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Chess: an enabler of the social development goals

As part of Sport Integrity Week, President of FIDE Arkady Dvoa joined SIGA CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros to discuss the fight against corruption.

Chess: an enabler of the social development goals

Chess can be instrumental in improving intellectual capacity of people, especially the young. Chess teaches us how to respect our opponent. Chess teaches us how to take wins and losses with honour and pride. How to analyse you mistakes, improve strategical thinking and memory.”

This is how Arkady Dvorkovich, the president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), introduced some of the key benefits that the game can bring to society. He went on to explain the huge progress that has been made in women’s chess and also how disabled and autistic people are being brought into the project. Refugees and prisoners, too, have been a key focus across the globe as the federation reaches out, he said.

Dvorkovich was giving a keynote speech at the SIGA Sport Integrity Week 2021 and, after promoting their activities, linked up with the organisation’s CEO, Emanuel Medeiros, to answer some questions.

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Chess: the growing popularity

The recent growth in the popularity was the first topic of discussion, with a suggestion made that The Queen’s Gambit - a hugely popular Netflix series - could have been an influencing factor. While the FIDE president acknowledged the positive impact of the show, he also pointed to the extra time at home forced on peopler by the covid-19 pandemic.

“You haven’t been able to go to football games, or sports centres… But you can play chess anywhere,” he reminded us.

“The social dimension of chess, starting with schools, is the most important component,” Dvorkovich said, “and reaching out to all kinds of communities and categories of potential players.

“But to do this, FIDE must change itself, improve its management capacity and be even more intensive and [have] better interaction with all its constituencies.”

Understanding the size of this undertaking, Dvorkovich admitted that they were learning from other organisations such as the experiences of FIFA and FIBA. Projects to help with this are already underway, he added, with most coming from companies in Russia.

"Integrity is king"

The most important topic of the discussion was made clear by Medeiros: maintaining the integrity of the industry. “Integrity is king,” he punned. Dvorkovich gave an in-depth response to try to allay any potential concerns.

“We adopted a new charter a few months ago that sets a very clear structure of FIDE bodies. Now we are completing the set of regulations that will govern each particular body and activity, including, most importantly for integrity, the ethics and disciplinary code.” He then quipped that he hoped the prevention methods would mean that punishments would not be often required.

“We need this framework so that everyone knows we are serious about this.”

Fighting cheating and corruption in chess

Dvorkovich went on to highlight the importance of those that govern chess, like himself, having to be role models and being completely transparent, “which we are, I think,” he said. A number of changes had been brought in and they continue to learn as they develop their efforts.

“Intolerable” was the word used by the president for computer-aided cheating in chess but he made it clear that he believes it is a “minor problem at the top level” and one that will be fought hard - with AI algorithms identifying offenders - and clear warnings having been sent out with a legal backing.

Along with the likes of UEFA and World Rugby, Medeiros thanked his guest and the wider Fide community for signing up to the SIGA standards.

“We welcome Fide within the SIGA community and are very keen to work alongside you, and the opportunity to go through the SIGA independent rating system is truly a game changer."

The Sport Integrity Week™ is aimed at promoting the implementation of the highest integrity standards at all levels and across all areas of Sport.

Bringing together relevant industry leaders, decision-makers and top experts, the Sport Integrity Week™ offers a unique, powerful platform to raise awareness about the most critical challenges facing sport and the wider industry, facilitate collective action and pave the way to the necessary reforms.

The 2021 Sport Integrity Week™ is taking place on an engaging digital platform allowing you to network with like minded peers. The week comprising of live interactive panel discussions via SIGA’s Online Event Platform will host a series of interviews with some of the most senior leaders from the world of sport.

Structured around 5 core themes, the Sport Integrity Week™ offers insightful discussions, knowledge sharing and networking opportunities. It will also promote best practice, enhance dialogue and cooperation, as well as instigate cultural, global approaches and action-oriented solutions.


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