International Dortmund Chess Days with a new look

IPS event team acts between tradition and modernity

On 27 February 2019, nine people met at the "Burgschänke" restaurant in Dortmund-Huckarde to decide on the foundation of the association "Initiative Pro Schach e.V. (IPS)". In alphabetical order: Carsten Hensel, Andreas Jagodzinsky, Christian Jochmann, Guido Kohlen, Stefan Koth, Dr. Michael Negele, Hartmut Schulz, Siegwart Struck and Uwe Wolf.

After unanimous election as chair of the meeting, Carsten Hensel opened the meeting at 19:05. The statutes of the IPS were explained in detail and subsequently adopted unanimously by all present. It states: "The purpose of the association is the promotion of chess. This purpose of the statutes is realised by the organisation, realisation and event of chess events in the fields of sport, art, science, education, cultural and chess history.                    

As a result, the IPS board was unanimously elected, Stefan Koth (1st chairman), Hartmut Schulz (2nd chairman), Carsten Hensel (project manager), Siegfried Struck (treasurer), Christian Jochmann (secretary) and Uwe Wolf (treasurer).   

On 20 August 2019, IPS applied with a new concept for the right to organise the "International Dortmund Chess Days - Dortmunder Sparkassen Chess Meeting" from 2020 onwards under its own responsibility and was awarded the contract by the previous organiser "Sport- und Freizeitbetriebe" of the city of Dortmund against competitors. With this decision, all rights to the event were simultaneously transferred to IPS. The City of Dortmund remains as a partner and has been sponsoring the event without interruption since it began in 1973. Thomas Westphal took over the patronage of the Dortmund Chess Days after his election as Lord Mayor in 2020.

The Dortmund Chess Days in a new guise    

Together with the city and the title sponsor Sparkasse Dortmund, a new corporate design was developed and at the same time the event name was changed to "Sparkassen Chess Trophy - International Dortmund Chess Days". In addition to the new look of the Chess Days, a communication concept was subsequently created that, in addition to the classic media, would like to pay considerable attention to the digital requirements of today, also and especially with regard to the topic of chess and its modern development.

The following changes were implemented:

  • New venue Westfalenhalle GmbH, Congress Dortmund
  • Chess festival of all levels under one roof
  • Digitalisation offensive (new website, founding of a YouTube channel, inclusion of digital media such as Facebook and Twitter, club's own video production as a streaming tool, distribution of moving images all over the world)
  • New sports concept; NC World Masters of the absolute world elite as Dortmund's unique selling point, Germany Grand Prix, NRW Youth Cup boys/girls, Sparkassen Open (under pandemic conditions digital)
  • New art and culture concept
  • Intensification of cooperation with the world federation FIDE    

Due to the Corona pandemic, the event could not take place in 2020. The "Sparkassen Chess Trophy - 48th International Dortmund Chess Days" had to be postponed by a whole year. However, the IPS event team used this time optimally to push ahead with digitalisation and optimise other fields.          

Strategic partnerships established

The pandemic has hit the entire event industry to the core and has naturally also made it impossible for IPS to acquire further sponsors for the Chess Days. In the future, such acquisitions should further increase the international significance of the festival for Dortmund. Nevertheless: Even during the biggest crisis in the history of the Dortmund Chess Days, IPS has already opened the doors wide for one or two strategic partnerships.  

In addition to the cooperation with the world federation FIDE, IPS is already in close exchange with the Google subsidiary DeepMind. The London research company, with its founder and CEO Demis Hassabis, had developed, among other things, the self-learning artificial intelligence "AlphaZero" and occupies a leading position in the scene worldwide.         

The rich tradition of the Chess Days as well as the bridging between chess and art should not be neglected despite all the technological development. This almost inevitably leads to the desire to think about a "Dortmund International Chess Days" sponsorship and friends' association. IPS would like to start this process very soon. It should be nationwide and realise social activities for the benefit of the event.

Our love for chess is unbroken in Dortmund. And even quite independently of the organisation of the "Sparkassen Chess Trophy - Internationale Dortmunder Schachtage" as an outstanding project of the IPS, our club would like to gradually become involved in the topic of chess in the coming years within the framework of special events as an educational medium - also via digital platforms. 

Dortmund, May 2021

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