Reds against Racism

363 children play "Reds against Racism" tournament

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Click on this link for a German version of this report.

The first ever „Reds against Racism“ tournament organized by the FC Bayern turned out to be a great fun for all teams invited to participate. Scheduled on the 21st of March, which was this year’s „International Day against Racism“, the tournament was intended to highlight the club’s firm position against racism and violence in our society. Ten teams from seven countries and a total of 363 children gathered on to play a friendly team competition.

Apart from giving children the chance to play online games with kids from around the world, it was a particular focus of the organizers and participating clubs and schools to enable an international exchange among the children and create an international atmosphere. To serve this purpose, a video conference was set up, which opened one hour before the tournament started. Numerous children as well as their parents and chess teachers used this opportunity and enjoyed a colorful pre-tournament program with contributions from various sides. A particularly memorable highlight was the strong video massage against racism presented by the Singapore team. It was titled „Checkmate to Racism“ and featured a number of students and teachers from the Overseas Family School in Singapore.

At exactly 10:00 CET the team tournament, which was played in the popular „arena“ format, kicked off. Within the 60 minutes of playing time, the chess enthusiastic kids managed to complete an amazing 1.354 games with a total of almost 77.000 moves played. Eventually „Die Schulschachprofis“ from Switzerland emerged on top, followed by the Austrian based team „Dornbirner Schachjugend“ and the „Overseas Family School" from Singapore, which had an astonishing 120+ kids on board. But not only the top three teams scored very well. In fact, all ten teams achieved significant results, providing for a lot of excitement throughout the tournament (final standing: see tournament page).

The tournament also featured a special guest with a combined football and chess background. Marco Bode from SV Werder Bremen, who was one of Germany's most successful football players in the 1990s and 2000s, winning the European Championships in 1996 and reaching the World Cup final in 2002 with Germany's national team, as well as winning numerous national titles with his club, joined the video conference for more than one hour. Already during his time as a professional football player, Marco Bode was know to be a strong chess player as well. He is the driving force behind Bremens most successful school chess project „Schach macht schlau“ (chess makes smart), from which countless children have benefited over the years. And „countless“ is by no means an overstatement, given the fact that chess playing children managed to fill up Bremen’s historic market square in an open air tournament with more 1.000 children.

Following the team competition, there was an additional individual tournament organized by the Suffolk Junior Chess team, which was intended for all children who just wanted to continue playing. Adding to the excitement of the day, Marco Bode joined this tournament and played a couple of games with the kids. What a great conclusion to a wonderful chess morning in Europe and chess afternoon in Singapore!

Many thanks to all teams and their managers and trainers for the perfect cooperation leading up to the event, and, of course, to all participating children for making this tournament such an extraordinary experience. Apart from the teams from Switzerland, Austria, Singapore and England mentioned above, our special thanks go to the two Swedish teams, which are Malmö based Limhamns SK and Wasa SK from Stockholm, to Orcher La Tour joining from the coastal area around Le Havre in France, and of course to Hamburger SK and SV Werder Bremen, who have already been engaged for quite some time with FC Bayern Munich in order to support young players. And no doubt: This will not have been the last tournament of its kind. There is definitely more to come. And that's a promise. (Wengler)

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