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Friday, 11 Jun 2021 20:05
Queens’ Festival gets underway

The Queens’ Festival project kicked off on June 11 with an online ceremony featuring FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE Managing Director Dana Reizniece-Ozola, FIDE Vice President Lukasz Turlej and other speakers.

The ceremony and the first seminar of the project were broadcast live on the FIDE YouTube channel.

In his introductory speech FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich shared his support of the initiative:

“My warm greetings on behalf of FIDE to all the participants and organizers of “The Queens’ Festival”. For us, it’s a special event. As you probably know, we announced 2022 - the year of women's chess. It doesn’t mean that we will only pay attention to this very important trend for one year. We started doing big things already quite some time ago.  We increased prizes in women’s tournaments, included more women in chess management, and we’ve just completed the Women’s Grand-Prix Series which was really important for us. Hopefully, this festival, seminars, important speeches and contributions, and, of course, chess events will create a positive image of women in chess for the months to come. It is crucial for us to continue this trend in a long-term perspective on a sustainable basis. We are happy that the International Olympic Committee supported us in this endeavour and contributed to the organization of this event. Please consider me my colleagues as your supporters.”

FIDE Managing Director Dana Reizniece-Ozola shared her experience how to balance playing chess and making a career with family responsibilities:

“Whenever somebody tells you that you have to choose either to have a family or to have your hobbies and career, don’t believe. You can have it all! I am one of the examples. Today I celebrate the 18th birthday of my eldest daughter, and I have four kids in total. At the same time I’ve managed to play chess, next week I am heading to another chess tournament. And I am also one of those ladies in the management of FIDE. Sometimes we feel we’re living in the men’s world and we do have kind of a “glass ceiling”. In these cases just remember that you have to explode like a supernova, to expand the borders of your universe and break the glass ceilings”.

FIDE Events Commission chairman, co-organizer of the event Ozgur Solakoglu underlined that the chess tournaments held as a part of the Festival welcome female participants of all ages, rating and chess experience:

“We wanted to inspire all women chess players regardless of their rating to play in a worldwide tournament. We have four continents participating in individual tournaments and then we will have an individual final, but we also have team tournaments where representatives of all rating categories will play. Even a 1500 Elo player can represent her country. We think this is very inspiring.”

FIDE Vice President Lukasz Turlej talked about the geography of the project. He said that women from many countries have registered for the seminars of “The Queens’ Festival”:

“When I was checking the statistics of the participants of the seminars, I found that we have people from 22 countries registered. This shows that many people are looking forward to such activities. I think this is a very good start before 2022 which will be the year of women in chess”.

FIDE Women’s Commission chairman Eva Repkova:

“This is a very ambitious project connecting women in chess around the world. This weekend we are starting with Africa and Asia. We already have 240 players from 40 countries registered for our tournaments. There are also many people interested in our side events. They will be held for 2 weeks, so I invite those who haven’t joined us yet, to do so. This is the first edition of «The Queens’ Festival» and we really hope to grow in the coming years. I would like to express our gratitude to FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich who supports women in chess very much and to FIDE management, continental federations, the International Olympic Committee, organizers, and arbiters for making this event possible.”

The opening ceremony was followed by the seminar “Women in chess in Africa”. "We love chess and let's keep pushing for what we love to do. There are so many opportunities but it requires us to take up the challenge." It was the message to all chess girls and women from FIDE Women’s Commission member Susan Namangale who made a presentation.

The project will last until June 27. Female players from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas will be able to participate in the Continental Online Blitz Qualification Tournaments and those who qualify will advance to the Queens’ Online Individual and Team Finals. For those interested in various chess-related topics, seminars and networking events with special guests will be held.

To learn more about the program and to register for the events, please visit queensfestival.fide.com

All the seminars and the final stage of the tournament will be broadcast live on the FIDE YouTube channel.