Innovation in Chess: Oncological Approach Shines at International Congress in Menorca

The II Congress of Chess, Education and Health – an extraordinary meeting of chess minds, health professionals and dedicators to education – took place in Menorca, Spain from 22-24 March. Under the direction of Pep Suarez, renowned psychologist, chess educator and trainer, this event brought to the island of Menorca, for two decades, a distinguished international representation of speakers interested in educational and therapeutic chess. The Congress has marked a starting point to initiate collaborations between individuals from different parts of the world, joining efforts and energies to turn our beloved game into a social, inclusive, and health tool.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of an innovation approach: Oncological Chess.

FIDE Commission for Women’s Commission Chess always encourage members to bring new initiatives to have more women and girls of all ages around the world and pay attention to social and inclusive ideas and invited WOM Susana Goncalves, president of Chess2All non-profit association in Portugal to officially present a stunning pilot project in Portugal shared in the meeting of June 2023, embracing women affected by breast cancer and childhood cancer moms. 

With the “Queens Rise” program, the opening lecture shined with Franck Droin on behalf of the “Health Social Disability” Commission of the French Chess Federation followed by its partner Chess2all, represented by vice president Tânia Chéu. Ongoing experiments in France (Paris) and Portugal (Porto) are already showing encouraging first results! The start of a lovely story!

Oncological chess, an intelligent fusion of chess strategy and oncological therapy, captured the attention of health enthusiasts and experts alike. Internationally aimed at evaluating how the game of chess can participate in “Supportive Care” to limit cognitive disorders linked to chemotherapy.

All chess federations were invited to join forces along French Chess Federation and Portuguese Chess Federation. Franck Droin, leader of the global team project, explained the importance of the program and to involve more partners.

To share experiences, Tânia Chéu explained how Chess2All developed a pilot in Portugal by an interdisciplinary team of chess and oncology specialists with the assistance of League Against Cancer.

To close presentation the passionate WOM Susana Gonçalves came up on stage to present PROJECT 2C – Mom’s & kids with cancer. This is the most among social innovation project of Chess2All has in agenda. The main goal is to promote cognition, emotional well-being, and socialization in cancer patients. The project present magic moves with chess, used by a tool to entertain, dedicated to children hospitalised in oncological hospital with their moms.

“This pilot project has been developed last year in Portugal with other experts and greeting contribution of volunteers and I thank all to have the courage enough for joining the team and contributing and sharing the knowledge, time and energy to create this project so now we could share with other brave countries who have the courage to take it on and take it on as a pilot and spread it” –  said WOM Susana Gonçalves very proud it is moving forward, hoping next year to delivery as a pilot project in different countries members of FIDE WOM.  

The innovative approach immediately sparked interest among congress participants. The event marked an exciting turning point at the intersection of chess and medicine, promising new possibilities for the well-being of oncology patients worldwide.

Warmest greetings to Pep Suarez who took part in this International Congress with an excellent organiser team that provided a professional and social environment to all speakers and participants.

As the International Chess Congress ends in Menorca, it is clear that Oncological Chess is not just a bold move on the board, but also a movement of hope and healing for those facing the battle against cancer.