After more than one year of preparation, FIDE is launching Chess ID, one of our most ambitious and long-term development projects. The purpose of Chess ID is to tackle two of the main problems that have to be solved in order to provide more effective services and tools for the worldwide chess community: lack of hard data, and fragmentation.
How big the chess community really is? So far, any attempt to come up with a reliable estimation has been unsatisfactory. The recent “boom” of online chess gave us a glimpse of our true potential, making a lot of activity resurface in an environment where it can be tracked and measured. But we are somehow still looking at the tip of the iceberg since not all chess activities are so easily transferred to the online world.
The problem is intrinsic to chess, a free-time activity that can be “consumed” in many different ways. There are those who are eager to play under any format, online or over the board. For many people, nothing has more appeal than the competition, while others prefer to solve puzzles or read chess books and magazines. Some like to play but have little interest in being spectators, while some others consume more than 15 hours a week of chess content. And we estimate than more than 30 million children take part in chess in school programs all over the world, mainly because of its educational benefits.
There is a FIDE database of almost one million registered players, of which 0,4 million have a FIDE rating. But in parallel, there are multiple online playing platforms with their own pool of players, there are separate results and reporting databases, independent national federations databases, and educational programs and courses without coordination or any exchange of information between them.
This fragmentation is a hurdle when trying to establish better interactions and wider development opportunities for the global chess community.
Chess ID aims at uniting all agents in the chess community, creating a unified ecosystem that will result in benefits for us all. A unique reference code will be assigned to any person engaged in any chess-related activity, on any capacity: players, coaches, instructors, arbiters, publishers, et cetera. A consolidated database for all of them will result in many practical advantages: the implementation of chess programs or initiatives would be more effective, and registering to a tournament or a seminar would be faster and easier. Chess ID will be used for online and offline worldwide recognition and Chess ID holders will have access to multiple services and benefits as members of a global activities program.
The means to achieve this goal are a conglomerate of digital tools and partnerships, and the first steps are being taken. The core of the project is an IT platform composed of several modules: personal rating and profile management, evens management and calendar, and an online gaming portal, to name a few.
The first of these modules to be built within this platform is a "game viewer", a basic tool to broadcast chess events. In the spirit of openness, transparency, and accountability, FIDE is pleased to announce the opening of a Call for Offers procedure to evaluate market conditions and to consider granting the rights to develop this browser-run application. You can find the technical requirements and all the required documentation in the following link: Call for Offers.