About the Chess for Freedom program

The rights and opportunities of self-realization and development for people in imprisonment are essential prerequisites in order to consciously build their future after liberation. Access to training and learning, as well as to quality ways of socializing could give strong motivation to change for better.

Chess is a game that not only allows the inmates to spend a quality time and socialize in a smart and safe way, but also can serve for decreasing such common symptoms like depression, stress, and anxiety. Developing memory and logical thinking, improving concentration skills and imagination may foster their reintegration after liberation. Chess inspires self-motivation, develops the capacity to for-see consequences and demonstrates the success is a reward of hard work.

To support and promote this line of work, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (Chicago, USA) have signed a cooperation agreement and launched the “Chess for Freedom” program. Under the patronage of the 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov, this project kicked off in May 2021 with an online conference and an exhibition tournament with four participant countries. Later on, in October, the first Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners – a much larger competition with the participation of tens of prisons will be held.

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