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Chess For Freedom: Online Conference, Tournament On Tuesday
Photo courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Office.

Chess For Freedom: Online Conference, Tournament On Tuesday

PeterDoggers
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57 | Chess Event Coverage

The first Chess for Freedom program, aimed at the introduction of chess as a tool for education and social inclusion in prisons, takes place May 11, 2021. The project is co-organized by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (Chicago) and held under the patronage of the 12th world chess champion, GM Anatoly Karpov.

The project kicks off on May 11 with an online conference and an online exhibition tournament with four participating countries: Armenia, Russia, Spain, and the U.S. The tournament will be held on Chess.com and broadcast live on the FIDE YouTube channel.

Besides Karpov, guests at the conference will include FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and GM Darcy Lima of Brazil. More information can be found here.

How to watch?
You can follow the Chess for Freedom tournament on our event page on Chess.com/events. The tournament starts at 6:30 a.m. Pacific / 15:30 CEST.

The main event of the Chess for Freedom program will take place on October 13-14, 2021 with the first Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners 2021. This event will be a continuation of the international championship first held in 2019. FIDE expects this to be a global event with dozens of teams from all continents participating. This particular tournament is held in conjunction with the International Day of Education in Prison on May 13.

The link between the project and Karpov is an old one. The legendary Russian grandmaster has given simuls in prisons many times during his career. For instance, in 2016 he visited a detention center in the Tyumen region where he faced 24 inmates.

"If a person got acquainted with chess, this will teach him to think outside the box," Karpov said back then. "They develop logic and memory, and it helps their perseverance and discipline."

The project originally started in 2012. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart approached Mikhail Korenman, a well-known chess personality. Korenman had founded the Karpov School of Chess in Lindsborg, Kansas, and initiated the internationally acclaimed "Chess for Peace" program. He and Dart started a "chess in jail" program and just a year later, about 600 inmates had already taken part.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart
Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart: "The participants are excited, and this is the most rewarding program we've ever had. This is something positive for the detainees to do and studies show it has a positive impact on people's lives." Photo courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Office.

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