London Chess Conference

Saturday 5th Dec - Day 1

Programme sessions are in GMT (London time)

09:00 - 10:00

Welcome: Zurab Azmaiparashvili  [President ECU] Keynote: Arkady Dvorkovich   [President, FIDE]

Chess contains a multitude of possibilities which humans yearn to master. Chess is the natural crucible for developments in computer science and artificial intelligence.

The game has been transformed in the Covid era – over the board chess has given way to online chess. Although we are planning on the return of over the board chess, there have been many issues arising from the rapid deployment of digital chess.  Chess creates challenges for technological innovations including for broadcasting / fan experience, chess equipment, online/hybrid competitions, anti-cheating and fair-play more broadly.

If we take a longer-term perspective, we see that chess has always been a driver of technological change. Historically, the emphasis has been on improving playing levels. Alan Turing, Claude Shannon and John von Neuman were early pioneers of both computer science and chess programming. In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue beat the best player in the world Gary Kasparov.  In 2018, Alpha Zero – the artificial intelligence engine nutured by Demis Hassabis from Google DeepMind – proved itself to be the world’s strongest chess engine.  Chess will continue to push technology to its limits. 

Now we are all playing chess online, we are faced by a whole new range of issues to which solutions are required. No doubt these solutions will have an impact on other areas of life e.g. anti-cheating technology may be applied to proctoring examinations.  Chess provides fertile ground to convert abstract problems into world-changing opportunities.



10:00 - 11:00

David Smerdon receives the award from Baroness Hale of Richmond for “The Complete Chess Swindler” (New in Chess) 

The Complete Chess Swindler is ECF Book of the Year

The subtitle explains the aim of the book – ‘How to save points from lost positions’. It is the fate of all chess players to sometimes wind up in lost positions, but Smerdon argues that does not mean a player should give up trying to save the game. There are many ways to resist, and this book is a manual of weapons – strategic, tactical and psychological – that the reader could use. Saving a lost game can sometimes be as rewarding as winning one!

Smerdon starts by looking at the psychology surrounding swindles. A swindler has to know both his own mind (Tal being the perfect example of optimistic resourcefulness) and that of his opponent (are they anxious, want to get the game over quickly for whatever reason, or prefer a simple technical win to complicated but quicker victory?). He then goes onto consider the various approaches a swindler may use such as a ‘Trojan Horse’ and the ‘Decoy Trap’, and many others. But the above does not work unless a player knows various ways that enable a potential swindler to escape his fate, such as stalemate or perpetual check. The book contains many examples of the various positions and techniques that can be used. Smerdon concludes with 110 exercises to develop the reader’s swindling skills of various degrees of dificulty.

What lifts the book above the ordinary is Smerdon’s quality of writing and his enthusiasm for chess, its players, and the chess world. As an academic in behavioural economics he has a sharp eye for human nature and enlivens the text with many quotes and pointed footnotes. Of course, the book’s subject provides much amusement – who does not enjoy (unless you are the victim) a good swindle?  

An outstanding Book of the Year 2020, which combines insightful discussion of a previously unexplored subject with good writing and great entertainment throughout. Ideal for these difficult times.

Ray Edwards, the chair of the BOTY panel, will explain why the book won the prize. Following his laudatio, David Smerdon will be interviewed by session host Sean Marsh.

The prize will be presented by Baroness Hale on behalf of the panel. Lady Hale was President of the Supreme Court of England from 2017 until her retirement in 2020. She is the widow of former panellist Julian Farrand who died recently and is greatly missed by the chess community.  

David Smerdon´s publisher Allard Hoogland (New in Chess) will also be present.


10:00 - 11:00

Jon Kristian Haarr (SK Offerspill, Norway)

Erik Biemans (SG KiNG, Netherlands)

Tim Wall (Northumbria Chess)

Ruy Moura (ICC)

Can over the board and online chess go together? A few organisers have started to experiment with hybrid competitions. Clubs like Offerspill or SG KiNG sustain a geographically spread membership thanks to digital activities. Online teams can play together from far and wide. Platforms offer hybrid solutions.

Host: Stefan Löffler (ChessTech)

11:00 - 12:30

Sean Marsh (CSC, chair)

Sarah Longson (UK Chess Challenge)

Luis Blasco de la Cruz (Villalba 64, Madrid)

Vitor Cardoso (Teacher and Chess Teacher, Portugal)

Alexander Kostyev (Russian Chess Federation) 

When schools don´t allow tutors to visit or are closed altogether, the only way of continuing chess is online. In this session projects and coordinators from different countries share how they provide instruction, teacher training, exercises and competition digitally.

11:00 - 12:00

John Ashworth (Caplin)

Sebastian Kuhnert (chess24)

Jim Egerton (Business on the Board)


During the pandemic, online chess events and activities became more important, bigger and costlier than before. How is their impact?  What is the return on investment for chess sponsors now? This round table brings together perspectives of a sponsor, a promoter, a consultant, and a fundraiser.

