The largest chess event of the year in... Corsica

by Albert Silver
6/10/2014 – In spite of the record number of teams and players expected in Tromso this year, the Chess Olympiads will only be the second most attended chess competition of the year. Indeed, 3500 pupils solely from Northern Corsica came to compete in the 11th edition of the Corsican Scholastic Championships held in Bastia, Corsica, with hundreds of arbiters and volunteers, and even a drone video camera!

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The poster for the gigantic scholastic competition

In parallel, the 4th European Youth championship was also held there,
including teams from Sicily, Provence, Franch-Comté, and Corsica

Truth be told, it is not a huge surprise considering the exemplary energy and effort the Corsicans put into developing chess on the island. With a population of just 310,000 inhabitants, it has a very impressive 7100 registered chess players, including a website that is actively developed with news and activities, and they even have an app in the Google Store and iTunes. Impressive.

Léo Battesti, Corsican and the vice president of the French Federation, speaks with the media

The size of such an event required serious organizational quality to run smoothly (if you think a couple of kids are a handful, try 3500), but experience, competence, and care, culminated in a grandiose chess tournament that required 100 arbiters, 60 buses, three big tops (giant tents), 200 volunteers, and close to 1000 chess boards and sets. It also required adding another day to the schedule as it was understood that in the packed program there was simply no way it could all be done within the time constraints.

You never saw so many chessboards and sets in your life

Hundreds of arbiters and volunteers helped make it a wonderful experience for the children

Needless to say it was about helping the children learn and enjoy the game

To document it, aside from ample photographs and videos, the organizers employed a drone to fly over and film it to provide an aerial perspective.

A drone equipped with a camera set a first in chess, providing aerial footage

The players are seated in an organized fashion

Caps and hats were extremely popular there, and became statements of individuality

The children clearly had a ball

"So if I read this I should last at least 15 more moves against my 4-year-old?"

Everyone loves a trophy

And everyone got to feel one in their hands

It was an uplifting experience

The success of it cannot be denied

It was a great prelude to the summer

Thousands upon thousands of children playing and loving it. It is a bright future for both
them and chess.


A delightful photo montage in a video that lasts three minutes and is full of wonderful pictures

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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