The 1st ECU Education Chess Conference took place on 25-26 October 2016 in Batumi/Georgia, during the FIDE World Cadets Chess Championship.

The ECU expresses great thanks to the Georgian Chess Federation who provided financial support for the Conference and organized it in a professional way at the high level. Special thanks go to the President of Georgian Chess Federation, Mr. Giorgi Giorgadze and the main person responsible for the organization, Mr. Valeriane Gaprindashvili.

During the two days period, the participating representatives of the European chess family were presented by numerous interesting lecturers from all geographical corners of Europe, just to mention Armenia, Belarus, England, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Poland, Romania, Sweden and of course the host Georgia.

The ECU President Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili was present during the Conference as well as the ECU Treasurer Mr. Martin Huba, which gave the importance to the Conference. Many important names also attended the Conference and brought high interest and value, such as the legendary former Women’s World Chess Champion Georgian Grandmaster Ms. Maya Chiburdanidze, the Chairperson of the FIDE CIS Commission Mr. Kevin O´Connell, the Chairperson of the ECU Education Commission Mr. Jesper Hall, Secretary of the ECU Education Commission Mr. Alexander Kosyev, member of the ECU Education Commission Mr. John Foley, and several representatives of the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sport from Georgia, Romania and Poland, who actively participated in the Conference.

The main attraction of the event was the report of Chess in Europe – Survey results. The idea of the survey was to get an overview on how the different federations of the ECU work in general and with Chess in Schools in particular.

One way of making use of the result is to divide the different movements into groups with similarities that could cooperate and inspire each other. During the presentation Mr. Jesper Hall and Mr. John Foley suggested to make archetypes depending on if the movement was teacher centered or child centered, as well as being public funded or private funded.

Chess in Schools is a rapidly growing movement, with a different concept of organizations in charge, from federations down to one man companies. There are difficulties in establishing the best way to deal with such issues, but understanding how alternative funding models shape the CiS-structure of the country can clarify the situation and bring solutions on the broader field.

The second day of the Conference was reserved for workshops, focused on various issues: what problems the different movements of CiS were facing, discussing Teaching methods, CiS for younger kids, Future routes, CiS and Internet, etc.

As the result of the intense and fruitful discussions during the Conference on follow-up activities in the near future, the ECU teams will focus their efforts on developing the ideas which were presented at the Conference.

Some of them are: preparing the regulations of the European Smart Kids Challenge, having the ambition to become the world´s most attended chess contest, drafting the structure of the “Chess Wiki”, the place to store and share everything relevant to chess education, seriously thinking about establishing the European Award for chess teachers and preparing specific quality criteria for scholastic chess tools, such as software and methodologies in order to publish them for the wider chess community.

The conference can be considered as unique and a kind of a benchmark for any related meetings in the future, and the conclusion is that it has been accompanied with lot of positive energy and a passion of participants to cooperate within the European chess family for the same common goal.

In the end, we would like to thank everyone for their attendance and contribution, and to welcome more European federations to take part in future ECU events.

source ECU

Nov 02, 2020

The Queen’s Gambit movie hits no. 1 in 27 countries

On Friday, October 23rd, Netflix released The Queen’s Gambit, a new 7-part series which portrays chess prodigy Beth Harmon’s rise in the chess world of Cold War America. Less than a week after its release, the hit series has become the most watched series on the streaming service, and received widespread praise from chess fans and movie critics all over the world.

The Queen’s Gambit follows the story of Beth Harmon, who ends up in an orphanage in the late 1950s after losing her mother. She picks up the rules of the game, and soon discovers that she has a huge talent for chess but also develops an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. While the rising star fights for glory on the board, she also has to fight off the board with her own addictions and personal demons.

Beth Harmon is portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy (Peaky Blinders, Glass, Split, Emma) and appears to have captivated Netflix’s roughly 200 million subscribers. The Queen’s Gambit is currently the most watched TV show globally and ranks 1st in 27 countries, including the USA, UK and Russia – something few would have expected for a show in which chess is so central.