The session is hosted by John Foley.

11:00 - 12:00

Wolfgang Grünstäudl (University Wuppertal)

David Smerdon (University of Queensland)

Alexander Matros (University of South Carolina)

Alex Holowczak (English Chess Federation)

Cheating creates obvious costs to honest players and in the supervision of competitions. But cheating and also anti-cheating have also hidden costs. Assumed cheaters suffer from (cyber-)bullying. Exclusion can also come through technical requirements that go too far for some players or beyond their capacities. Dealing with cheating issues is a burden on arbiters. This session is starting out from research on cheating in other contexts

The session is hosted by Vince Negri (Game Ahead Consulting).

12:00 - 13:30

David Joerg (Learn Chess with Dr Wolf)

David Beaton (Chessable)

Dmitri Shneider (Chessable)

Learning and training tools are evolving fast. An independent developer and a manager from an industry leader discuss what innovations are within reach and give a glimpse of what they have in their pipeline.

Host: Stefan Löffler

12:00 - 13:00

Noam Manella (author)

Jacob Aagaard (Quality Chess)

“Think Like a Machine!” proposes new avenues for human thinking and chess training. In this book presentation co-author Noam Manella presents positions from modern tournament play in which computers detect jaw-dropping continuations and discusses the limitations that so far have kept human players from finding them.

Noam will be joined by his publisher, Jacob Aagaard from Quality Press, who will address implications for chess training.

Host: Sean Marsh

13:00 - 14:30

Salomėja Zaksaitė (FIDE Fair Play Commission, Law Institute of Lithuania)

Shohreh Bayat (International Arbiter)

David Cordover (Tornelo)

Roland Walker (

Ruy Moura (ICC)

Chris Callahan (Lichess)

Sanjoy Bannerjee (chess24)


What can platforms, organisers, arbiters and federations do fight cheating in online chess? This round table brings together representatives of platforms, international federations and arbiters to discuss the status quo and how to take anti-cheating to a higher level.

Host: Macauley Peterson

14:00 - 15:00

Jesper Hall (FIDE-ECU working group, chair)

Jerry Nash (FIDE-ECU working group)

Salome Thomas-EL (school principal, chess coach)

Frank Bicker (

There are only rough estimates of how many children are learning and playing chess in schools worldwide. FIDE and ECU have started a working group that includes the Armenian Chess Research Institute in order to conduct a global survey into all aspects of chess in schools. It is built upon the findings and methods of an earlier ECU survey in Europe (2015-2017). The set-up and first results of the new survey will be reported in this session. A new website that assembles research about chess in education is presented. Salome Thomas-EL, a school principal and public speaker, will address how the benefits of chess are best packaged and communicated to decision-makers.   

The session is chaired by Jerry Nash.

14:00 - 16:00

Pep Suárez

Joan Buch Prades

Esteban Jaureguizar

David Martínez

Adrián Randazzo

Ruy Mora

Encuentro de presentatores y partecipantes hispanohablantes. 

Pep SuarezLa enseñana del ajedrez en tiempos de TIC
Joan Buch PradesCómo supervisar a los jugadores de forma efectiva en torneos de ajedrez online. La historia de SzuperChess y su sistema anti-trampas”
Esteban JaureguizarEl Video en ajedrez
David MartinezPuede el ajedrez ser un deporte de masas?
Adrian RandazzoAcademia Fide en el Ajedrez educativo y de competencia
Ruy MoraArea de administración de torneos y Anti-Cheating,

Anfitrión del encuentro: Pep Suárez

15:00 - 16:00

Shohreh Bayat (International Arbiter)

Judit Sztaray (International Arbiter)

Shohreh Bayat and Judit Sztaray are leading arbiters who share their perspectives on the issues arising from online tournaments. Holding tournaments online is becoming an essential way to keep players engaged, club members connected, and continue many annual tournaments world wide. In this lecture, interested organizers and arbiters will have the opportunity to see a comparison between platforms with their most important features and guidelines on how to choose tournament formats. Speakers will share their experiences on the role of arbiters in online tournaments and staffing events appropriately, the virtual playing hall and necessary equipment and discuss useful tools and commands available. Best practices to ensure fair play will be explained and examples on how to understand and evaluate fair play reports will be demonstrated.

The session will be hosted by Anastasia Sorokina.

15:00 - 16:00

Roland Walker ( Director of Research)

Joan Buch Prades (

Vince Negri (Game Ahead Consulting, chair) 



Roland Walker,´s Director of Research, will explain why detecting normal cheaters is a solved problem and will address the challenges of speeding up the detection and nailing down strong players when they cheat. 

Vince Negri will discuss possible attack vectors against pure technological measures and privacy concerns. 

Joan Buch Prades will present the novel anti-cheating system of his brand new platform Szuperchess. 

