International Chess Federation
Thursday, 07 Oct 2021 14:12
Teams from 31 countries to participate in 1st Intercontinental Championship for Prisoners

Forty-three teams from 31 countries will play in the 1st Intercontinental Online Championship for Prisoners, a two-day event that starts on October 13, 2021 - the International Day of Education in Prisons.

The championship is a part of the "Chess for Freedom" Program, launched earlier this year with an online conference and the invitational Online Chess Tournament for Prisoners from four countries.

"We find this initiative very important; it allows FIDE to extend its impact behind the borders of purely chess world.  Chess provides a route for incarcerated people into education; they find positive use of their leisure time and learn skills that help to turn their lives around. Playing chess teaches them how to improve their thinking and make better life decisions", says FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich about the program.

The Intercontinental Championship for Prisoners is held for the first time; still, many prisons and correctional facilities across the world took a keen interest in the initiative and joined by registering their teams to take part in the tournament. 43 teams, including 5 female teams and 3 juvenile teams comprised of four players with an unlimited number of substitutes, will be playing in the event's group stage. Prisoners from Italy, England, Armenia, Spain, Palestine, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates,  Columbia, Portugal, Philippines, Australia, Norway, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Mongolia, Uruguay, Ukraine, Serbia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Georgia, Zimbabwe, Turks & Caicos Islands, Croatia, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina, Cyprus, The Netherlands, USA and Macedonia are divided into six groups and will first compete in a round-robin chess tournament. Two top teams from each group will advance to the Championship round held on October 14.

The tournament will be broadcast live on the FIDE Youtube channel.

On Wednesday, October 13 at 11:45 a.m. EDT (4:45 p.m. CET), media are invited to attend an online press conference featuring FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. The virtual press conference will be held in Zoom and uploaded on the FIDE Youtube channel later that day. Media can either send their questions to the FIDE press team ( or, if they would like to participate on Zoom, send their contact info (name, media, position, contact phone number and email) to the same address.

Zoom meeting link and log-in details to join the conference:
Conference ID: 812 6559 5820.

All the information about the Championship can be found at the official website of the program:

About "Chess for Freedom" program

Promoting chess as a tool for education is one of FIDE's top priorities. However, the scope of work in this field is not limited to chess in school programs, and many other opportunities exist. In recent years we have witnessed the successful introduction of chess in prisons, through different educative programs across the world, with very positive outcomes.

Aiming to support and promote this line of work, FIDE and the Cook County Sheriff's Office (Chicago, USA) have signed a cooperation agreement, and together we are launching the "Chess for Freedom" program. Under the patronage of the 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov, the project kicked off in May 2020 with an online conference and an exhibition tournament with four participant countries.

On October 13-14, the program will continue with the first Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners – a much larger competition with the participation of tens of prisons representing all continents.