Nov 03, 2020

Speed Chess campaign starts today

World Champion Magnus Carlsen will take on 2018 World Junior Champion Parham Maghsoodloo today in his first Speed Chess Championship match since he won the tournament in 2016 and 2017. He defeated Hikaru Nakamura in the finals of the tournament back then, while in Carlsen’s absence Hikaru beat Wesley So in the final in 2018 and 2019. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was the first player into the quarterfinals after beating Nihal Sarin 16.5:11.5 in Sunday’s opening match.

The Speed Chess Championship is a 16-player online knockout tournament that features 3-hour matches consisting of 90 minutes of 5+1 blitz games, 60 minutes of 3+1 blitz games and 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet games. The players play as many games as fit in the allotted time, with a short break between the sections. A tie at the end is decided by 4 more bullet games followed, if required, by an Armageddon game.

Half of the 16 players in this year’s event were invited, while the other half made it through a series of qualifiers. The field is as follows:

See also:

  • Magnus Carlsen vs. Parham Maghsoodloo | All the games
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Nihal Sarin | All the games
Nov 23, 2016

App that will make broadcasting chess games simple & inexpensive

A company called Chess Vision has an inexpensive new app that could eventually become the standard by which games and tournaments are broadcast

Early in Game 5 of the World Chess Championship in New York City, Magnus Carlsen, the reigning champion, forgot to write down one of his moves. Later on during the game, he realized his mistake and became very annoyed with himself.

The episode was a reminder that the practice of writing down the moves, which is required by the rules of chess, is rather anachronistic in the 21st century. Indeed, Carlsen only became aware of his error because he saw on the Digital Game Technology (DGT) board and clock that are being used in the World Championship that he had made his 40th move when he had only written down 39.

While DGT technology is able to keep track of moves and broadcast them over the Internet, it is only commonly used in elite events because it is not easy to set up and it is expensive.

Now a new Israeli company called Chess Vision is proposing a solution that will make tracking and broadcasting games not only simple but inexpensive.

Using a downloadable app, Chess Vision turns a standard smartphone into a digital game recorder. The smartphone sits on a small stand over any chess board and takes photographs of the board continuously. It then uses a proprietary algorithm to translate those images into portable game notation (PGN) files that can be easily transmitted or stored in a virtual cloud. Unlike DGT, it does not require a special board or chess set.

Tzachi Slav, the chief executive and co-founder of Chess Vision, said that the idea was not just to offer an alternative to DGT technology (and perhaps to ultimately replace it) but to open up chess broadcasting to everyone. “Any chess player should have the ability to record his games, share it with his close ones, with his trainer, with his friends and put it online,” Slav said.

Slav said that making it simpler to record and broadcast games would help chess players improve. “If you can measure it, you can improve it. This is my motto,” said Slav.

The app is a subscription service and costs $4.99 a month. The arm to hold the smartphone costs about $30 and will soon be available on the Chess Vision site (

Chess Vision was used during an Association of Chess Professionals tournament last year in Spain. (featured image)

Though Chess Vision already works on smartphones, it is still being developed and there are still some kinks to work out. It has problems when recording blitz games because the players’ hands move so fast that they tend to obscure the board. Slav, who has tested it in tournaments, says that it works fine for games that use rapid time controls (25 minutes per player per game) or slower.

He said that he hopes to get it to work equally well for all time controls, but needs to find investors to finish the programming. He and his father, Moshe, who is the chairman of the company (and was past president of the Israeli Chess Association) have already invested about $600,000 of their own money developing the product, but need about an additional $1 million to finish development and for marketing. Slav said that he hoped to roll out the service worldwide in 2017.

He said that he thought that the potential worldwide market for the app was large — the approximately ten million school children who play chess and an additional five million “professional” players. “What I mean by professional players is players who play with ratings, they play in tournaments, they play at least once a week, they pay to be in their countries ratings lists,” Slav said.

“If you need to write down your game with a pen and a paper and games are not recorded because you have time pressure, or whatever, you cannot learn from your game,” said Slav. Chess Vision “will help you learn from your games. As a performance tool, this will be must for every player.”