Mr Darcy Lima, thank you for accepting this interview. Can you please give us a short overview of the chess development in Brazil?
We are growing fast due to a synergy with social and educational projects. The way the Brazilian Chess Federation supports some events has increased the number of over the board tournaments. The recent past year (2015) we had a record number tournaments valid for our National and FIDE ELO.
There is a digital revolution in the world of the chess; can you share with us your views on this?
The penetration of Internet and online connections and the diffusion of the social networks are social phenomena to be observed without making the mistake of understating them. We would commit a major mistake if we thought that the world of the chess can do without them.
Can you tell us your experience regarding online chess?
It is not a problem for me to tell you about a few mistakes I did in this regard, out of inexperience. When we started the first pilot project in the year 2013 we were not yet ready and we paid the toll of the pioneers. Actually we underestimated the quality of the offer of services that must be associated to the plain offer of a game platform. The official Federation website cannot be a lifeless alternative to the many websites available in the Net. It must be something unique.
Let me explain what I mean. First of all are the official titles and national championships for the various categories. The official federation site must be the place where the players challenge one another, as they do at their club tables. In this respect, the Anti-Cheating system, like the whole game platform, is offered by Premium Chess and is the same one that FIDE chose. This is a guarantee for us. This year we are offering 162 online official tournaments on CBX Arena!
This is indeed a very big number, well done. And are there other services offered by the game platform?
Sure. Among the many innovative services I would like to cite the possibility to broadcast all the games via the Internet, including over the board games, and also our trainers’ remote support for both one-to-one and one-to-many lessons. By support I mean that there is a great variety of tournaments that can be played OnLine. And also the service of the Ticket Office, that allow us to collect subscriptions for tournaments and the costs of the lessons.
Is such a varied range of services be probably difficult to manage?
No, the opposite. I can tell you by direct experience that in less than a week of training everyone can manage the game area and all its services. Otherwise we could have never launched ourselves into such an ambitious plan; also because the Brazilian Federation, like so many others globally, suffers from a chronic lack of resources.
You have mentioned training. Have you got specific programs for children and for schools?
This is a basic point of our strategy. We signed an agreement with Premium Chess for the Junior Arena. This specific section of the game platform was designed for playing and for teaching chess to kids; it also includes the basic functions of Parental Control for the protection of the kids’ safety. With this offer we are in the process of negotiating a very articulated plan with the Education Ministry for the use of such technologies to teach chess in all schools.
You sound very enthusiastic for what you have done up to now. What are your plans for the future?
Enthusiasm cannot be missing when we face new challenges and we are confronted with the requirements of the new generations. As for future plans, we have a very good relationship with our technological partner Premium Chess. Our partner and us negotiate and consider a series of new services and functions that will make the offer of online game even more unique and appealing. If you come to see me in a few months perhaps we can talk about this.