by Peter Long
Late in 2020, I thought we had finally established a genuine partnership to develop training capacity in Africa.
These seminars were to be the start of a regular yearly activity where greater reach could be achieved through regional vs country accessibility, use of a common language, and a lower cost (free in this case) with increased quality.
The next step was developing a course to be administered as a five to 20-day hands-on training of national coaches that would be tasked with working with young talents in their countries.
Again, they are free and given a complete set of foundation materials to use with their students between 1200-1700 levels.
Our idea was not only do we teach the trainers how it was done successfully in other countries but to also walk them through a set of materials that they could immediately use and from which to build over time,
To do this, we only wanted interested Federations to commit to a formal national junior development program in their country and have these national coaches attend these camps. They had to organise it, either online or on-site, if they could find the money for the venue or get an allocation from FIDE with their application.
It has been almost two years now with no repeat of the initial seminars that the FIDE Development Fund funded.
There has also been no take-up of the foundation development training course even if several Federations, if only just once, expressed an interest.
The bottom line is we cannot force anyone to do what they will not. It is not just Africa where the priorities in chess tend to not be on a long term and in “less sexy” capacity building. I have had the same response from the many Island states that make up a large part of the Caribbean and all of Oceania.
Peter Long is an experienced organiser and arbiter, a former Malaysian champion, and a successful trainer of young talent who is currently serving as Secretary of the FIDE Trainers Commission.
FIDE Trainers Seminar in Nairobi