Chess against racism

by Dijana Dengler
3/31/2021 – The Bayern Munich Football Club has launched an initiative called ‘Reds against Racism’. The club’s chess department also participated with an international team tournament played online. Former professional footballer Marco Bode played for Werder Bremen. Dijana Dengler reports.

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Checkmating racism

Weeg against racismOn March 21, an online tournament organized by the chess department of the Bayern Munich Football Club took place on the occasion of the European Action Week Against Racism under the motto ‘Reds against Racism’. Ten teams, consisting of pupils from seven countries, participated. In terms of numbers, the team from the Overseas Family School from Singapore was the most strongly represented with 116 participants — a total of 363 players took part. The youngest participant was 5 years old; the oldest, 18.

The teams that joined the initiative:

  • FC Bayern München, Germany
  • SV Werder Bremen, Germany
  • Hamburger SK, Germany
  • Schachklub Dornbirn, Austria
  • Die Schulschachprofis, Switzerland
  • Overseas Family School, Singapore
  • Suffolk Junior Chess, England
  • Limhamns SK, Sweden
  • Wasa SK, Sweden
  • Orcher La Tour, France

A Zoom conference started an hour before the tournament, with almost 180 participants signing up at the peak of traffic. To set the mood, Dijana Dengler showed the video ‘Reds against Racism’ produced by Bayern Munich, as well as a video inspired by it and recorded by her school in Singapore, entitled ‘Checkmate to Racism’.

This was followed by the chess song ‘Queens and Kings’, as well as recordings of a song produced by Juga di Prima as well as a video on the match between Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri which was played to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2019.

Marco Bode also joined a little later as a special guest. The extremely likeable chess fan stayed on the pitch — in this case, chessboard — for over an hour and talked about his school chess project in Bremen. He also shared a few anecdotes:

Andi Herzog to Felix Magath: Coach, we’d really like you to play chess against Marco one day.

Magath: I don’t think you really want to experience what happens when I lose

At the end, Marco played two games against randomly drawn youngsters, which he won with aplomb.

Marco Bode

The Swiss team Die Schulschachprofis won the tournament ‘Reds against Racism’ with 268 points, ahead of the Austrian Dornbirner Schachjugend (228) and the Overseas Family School (220) from Singapore.

In the debriefing, the coaches involved decided that this should become a recurring event on the occasion of the annual Weeks Against Racism. Many thanks to all the coaches and organizers, especially Jörg Wengler from Bayern Munich.

Read the full report (in German) on the webpage of the Bayern Munich chess department!

Singapore, chess


Dijana Dengler is a co-founder of the Munich Chess Academy. She has participated in twelve Chess Olympiads and was Chairwoman of the Board of the Munich Chess Foundation from 2007 to the end of 2017; since 2018 she has been a member of the Foundation Board. In 2018, she was appointed to the Education Commission of the International Chess Federation to work on the further spread of chess as a subject in schools all over the world. Dijana Dengler holds a degree in business administration and has developed the model ‘The King’s Plan’ together with GM Stefan Kindermann and Prof. Robert Freiherr von Weizsäcker.
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TwoZero TwoZero 4/7/2021 05:02
chessgod0 is 100% correct. Chess for its own sake is all that is needed.

You like chess? Congratulations, you're in the club. Nobody gives a toss what you look like.

Commentators like BmiS need to keep their nonsense Critical Theory beliefs and talking points out of Chess. This Marxist Ideology only exists to sow division and conflict amongst those who would naturally find common ground through their mutual love of the game of Kings.
tamango tamango 4/4/2021 01:02
I really hope you won't get woke, or else I will stop watching ChessBase. Stop with this nonsense already.
NoSystem NoSystem 4/3/2021 05:39
They forgot to mention that when Magnus and Giri released their video the comments were so negative (disagreeing with the whole screwy proposition), that they had to shut down the comments section.
herr_doktor herr_doktor 4/2/2021 10:41
I recommend changing the laws of chess to let black move first.
BmiS BmiS 4/2/2021 07:12
" I don't want chess to be politicized" lol ermmm Hello? A king, queen, bishop, rook and pawns... Been politicized long ago already lol
BmiS BmiS 4/2/2021 07:10
A quote by the great CLR James "The race question is subsidiary to the class question in politics, and to think of imperialism in terms of race is disastrous. But to neglect the racial factor as merely incidental is an error only less grave than to make it fundamental."
BmiS BmiS 4/2/2021 07:07
Wow... It should be clear : Race , while not a biological truth ( i.e. does not exist aside it being a social construct) it is quite real as a cultural prejudice. To neglect this is to neglect history and our current reality. To say " i dont see race, i see people" is a good way of dismissing a very very serious issue in our society still.
PEB216 PEB216 4/2/2021 05:00
I agree with chessgodo..."the absolute last thing I want is for chess to become politicized." This obsession with race is only exacerbating race relations. Keep race out of chess.
Harry Pillsbury Harry Pillsbury 4/2/2021 03:45
I completely agree with chessgodo. Keep politics and ideology out of chess.
chessgod0 chessgod0 4/1/2021 09:27
I am a black American...but the absolute last thing I want is for chess to become politicized.

I hope this is the last of these types of events and that going forward we do our best to keep politics and ideology out of chess.

Chess for it's own sake is more than enough.
Gerald C Gerald C 4/1/2021 07:57
I agree with promatix.
promatix promatix 4/1/2021 03:21
it is simple the more you see the differences between races, the more racist you are and who notices them the most / those who want to fight racism
promatix promatix 4/1/2021 03:16
this problem with racism applies only to these who believe that people are of different races because if there are no different races then why bother with this problem