to find the current holder of the world record for the longest time span between a first and latest title in the national championship of a certain country, we have to go to Oceania. Last January, the International Master Paul Anthony Garbett (Auckland, 1952) shared first place in the New Zealand Open Championship, held in Tauranga. Paul's 7th title (out of 27 participations) comes a whopping 46 years after his first victory in 1973/74. For 19 years, between 1996 and 2015, victory scaped him, but now he seems to be experiencing a second youth, achieving two more titles when he is already in his sixties. Paul might even be able to catch Anthony F Ker and Ortvin Sarapu, who won the NZ Championship a total of 14 and 20 times respectively.

Rani Hamid, at the Batumi Ches Olympiad. PHOTO: David Llada
Among the ladies, Rani Hamid of Bangladesh seems to be the record holder. She won her 19th National Women's Chess Championship in 2018, thus qualifying for the Batumi Chess Olympiad at 74 years old. She had won the title for the first time 39 years before, in 1979, barely one year after learning how to play at age 34. Rani seems to have instilled some of this competitive spirit on her offspring: one of her sons, Sohel Hamid, was a national squash champion, and the other, Kaiser Hamid, was a professional football player and the captain of the Bangladesh Football Team during the 1980s and 1990s.

Whenever we talk about competitive longevity in chess, it is almost impossible not to mention Viktor Korchnoi. The fact that Viktor changed countries at the peak of his career explains that he is not listed above, among those whose victories in a certain national championship spanned over three or four decades. However, Korchnoi could boast a record of his own: between his first victory at the USSR Championship in 1960, and his last victory at the Swiss Championship in 2011, there is more than half a century. Different countries, different eras, but the same winner.
Liudmila Belavenets. PHOTO: Anna Burtasova.

Yesterday, Liudmila Belavenets celebrated her 80th birthday. Daughter of the Soviet chess master Sergey Belavenets, who fell on the battlefield in 1942, Liudmila was a very strong player, winning the Women's Soviet Chess Championship in 1975 and obtaining the Woman International Master in 1977. She achieved the highest results in correspondence chess, too: in 1990 she became the Women's World Champion in this discipline. However, she won the hearts of many generations of young chess players as one of the most famous Moscow coaches. In 1973 she started to work in the "Young pioneers" center, but is most known for her work in the "Spartak" chess club named after Petrosian. She was the first coach of several top GMs, the likes of Alexander Morozevich, Alexey Vyzmanavin, and Andrei Sokolov. In 2010, Belavenets was awarded the title of FIDE Senior Trainer. She is still very active, and always surrounded by a new generation of young players.

The next days we will also celebrate the anniversaries of some great players who are no longer among us, like Isaac Boleslavsky (June 8), Alexander Zaitsev (June 15), Tigran Petrosian (June 17), Gyula Sax (June 18), and Vladimir Simagin (June 21).

Among the young ones, Alireza Firouzja, one of the brightest chess stars, will turn 17 years old in just a few days, on June 18. As they say, time waits for no man! 
Alireza Firouzja is about to celebrate his 17th birthday. PHOTO: David Llada
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