15:00 - 16:30

Rita Atkins (ChessPlus, chair) 

Tiago Hirth (Ludus)

Jorge Nuno Silva (Ludus)

Beyond Chess I: Didactics of Strategy Games

This session is hosted by the Erasmus+ project 8by8. What simple strategy games can also be played on the chess board? What are the educational advantages of simpler games in comparison with chess? What observations have been made during game classes? How can strategy games help to promote mathematics and metacognitive skills in pupils.

Logos of Erasmus Plus 8by8 Project partners

16:00 - 17:00

Chris Callahan (Lichess)

How can a non-commercial platform thrive in a competitive environment? 

Lichess is a free platform for playing chess and its variants. The remarkable rise of Lichess has accelerated during the Covid period.  It is now one of the most popular playing platforms in the world. It is also becoming important for chess coaches. Lichess is operated as an open-source project and incorporated as a charity based in France.

What developments are in the pipeline? How does Lichess cooperate with external developers? 

Chris Callahan will talk about the philosophy of Lichess, give an overview of the website, including its latest features, and explain how a non-profit organisation manages to thrive in the online chess scene. 

We have reached out to other open source chess developers, which may be announced here as discussants.

Host: Macauley Peterson

16:00 - 17:00

Alessandro Dominici (Co-ordinator / Alfiere Bianco)

Miriam Minardi (CSEN National Sports Educational Centre)

Jesper Hall (European Chess Union)

Carl Fredrik Johansson (Sweden)

Luis Blasco de la Cruz (Spain)

Marcel Pruijt (Chessity)

“CHESS: A GAME TO SPREAD AT SCHOOL” (CGS) is a project aimed at primary school teachers to give them a peer-to-peer pedagogical training tool based upon to address the educational needs of their pupils. The purpose is to use the game of chess in the classroom for the development of key competencies especially with respect to the STEM subjects. The CGS project has recently been awarded €423k by Erasmus+, the educational arm of the European Union.

Alessandro Dominici, the project manager, will give an overview of the project.

16:00 - 18:00

Les retombées de la série “Le jeu de la Dame”, l’explosion du jeu en ligne, le phénomène de la triche.

Intervenants annoncés

Les débats seront animés par Franck Droin, Président chez KAISSA

Speakers announced

The debates will be moderated by Franck Droin, President at KAISSA

French English


Quelle sont les retombées sur le monde des échecs de la série “Le jeu de la Dame” ?
mpact -ou non- sur l’économie échiquéenne.

D’autres sujets seront également abordés lors de ce webinaire comme celui de l’explosion du jeu en ligne et du phénomène de la triche.


What is the impact on the chess world of “The Queen’s Gambit” (miniseries) ?
Influence -or not- on the chess economy.

Other topics will be discussed as well during the webinar, especially the explosion of online gaming and the cheating phenomenon.

Contact :

Leonard Echecs

Contact :

Leonard Echecs

La conférence sera retransmise également en direct sur la chaînes Youtube ChessPlus

17:00 - 18:00

Günter Beikert (school teacher)

Axel Smith (Swedish Chess Federation)

Lennart Quante (German Youth Chess Association)

In order to prevent a global climate catastrophe, mankind has to change its play. The international chess community can contribute by reducing its emissions and taking a leading role, as Günter Beikert layed out in an article in ChessTech News. This workshop explores how to educate and mobilize chess organisations, players and organisers. 

The workshop is hosted by Eric van Reem

17:00 - 18:00

Paul Meyer-Dunker (Berlin Chess Federation)

Arne Horvei (Play Magnus)

The Pro Chess League was only the beginning. Chess has moved online, and it has experienced a remarkable influx of Twitch viewers and streaming culture. Does that make chess an E-sport like Dota 2 or League of Legends? Do we have to reinvent our game to make it fit its new digital environment? What can chess learn from E-sport? Or should we be careful to separate ourselves from these in order to not become just another game? 

The panel is chaired by Conrad Schormann (ChessTech).

17:00 - 18:30

Cesco Reale (University of Pescara)

Cameron Browne (Maastricht University)

Etan Ilfeld (MindSports Olympiad)

Maurizio Parton (University of Pescara)

Beyond Chess II: Strategy Games and Technology

This session is hosted by Jorge Nuno Silva, who leads the Erasmus + project 8by8. How can strategy games promote abilities and interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)? Why do scientists study the genealogy of strategy games? What was learned at the Mind Sports Olympiad´s first online edition? What is the impact of AI on Go?

“Pentamind”, a documentary about the best strategy games players in the world, can be seen during the conference days on Youtube.

18:00 - 19:30


Mark Levitt (investor, Trixta)

Asim Pereira (entrepreneur, MyChessApps)

Sasa Radic (funding and start-up expert)

Gerald Tan (Chief Product Officer, Play Magnus)

Moderated by Macauley Peterson 

The finalists will be announced during the day.

Five pre-selected entrepreneurs will present their new chess company or project. They will have met with our jurors before and, based on their feedback, bring an improved pitch to this public presentation. The jurors Mark Levitt, Asim Pereira, Sasa Radic and Gerald Tan will analyze and comment. Finally the audience will vote on The Best Chess Startup 2020. 

More information