FC Bayern Junior Chess

300 children participate in international „Reds against Racism“ online event

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With approximately 300 children worldwide, FC Bayern Munich's international "Reds against Racism" online event once again enjoyed an outstanding participation. Apart from the two tournaments, which were played on the lichess.org platform, a-pre-tournament programme was organised as a video conference, allowing the moderators to introduce the participating teams and highligh the main theme of the event, which was the fight against racism in our society.

The presedent of the FC Bayern Munich, Herbert Hainer, placed a paricular emphasis in his video message on the club's intention to actively support this important notion. The world would only have a future, if we all work together to break down borders for a more tolerant society. "Sport unites and promotes dialog", Mr. Hainer said. The online event organised by FC Bayern's chess department is a ferfect example for this. His club takes a clear position against discrimination of any kind.

Dana Reizniece-Ozola, who served as Minister of Economics (2014–2016) and Minister of Finance (2016–2019) of the Republic of Latvia, participated live in the event, dialing in from New Zealand. She is also a well-known individual in the world of chess, not only as a holder of the Woman Grandmaster title, but also in der functions as Deputy Chair of the FIDE Management Board und Deputy President of the European Chess Union (ECU). She used the opprtunity to introduce the attending children and parents to the variety of FIDE initiatives designed to support international understanding and social purposes. Ms. Reizniece-Ozola pointed out that this in not limited to specific topics. Chess has the potential to promote positive developments in many areas of our society.

Another extremely prominent member of the chess world is, of course, the former world champion Viswanathan Anand, who addressed the audience in a video message recorded for this event. He talked about his experience from a very young age, realising that despite all cultural differences and language barriers, we are "one family on this planet". Sports in general is a useful instrument to unite people, the five times world champion continued. Particularly chess, because it can so easily be played internationally. He finally congratulated all schools and organisations, which have implemented chess as part of their education programmes, as this would be of great benefit to all children.

As part of the pre-tournament programme the moderators of the event, Dijana Dengler and Jörg Wengler, introduced the 13 teams from 10 countries, who participated in this year's event: 

The one-hour Arena team battle offered a lot of excitement for the children and spectators in the video conference. Quickly after te tournament had commenced, players from all teams started to add points to thier respective team scores. Among all teams the youngsters from East England (Essex, Suffolk und Cambridgeshire) had the best start and went on to take a commanding lead around half-time. But the tournament was not over yet. Towards the end of the tournament the team from the Overseas Family School in Singapore made a strong push to close the gap and almost suceeded, but eventually the East Anglian Junior Chess team secured their first "Reds against Racism" tournament win. The third place went to the "Active Kids" from The Chess Academy in Hongkong, who participated for the first time in this event.

However, the main objective today was that all children had a lot of fun playing with each other and being part of the online event. And this was quite visibly the case, as all participants had the opprtunity to listen to the live commentary provided in the video conference. The organisers could not have found a better person to do this than Grandmaster Kevin Goh from Singapore, who commented on the most intersting games in an informative and lively way. He made absolutely sure that there was no boredom in the auditorium!

For those children who liked to continue playing after the team event, another highlight was waiting. In an individual blitz tournament, which was also organised as a 60 minute arena tournament on lichess.org, the kids had the opprtunity to play with some top level players from FC Bayern Munich's chess Bundesliga teams. This time two Grandmasters, Àlvar Alonso Rosell and Michael Bezold as well as one International Master, Andreas Schenk, played in the tournament and commented live on their games while playing. And they got some strong competiion indeed! Certainly a memorable experience for all children who saw them playing and played againd them!

No doubt that the international online event dedicated to the "Reds agains Racism" initiative has already become a traditional event that children look forward to. The multicultural nature of the event sets a clear and visible sign for tolerance and international cooperation an enables the strenghtening of an international network, which the chess department of FC Bayern Munich will contine to use in an effort to support children through chess. And that is certainly true for all participating schools, chess clubs and chess organisations. (Wengler)

Title photo:
Live coverage of the internation onlie event on the Zoom platform. (Source: Dijana Dengler)

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