Chess: A Catalyst for Social Development Goals

Chess can help improve the intellectual capacity of people, especially young people. Chess teaches us to respect our opponent. Chess teaches us to take victories and defeats with honor and pride. How to analyze your mistakes, improve your strategic thinking and your memory. »

This is how Arkady Dvorkovich, President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), presented some of the main benefits that the game can bring to society. He went on to explain the enormous progress has been made in women’s chess and also how people with disabilities and autism are integrated into the project. Refugees and prisoners have also been at the center of concern across the world as the federation reaches out, he said.

Dvorkovich was giving a keynote at SIGA Sport Integrity Week 2021 and, after promoting their activities, joined the organization’s CEO, Emanuel Medeiros, to answer a few questions.

Chess: growing popularity

The recent growth in popularity was the first topic of discussion, with a suggestion made that The Queen’s Bet – a hugely popular Netflix series – could have been an influencer. While the FIDE President acknowledged the positive impact of the show, he also highlighted the extra time at home imposed on people by the covid-19 pandemic.

“You weren’t able to go to football matches, nor to sports centers… 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 transform itself, improve its management capacity and be even more intensive and [have] better interaction with all its stakeholders.

Understand the size of this company, Dvorkovich admitted that they learn from other organizations such as the experiences of FIFA and FIBA. Projects to help with this are already underway, he added, with most coming from Russian companies.

“Integrity is Queen”

The most important topic of discussion was clarified by Medeiros: maintaining the integrity of the industry. “Integrity is king,” he muttered. Dvorkovich gave a detailed response in an attempt to dispel any potential concerns.

“A few months ago we adopted a new charter which sets out a very clear structure for FIDE bodies. Now we are complete the regulations that will govern each organization and particular activity, including, especially for integrity, the code of ethics and discipline. He then joked that he hoped prevention methods would mean punishments weren’t often needed.

“We need that framework so everyone knows we’re serious about it.”

Fighting cheating and corruption in chess

Dvorkovich went on to stress the importance for those who govern chess, like himself, to be role models and to be completely transparent, “which I think we are,” he said. A number of changes have been made and they continue to learn as they grow their efforts.

‘Intolerable’ was the word the president used for computer-aided cheating in chess but he made it clear he believed it was a ‘minor issue at the highest level’ and one that would be fought hard – with AI algorithms identifying offenders – and clear warnings having been sent with legal support.

Alongside UEFA and World Rugby, Medeiros thanked his guest and the entire Fide community for sticking to SIGA standards.

“We welcome Fide to the SIGA community and look forward to working alongside you, and the ability to go through the independent SIGA grading system is a real game-changer.


Sport Integrity Week™ aims to promote the implementation of the highest standards of integrity at all levels and in all areas of sport.

Bringing together industry leaders, decision makers and top experts, Sport Integrity Week™ provides a unique and powerful platform to raise awareness of the most critical challenges facing sport and industry at large, facilitate collective action and pave the way for needed reforms.

Sport Integrity Week™ 2021 takes place on an engaging digital platform allowing you to network with like-minded peers. The week featuring interactive panel discussions live via SIGA’s online events platform will host a series of interviews with some of the world’s top sports executives.

Structured around 5 central themes, the Sport Integrity Week™ offers in-depth discussions, knowledge sharing and networking opportunities. It will also foster best practices, enhance dialogue and cooperation, as well as spark holistic cultural approaches and action-oriented solutions.

Joel C. Hicks