For the International Chess Federation, organizing chess competitions is not the only mission. The competitive aspects are just a means to achieve higher goals. Sharing the values of the Olympic Movement of which FIDE is a proud member, its mission must go beyond that. Chess can make a huge impact on people lives: to develop their intellectual skills; prevent cognitive ageing and general brain decline of our senior citizens; provide people with disabilities with an activity to compete on absolutely equal terms; work as a great equalizer helping every child to reach their full potential, regardless of their background, etc.
The FIDE Social Commission (SOC) has been working tirelessly to fulfil its objectives, and in recent months, FIDE has launched multiple projects of high social value that should make us all proud. In April, the first seminar on chess and autism became a resounding success. In May, the Chess for Freedom project kicked off with an online conference and an exhibition tournament followed this October by the first Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners. More recently, FIDE has also launched the Chess for Protection project at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, the first of several initiatives that we plan to develop at refugee camps in different parts of the world.
The next step of the roadmap is to encourage and support our member federations and the whole chess community so that these initiatives resonate in your respective countries. In order to identify and support already existing (or planned) initiatives of social value, our member federations kindly ask you to fill out the survey developed by FIDE Social Commission and designate a contact person within every federation for dialogue and possible cooperation with the FIDE Social Commission.
The initiative was supported by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, who sent a letter to all member federations asking to support FIDE's initiatives of social value. "Diversity, equality, and inclusion are values rooted in our organization. This is clearly stated in the new FIDE Charter that came into effect in 2020, as well as in our Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines that were approved at the beginning of the current year. It is a priority for FIDE to increase the activity level of chess initiatives with social value, and we will be there to help all the way, in whatever capacity we can." the letter says.
But it's not only federations that could help FIDE to achieve these goals. We ask everyone aware or involved in organizing any social chess project – whether teaching or playing chess in prisons, refugee camps, homes for the elderly, etc. – to approach FIDE Social Commission via email@example.com. Your support, advice or experience will be highly appreciated and help us create networking and collaborative spirit for SOC projects.
We strongly believe that chess changes people's lives. Joining our forces and promoting the game to those in vulnerable situations can make the world a better place.