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” programme. This project kicked off in May 2021 with an online conference and an exhibition tournament with four participant countries. Later on, in October 2021, the first Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners was held. It attracted 42 teams representing 31 countries.
In October 2022, the event attracted 85+ teams from 46 countries representing all continents.
The 3rd Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners was held on October 11-13, 2023, on the International Day of Education in Prison. 118 teams from 50 countries participated in the tournament.