Friday, 5 June 2020

Organising Eight (8) FIDE Trainer Seminars in Three Months

Since April, the FIDE Trainers Commission has been organising online seminars, bringing much needed training and certification to trainers worldwide by targeting different regions and looking to accommodate different languages.

First was Europe from 3-5 April, then East Asia and Oceania 24-26 April followed by German language 1-3 May, Spanish Americas 22-4 May, and then both North America and Indian Sub-Continent 29-31 May.

Tomorrow starts ECU English 5-7 June.

We have, as today, in the seven seminars to date, a total 318 participants from as many as 61 countries, averaging 45 each seminar!

These seminars have collectively been facilitated by 21 lecturers, and in order of appearance, they are: Thomas Luther, Artur Yusupov, Vishal Sareen, Ramesh RB, Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko, Eugene Torre, Jayson Gonzales, Jacob Aagaard, Xie Jun, Yu Shaoteng, Uwe Boensch, Alonso Zapata, Pep Suarez, Meiliset Khachiyan, Gregory Kaidanov, John Donaldson, Dejan Bojkov, Ivan Sokolov, Sagar Shah, Alexander Motylev and Jesper Hall.

Germany, India, Russia, Philippines, Scotland, China, Colombia, Spain, USA, Bulgaria, Netherlands, and Sweden!

Once ECU English ends we can look forward to Russian language 26-28 June when we will have a new lecturer added to our illustrious roll of honour when Victor Bologan from Moldova makes his debut.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Interview on ChessBase India - The Vision of the FIDE Trainers Commission

By Peter Long

Today's FIDE Trainers Commission is very different from what was seen for over a decade.

What we have now - even though still a work in progress - is the implementation of the reform vision of FIDE Senior Trainer and Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard who was appointed the new FIDE Trainers Commission Chairman following the election of Arkady Dvorkovich as FIDE President at the FIDE Congress held concurrently with the Batumi Olympiad in 2018.

It took us several months in the transition period to get on top of the issues but then it became very clear what was needed.

1. First, the FIDE Trainers Commission never really evolved from the necessary first stage of the first few years which was to identify and certify leading trainers and to award them the appropriate trainer titles to build a base and credibility.

2. Second was that instead of helping develop the skills of trainers attending seminars, what happened and actually took place was a largely abbreviated training for a player cramped into a very few days, and from that, largely based on playing strength, a title was awarded.

3. Thirdly, it was easier to create value for titles and licences by having the previous FIDE administration impose a licensing system where it was a requirement in order to take a captaincy or coaching role at official FIDE events.

4. Fourthly is that while on paper there were many FIDE Academies, in reality there was no real criteria to be awarded this status and there was no program other than giving the right to use the FIDE logo and to be able to enter players in official FIDE events.

5. Fifth was that there was no renewal of the core FIDE Trainers Council membership, much became a mantra that FIDE was the only way, and too much resources were put into duplicating what was already created commercially and easily available

Last year, 2019, the FIDE Trainers Commission organised 38 seminars and tried to be in every part of the world and in as many languages as was possible and we enjoyed success stories in many places that had not seen our activity for many years.

What was new was the gradual introduction in seminars of teaching trainers through a wide variety of leading trainers. They shared what had worked for them and the best methods and practices they knew off. At the same time we made both the evaluation process and the final examination relevant to what was being taught at the seminar and this was independently marked by an examiner separate from the lecturers and then subject to review through a verification process.

Jacob early understood how doing seminars online would be more cost effective and give us greater reach but it also meant we could bring together many trainers who were subject experts and it also allowed us to ensure a certain level of quality in delivery and to document the teaching.

Moving to online sessions meant that more people could attend it from across the globe and it was possible to have more high quality trainers

So we had planned to move most of our seminars online in 2020 and to run them ourselves or with partners on the ground which was a big change from Federations applying for a seminar and where we were largely reduced to merely facilitating and with little control over the delivery, and so, perhaps more than anyone else in FIDE, with due respect to our fellow FIDE Commissions, we were more ready when the global pandemic struck.

