International Chess Federation becomes member of Global Esports Federation

International Chess Federation becomes member of Global Esports Federation

10 January 2024

The Global Esports Federation (GEF) is one of the most important organizations in the international esports industry. “With a mission to cultivate competition along with developing communities and the connection between sport, esports and technology”, as the GEF states itself, they aim to promote the credibility, legitimacy and prestige of esports all around the world. One of the main ways in which they do that is by organizing the Global Esports Games, one of the biggest international esports events in the world. The 2023 edition was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and attracted more than 950 players from all over the globe.

Despite the fact that the Global Esports Federation was only founded in December of 2019, in Singapore, the organization already boasts more than 130 global partnerships. These include member federations from all over the world, but also brands, publishers and developers, amongst others. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is the latest major federation to join the GEF, with its membership application receiving official recognition in December of last year.

Debut during 2023 Olympic Esports Series

In a move that may have surprised some, the international chess world has made a big step towards becoming a big part of the growing international esports industry. The International Chess Federation submitted an application for its membership back in September of last year and was inducted as an official member a few months later. This opens the doors to entirely new forms of chess, as well as online training, online competitions and community building. The sport is also expected to become a mainstay at major international esports events to come.

It is not the first time that chess has made waves in the world of esports. The sport actually debuted during the 2023 Olympic Esports Series and attracted more than 42.000 players from 219 different countries. This obviously helped speed up their membership application process with the Global Esports Federation. While the official Olympic event started on June 23rd, the qualifying stages started on a few months earlier, on April 1st. The qualifiers included Grand Masters Samvel Ter-Sahakyan (Armenia), Oleksandr Bortnyk (Ukraine) and Alexey Sarana (Serbia). It was the latter who eventually won the inaugural 2023 Olympic Esports Series chess event.

FIDE Deputy Chair elected to GEF Board

During the previously mentioned Global Esports Games in Riyadh, the Board of the Global Esports Federation also announced that Dana Reizniece-Ozola, current Deputy Chair of the International Chess Federation, was elected to the Board of the GEF. This appointment only reinforces the ambition of the organization to truly start shaping the future of chess within the international esports domain.

"I feel honored to become a member of this very dynamic family and also represent chess and FIDE”, says Reizniece-Ozola, “We will promote the credibility, legitimacy and prestige of esports along with suggesting ideas on how to best integrate chess in the global esports movement and its events."