The Bermuda Chess Association [BCA] successfully organized an international friendly with Azerbaijan, one of the world’s top chess nations. Eight of Bermuda’s top young chess players of various ages competed in the match using Skype and laptops to view their foreign opponents.
“The 42nd Chess Olympiad in 2016 was held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan and chess is one of the most popular sports there,” the Chess Association explained.
“In fact, in 2009 the president of Azerbaijan made chess a mandatory part of the state-wide school curriculum. Azerbaijan is also home to the world’s number three FIDE rated player, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who has a current peak rating of 2817.0.
“This is the first time in Bermuda’s history that an online-international chess match has been organized between foreign competition, let alone against Azerbaijan, which is ranked #4 in the world of top chess countries.
“Chess has certainly adapted amazingly well to the new age of digital technology and social media. More and more chess federations are turning to online chess as a means of bridging the geographical gaps between countries while at the same time providing their players with additional experience.
“For a small country like ourselves, getting international experience is probably the biggest challenge facing the development of our youth athletes, not just in chess, but in all sporting disciplines. For the chess world, this represents a unique advantage we have over many other competitive sports and the BCA is certainly looking to expand our use of online chess matches.”
“As expected, the young Azerbaijan chess players proved to be formidable adversaries, but that didn’t stop some of our players from scoring in their games!
“In the U8 category, young Dylan Flanagan scored the first win of the match with the Black pieces and in the U16 category, Bermuda’s Conor Outerbridge scored a convincing win for Bermuda, also with Black. Overall, the result was 6-2 in Azerbaijan’s favor, but despite this, the results proved promising for Bermuda.
“The experience that our players have gained from this experience has been tremendous. We are honored to have been approached by the Azerbaijan Chess Federation to hold these matches and hope to continue to build our chess relations with them, and other federations, so we can organize more matches in the near future.
“The BCA has already been in discussions with the Jamaica Chess Federation and other chess neighbours in the Caribbean. Such partnerships are key to the continued growth of our youth throughout the island.”