In two weeks we replaced seminars scheduled in Switzerland and Sweden with our first online seminar and two weeks later we organised one for East Asian and Oceania and one in German just finished successfully. And we are committed to have a total of twenty seminars in all regions of the world and in all the major languages by the end of 2020, and who knows, there might even be more!

What I think you are seeing is that the FIDE Trainers Commission is not anymore talking about one way only for training or that some trainers are better than others because we have been assembling a team of lecturers who on their own command huge respect, and even more importantly are giving the FIDE Trainers Commission a gift of knowledge that they are happy to share with our trainer colleagues who participate in our seminars.

This is a difficult time for the world, and of course chess is not immune and since trainers are a part of the chess ecosystem which is largely built around competitions, they too are also affected,

We have seen players who no longer have prizes and fees from tournaments to live on become trainers almost overnight and we see trainers who work mainly in schools and clubs unable to move the bulk of their students online and it is a matter of time before parents see many of the benefits of chess become the opposite as that of an addictive computer game.

I will be blunt here - the holiday period is over and money is going to be a problem for all that are not in the top 1% - chess needs tournaments and sponsorship to survive. What we are seeing online is not going to generate the money needed, at least not in the short run and even in the medium term, no matter how optimistic we want to be. The FIDE Trainers Commission is doing our part by upgrading the skills of trainers and making this as accessible and as cheaply as we can.

What worries me more in the long term is that we are in risk of losing the many kids that come into the game every year and stay on. This is a huge task for the FIDE leadership, and the FIDE Chess in Education Commission led by FIDE Senior Trainer and Grandmaster Smbat Luptian, in my view, is going to be responsible for the future of chess together with so many other capable and passionate stakeholders who see chess as invaluable in the broader education context! But we are not passing the buck as here too the FIDE Trainers Commission can also perhaps help, by training chess players to teach children, with our Developmental Instructors at the forefront and with National Instructors becoming program facilitators and managers.…/FIDE-Trainers-seminar-for-Indian-sub…

Friday, 10 April 2020

Monday, 2 March 2020

A Revamped Chess Asia

While I was in Europe I realised Chess Asia was down when seeing an empty screen with only the default WordPress theme desplayed without content.

I was also unable to log-in.

Numerous emails sent to the tech support of my hosting company over the next two weeks only got were polite and repetitive answers which at the end of the day meant they could do nothing except to reset my log-in.

My own investigation found a plug-in that mysteriously installed itself into a very standard WordPress and popular theme.

This plug was known to be malicious as on activation would wipe out the database and clearly that happened but as to who did it and how it could have happened, by the process of elimination, would indicate that it was clearly due to insufficient investment in security by the hosting company.

So, a change of hosting, and another couple of days spent setting up a new website.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

The Growing Impact of Coronavirus on Chess in the Region

Every year the HD Bank Cup, now established as Vietnam's flagship event, is held in March and now it is postponed indefinitely.

The same it seems has been or is going to be the fate of the ASEAN Para Games which was also scheduled in March.

A month later sees many traditional events and so far Thailand is resisting: the 20th Bangkok Chess Club Open will continue from 11th to 19th April, and I understand there is no plans to shift the Asian Schools Championships which they will be hosting.

Myanmar has now also announced a new tournament in Magway to be held from 22-29 April 2020

I wonder about the JAPFA Chess Festival in Indonesia which normally takes place in April to coincide with their founder's birthday celebrations, but they have always gone their own way.

This is so far about ASEAN but we can be even more sure that it is going to be all but impossible for China to do anything this year and that contagion is going to spread to North East Asia notwithstanding it is really only Taiwan who is organising.

Without saying too much, this is going to be a a huge problem for the Asian Chess Federation.

Many of their titles doled out in their cadet, youth and junior events are already seen to be very soft and mostly have been benefiting the host country players, but now even the minimum requirements of participation from other countries will be almost impossible to satisfy as many will not risk travelling.