FC Bayern Schach Kids & Friends

More than 500 children attend UN World Children's Day event

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529 children from 10 countries and 4 continents took part in an international chess event on today's UN World Children's Day. These are just some of the key figures of the event organised by the chess department of FC Bayern Munich in cooperation with all participarings clubs, schools and chess organisations. The event was dedicated to the UN World Children's Day, on which the United Nations draw the world's attention to the rights of children.

Following the successful "Reds against Racism" event in March, which received excellent feedback from all participants, the organizers were looking for another opportunity to enable international contacts between children from different countries and cultures. Choosing the UN World Children's Day was an easy decision, as there is no better fit with the general intention of all organizing parties to support children.

6 of the 10 teams who participated in the "Reds against Racism" event in March, attended again today. Together with the 8 teams, which took part as "newcomers" this time, an extremely colourful event was guaranteed. Obviously, organising an event involving participants from 4 continents presents some organisational challenges. In particular, the 13 hour time difference between Singapore and New York caused some children to have an extremely early start and others to stay awake very late in the evening. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm and excitement clearly compensated for this.

As part of the one-hour pre-tournament programme, all teams took the opprotunity to introduce themselves. While some presented videos or photos, others talked about their orgaisations or used their websites to highlight their respective activities. This provided for a truely multicultural athmosphere in the vidoo conference, which was not only used for the pre-tournament programme, but remained open as a communication platform throughout the two tournaments that followed. 

At exactly 13:00 CET the lichess.org arena team battle kicked off. In total, the 529 participating children played an amazing 1.788 games in only 60 minutes! Most successful in the team battle was the "Team Armenia", which primarily consisted of students of the primary school #67 in Yerevan. The kids from the country in the Caucasus, in which chess is a "national passion", quickly took a commanding lead and went on to win by a huge margin. By contrast, the race for the following places was extremely close. Eventually, the Overseas Family School Singapore and the team of the Programa Municipal de Ajedrez Rosario from Argentinia, which both had more than 100 children attending, ended up in second and third place. A great performance also from "She-plays-to-win", a very special team from the United Kingdom which consists of girls only. Following a slower start they came from behind to finish in fourth place just ahead of the Juniors of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were joining the event from Sarajevo. 

For all children who just wanted to continue playing after the main team event, there was an additional individual tournament offered. As a special highlight, a few top players were invited to this tournament and commented on their games while playing. First in line was Niclas Huschenbeth, who is the No. 1 in FC Bayern's chess Bundesliga team and one of the strongest Grand Masters in Germany. He was followed by Spartak Grigorian and Olaf Steffens, an International Master and FIDE Master from Werder Bremen's Bundesliga team, which had also offerd to play "live" with the children. With 241 players, the individual tournament, which was also won by a participant from Armenia, was much more than just a side event!

But very importantly, not only the top teams and players of the two tournaments count as winners of the day. All teams and players not only scored very well on the chess board, there are other significant achievements that go beyond the results of the cometitions. Who of us, for example, would have known anything about the initiative "Ajedrez para la Convivencia" in Uruguay prior to our event? And who would have known there is a Masipathisane Primary School in South Africa, where children play chess? Hardly anyone in Europe, one would assume. However, this has changed today, as all participants are now on our maps! To know something about each other clearly is a prerequisite to understand each other and start friendships. And in this respect all teams and players have scored magificantly well today!

So what comes next? The two international online events this year have clearly demonstrated that there is a huge potential to support children worldwide by organising this type of educational and fun event. Obviously, all organizing parties intend to use the momentum gained this year to further intensify their international relationships for the benefit of the children. There is no doubt that next year there will be again a "Reds agains Racism" event and a UN World Children's Day event. In fact, the planning has already begun. The date for the "Reds against Racism" event is alreay fix: Saturday, the 19th of March, 2022. Certainly a day, to which we can already look forward to!  (Wengler)   

Links to tournament pages on lichess.org:

List of participants from 20th of November 2021, including links to homepages: