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


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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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