Empowering queens of the chessboard: National Female Team Development Seminar

The National Female Team Development Online Seminar was held online on November 26, 2023. This initiative is a part of the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess project to help countries who have never sent a female team to an Olympiad field a team for the 2024 Chess Olympiad. Over 20 representatives from federations across the globe attended the seminar via Zoom. 

The project is headed by Tris-Ann Richards (St. Lucia), Councillor in FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess, and Anastasia Sorokina, Chair of the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess, along with team members Yilmas KartalParis KleridesAkua Kosife Esse, Monalisha Khamboo and Herborg Hansen.

Anastasia Sorokina stressed the significance of this project and pledged WOM support for the amazing initiative. “Despite the age or occupation, we will always work hard to provide the best possible opportunities and community for women,” she said. 

The initial stage of the initiative started in September by corresponding with the identified federations. It turned out the main reasons for not sending a female team to a Chess Olympiad were the need for more female players, adequate training and sufficient financing. As a result, the seminar sought to address these issues and provide solutions, opportunities and the necessary resources for the federations to solve the problems. 

The seminar agenda included discussing strategies for securing funding for female chess teams, identifying potential sponsors and partners, funding models and grant opportunities, as well as strategies for attracting female chess talent and case studies of successful recruitment initiatives. 

“FIDE aims to further and continuously increase women’s representation in management, projects, and professional sports events. One of the priorities is to support those federations where female chess is underrepresented or even non-existent but where leadership works hard to encourage female athletes. Having a female team from every country that takes part in a Chess Olympiad is an ambitious goal that we aim to reach in partnership with national federations,” said Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Deputy Chair of the management board, in her presentation at the seminar.

The presentations were well received, and some federations confirmed that they are ready to work along with WOM to take their first-ever female team to the 2024 Chess Olympiad. The next stage of the project is to provide training, Olympiad preparation and support for the federations that join the initiative. 

The Women’s Chess Olympiad is an event held by FIDE since 1957 (every two years since 1972). In 1976, the Women’s Chess Olympiad was incorporated into the Chess Olympiad, with women’s and open tournaments running simultaneously ever since. A record-breaking 162 teams, representing 160 nations (799 players), participated in the women’s competition at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.