When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world over a year ago, people learned new ways of living. Online chess tournaments already existing before the pandemic became a new reality. With the number of online and hybrid tournaments increasing, it became obvious that the role of arbiters in such events is not the same as in OTB tournaments. Although playing chess online is no different from playing it in person, being an efficient online arbiter means not only ensuring that laws of chess are followed and acting in the "best interest of the competition", but having proper knowledge of the online/hybrid chess regulations, supervising such games, knowing online platforms, general concepts, fair play and basic tools to operate.
Earlier this year, the FIDE Arbiters' Commission released a new program to support the development of arbiters in online and hybrid events. Two levels of seminars included an 8-hour basic course for online arbiters and local chief arbiters in hybrid events, and an 8-hour advanced course to cover the roles and duties of chief arbiters in such tournaments.
"We wanted to design a course which would not be limited to teach technical aspects about one or two platforms but highlight to the arbiters the questions they would have to ask themselves about the tools and platforms when being involved in an online tournament. The only technical platform studied in detail was Zoom, as this is the most used one and is a must for online supervision", - says the leader of the project Laurent Freyd, Chairman of the Arbiters' Commission. - "This training program was a way to position the FIDE Arbiters' Commission as a real development actor in the chess community! The collaboration with more than 145 federations was excellent, and I wish to continue in that direction with some other innovative programs for arbiters coming soon".
The initial training program was conducted from April to July 2021 and got positive feedback from many participants.
"Thank you very much for organising the online/hybrid arbiters' course. You have done a great job; the new online tool has positively inspired me. In the courses, I found the many suggestions for chief arbiters helpful. I don't remember to have seen anything similar in the FA/IA education. The professionalism shown here has impressed me positively", - wrote Walter Kastner, General Secretary of the Austrian Chess Federation.
Following the success of the initial courses, the recurring training sessions for arbiters in online and hybrid events are announced. Basic course, opened to any arbiter with a valid FIDE license, is scheduled from October 4-7, 2021, 19:00 to 21:00 CEST, while advanced course, for arbiters who attended the basic course or have proven participation in at least 2 World or Continental online events, is scheduled from 11-14 October 2021, 19:00 to 21:00 CEST.
The team of the project include Alex McFarlane, Education Team Leader, Nebojsa Baralic, Secretary of the Arbiters' Commission and 4 official FIDE lecturers with strong experience of online events - IA Shohreh Bayat, IA Laurent Freyd, IA Aris Marghetis, IA Omar Salama.
Entry fees are 30 € for a single course or 50 € if you register to both courses. The deadline for registration and payment to FIDE is September 30th, 2021.
Contact and registration: Nebojsa Baralic, FIDE ARB Secretary (email@example.com)