New FIDE Chess in Schools initiative

1/26/2012 – "Let us help you to build your federation and your chess in schools programme," says the press release. "Our objective is to be able to generate more income than you pay to FIDE – much more." This reversal of flow of funds is admittedly something new for FIDE. The income is expected to be generated by Premium Membership and the goal is one billion chess players on the planet.

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Press release – 24 Jan. 2012

Are you big or are you small? Whichever you are, there is something here for you. If you are one of the world’s largest federations, your budget may rival or even surpass that of FIDE. If you are small, your annual budget may be only USD 30,000, or even less.

But are you as big as you want to be, as large as you ought to be? In our view, the answer is a clear "no." One of you has about 80,000 members, half of them juniors. However, that same federation has at least 500,000 (maybe a million) children playing chess in schools across the country.

An 8% conversion rate is not bad in historical terms, but what if it were 20% or 30%? Wouldn't that make a big difference to your federation? Not just directly to your finances, but to your NUMBERS, and it is those numbers that carry weight, especially with potential sponsors. If you are small, growing your numbers will make an even bigger difference proportionately.

Let us help you to build your federation and your chess in schools programme. Our objective is to be able to generate more income for each and every federation than you pay to FIDE, much more. This reversal of flow of funds is something new for FIDE. For FIFA it is easy because of their huge income from the sale of TV rights. Regrettably, there is no such interest in the TV rights for chess events.

To try and achieve these dual objectives (numbers and money for you), we have instituted FIDE Student Membership as part of our Chess in Schools programme. Originally, we had planned to phase this in with the CIS100 franchise modules, but we soon realised that the scope is much wider.

Why should you promote FIDE Student Membership, rather than just push on trying to recruit more juniors directly to your federation? We believe that Student Membership offers additional advantages, especially the two Unique Selling Points. The USP of Premium Membership (€10 per annum, of which FIDE will take only €1) is a FIDE Student Rating. The USP of Basic Membership is that it is FREE (at no cost to you). We believe that this can reach youngsters that national federation membership may not attract, but you will benefit either way, especially if these children go on to take up BOTH memberships (Student and national federation), and we will be pushing them to do just that.

Let us stress again, since there is so much cynicism and so many suspicious minds (especially in the media), that this is designed to help your federation and our multinational chess family build towards the objective of 1,000,000,000 chess players on the planet.

Gens Una Sumus - Get in touch, let’s talk. But first, read on …

What do you need to do to take advantage of this initiative? There are five options:

  1. You can apply ('bid') to become a CIS100 project country.
  2. If you are a federation from a ‘small’ country (population less than one million), you can apply (‘bid’) to become a CIS30 project country.
  3. If you are a ‘small’ federation (less than 2,000 members) you can apply for ‘seeding’.
  4. If you are a big federation, you don’t need free boards and sets, nor seed capital, but we can probably help you with guidance – the experience drawn from hundreds of initiatives in dozens of countries.
  5. Any federation can take advantage of promoting Student Membership to the children in your country as a simple partnership.

These options are not mutually exclusive, especially the fifth one which can and should be implemented if you are doing any of 1-4. What is Student Membership? What is involved in options 1-4? Read on!

The basic Student Membership is free and is handled more-or-less automatically by the web server. This is valuable, both to national federations and to FIDE, because it adds to the number of members, making chess ever more interesting to potential sponsors.

The Premium Student Membership costs ten Euros per year. Here the members can expect the following services:

  • plastic ID card
  • welcome letter
  • FIDE Student Rating
  • chess book
  • fortnightly newsletter containing practical tips, instructional material and puzzles
  • dedicated web site – a lollipop full of instruction and entertainment.

Almost all revenue goes to partner federations.


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