Top-notch simul as part of ‘chess4refugees’ event in Hamburg

by Nadja Wittmann
6/18/2023 – ‘Chess4refugees’ was the motto of the Emanuel Lasker Society Chess Culture Day, which took place a week ago in Hamburg. The event kicked off with a simultaneous exhibition given by Dr. Richard Lutz and Dr. Helmut Pfleger (final result: 20-5). In the evening, the chairman of the Emanuel Lasker Society, Thomas Weischede, handed over a symbolic cheque for €5,000 to the UN Refugee Aid and a lively panel discussion about 40 years of chess history followed with Frederic Friedel, Prof. Christian Hesse and Dr. Helmut Pfleger. | Photos: Nadja Wittmann (ChessBase)

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Press release by the Emanuel Lasker Society

The entire world is experiencing a refugee crisis of unimagined proportions. This crisis has many causes that can only be solved with the means of international politics. Europe in particular will have to adjust to taking in and integrating more and more refugees.

The challenges involved are certainly manifold and exhausting. However, behind every refugee lies the fate of a human being, one that should not be overlooked. Finding appropriate solutions requires courage and confidence, which needs a consolidated and committed civil society as its foundation.

Chess can do little to exert influence internationally. Nationally, however, chess offers a good opportunity to make a significant contribution to the integration of refugees. Since there are no barriers and exclusions in chess, people of all nationalities can come into contact through the royal game regardless of language barriers, age limits, genders or religious beliefs — i.e. the first step towards a prosperous social coexistence.

Perhaps the most important contribution to integration is made by schools, which do indispensable groundwork every day with their numerous welcome classes. Many schools already use the integration effect of chess. In particular, the Lasker Society welcomes and supports players of all levels, with the help of the Garry Kasparov Chess Foundation.

Since Dr. Emanuel Lasker himself became a refugee in his later years, it is a matter of course for the ELS to get involved. As part of our chess culture, we not only demand support from the state, but attempt to make an active contribution ourselves. The ELS has therefore decided to create a platform of solidarity and support under the label ‘chess4refugees’, with an annual charity simultaneous exhibition at a successful integration school. In this respect, donations of at least €5,000.00 are to be raised for each simultaneous exhibition, half of which is to be donated to the German UN Refugee Aid and half to a partner school, which changes every year.

Although this amount would only be a ‘drop in the ocean’, it would be a start. Thus, the actual goal of this campaign should be to consciously invite other players from the chess community, both nationally and internationally, to imitate and participate, in addition to the recognition and financial support for the annually selected partner school and the UN refugee aid.

Photos from the simultaneous exhibition

Eliteschule des Sports Hamburg

Hamburg Elite School of Sports | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Panomarmablick auf Hamburg aus dem Treppenhaus des Schumacher Schulgebäudes am Alten Teichweg, in Dulsberg (Hamburg)

Panoramic view of Hamburg from the staircase of the Schumacher school building on Alter Teichweg in Dulsberg (Hamburg) | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Dr. Helmut Pfleger und Richard Lutz (Vorsitzender des Vorstands der Deutschen Bahn)

The two simultaneous gladiators: Grandmaster Dr Helmut Pfleger and Dr Richard Lutz (Chairman of the Board of the Deutsche Bahn) | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Bevor es so richtig losgeht unterschreibt Herr Lutz noch ein ein paar Bücher

Before the simul: Dr. Richard Lutz signs books by Helmut Pfleger (40 Jahre Schach im ZEIT Magazin), which all the simul participants received as a gift at the end | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Thomas Weischede (Emanuel Lasker Gesellschaft), Helmut Pfleger, Richard Lutz und Björn Lengwenus (Schulleiter der Eliteschule des Sports in Hamburg)

Thomas Weischede (Emanuel Lasker Society), Dr Helmut Pfleger, Dr Richard Lutz and Björn Lengwenus (Headmaster of the Elite School of Sport in Hamburg) | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Thomas Weischede

Thomas Weischede welcomes everyone present | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Helmut Pfleger gibt ein paar Wünsche für den Ablauf der Simultanveranstaltung ab, zum Beispiel, dass die Spieler bitte ihren Zug erst ausführen sollen, wenn er oder Herr Lutz an ihr Brett kommen.

Dr. Helmut Pfleger | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Richard Lutz scheint mit allem einverstanden zu sein

Dr. Richard Lutz always confident: actually he was supposed to play against children and youths, now he has to compete against adult Hamburg club players!  | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Und dann geht es auch schon los!

Joy on both sides before the first move | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Richard Lutz in Aktion, am Brett von Daria (7 Jahre)

Dr Richard Lutz at the board of Daria (7 years old), the youngest participant of the simul | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Daria zieht

Daria has been playing in the chess club for a year and has already played in the German Girls’ Championship U-8 in Willingen! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Helmut Pfleger spielt sehr zügig!

Dr. Helmut Pfleger (79) is in great physical condition: two days before the simul he was splaying football, now he spent over four hours playing chess! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Constanze Wulf, Wolfgang W. Springer (Springer Bio-Backwerk, sponsor of the Hamburg Chess Club) and Paolo from the Schachelschweine |  Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Christian und Eva Maria Zickelbein

HSK Honorary Chairman Christian Zickelbein and his daughter, Eva Maria Zickelbein | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Christian Zickelbein beim Plausch mit Björn Lengwenuns | Foto: Nadja Wittmann (ChessBase)

Christian Zickelbein chatting with Björn Lengwenus | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Und was spielt Ralf Kadler heute so?

Ralf Kadler (Schachelschweine) at the board: almost 40 years ago he organised the legendary SG HHUB youth tournaments in this very auditorium | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Helmut zieht tapfer viele, viele Runden ums Carrée

Dr Helmut Pfleger bravely makes many, many laps around the hall! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Helmut Pfleger denkt einen kurzen Moment nach

Dr Helmut Pfleger thinks for a moment — kibitzing in the background is Dr Gerhard Köhler from the German Chess Foundation | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Hier spielen auch Lehrer mit!

Of course, teachers from the district and the elite schools of sport also play! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Interview mit Prof. Dr. Christian Hesse

Outside in the schoolyard: Johannes Fischer (ChessBase news editor) and Arne Kähler (ChessBase video editor) interview Prof. Dr. Christian Hesse | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

The students of the ‘Welcome Class’ in the school kitchen. For two days they chopped, kneaded, baked and fried, and afterwards they also served at the bar of the event! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann


Artista! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Iris Wolf und ein Teil ihres fantastischen Schülerteams

IVK coordinator Iris Wolf and part of her fantastic team of students! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Das haben sie gezaubert!

The result: a great buffet with Afghan specialities, which the welcome class conjured up for all the guests of the cultural evening! | Photo: Nadja Wittmann

Check out the gallery above for more photos!


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