Through our program for the development of a chess culture for children and youth, especially for girls, the Studenica Foundation has been collaborating with the Chess Club "Dolphin" since 2016. That year, the Chess Club "Dolphin" started organizing annual tournaments on March 8th for girls attending Belgrade’s elementary schools, in order to increase girls’ interest in the game of chess, and attract more female players to competitions. Our support for the girls’ chess tournaments also contributes to promoting gender equality, as chess in Serbia is played more by boys than girls.
The annual chess competition which we support takes place on March 8th and is officially called "CHESS LADIES," or "CHESS QUEENS”.
By teaching chess we build the intellectual, moral and emotional skills and capabilities of children, and we do so by helping to finance this free of charge annual competition, including financing of medals and trophy awards to winners and participants, as well as purchase of equipment such as clocks. Chess supports the accelerated development of creative intelligence and moral disposition, success in transferring learning and knowledge from this field to other scientific fields. Chess players of the Chess Club "Dolphin" are often superior in school, in other sports disciplines, in entrance exams, in mathematics and science, etc. By supporting this project we give girls equal opportunities for future success in all walks of life.
So far, nearly 1,000 girls have participated in these tournaments. At all the events where students from Belgrade elementary schools competed, the most numerous were girls aged 7-12.
Data by Years:
The 2020 Tournament
The tournament was held in the Municipality of Vracar, Belgrade, with 200 girls participating.
The competitors were divided into age groups, and all tournament participants, regardless of their final placement, received medals, trophies and chess books. Gift packs filled with candy were also donated.
Thirty more girls participated in the final tournament this year (200 girls), than in 2019 (170 girls). In 2017 and 2018, 300 players participated in the tournament. But in 2019 a rigorous qualification selection was introduced for this final annual competition due to huge interest, due to a desire to raise the bar of the competition, and the inability to accommodate all interested players who wanted to participate. Thus, the tournament gained significantly in terms of quality. It also gained in the number of participants engaging in chess in that if the number of players who played in qualifying tournaments is counted, participation has increased significantly, and increases from year to year.
The promoter in all the final annual tournaments to date has been our legendary Serbian chess player, female grandmaster Alisa Maric, who holds the World Chess Federation (FIDE) titles of Woman Grandmaster and International Master.
The annual chess championship event is regularly followed by the media, as well as many prominent personalities from cultural and public life.
This year, girls from the age of 7 to 12 were the most numerous among female elementary school competitors from Belgrade.
The 2019 Tournament
The tournament was held at the Children's Cultural Center "Majdan" in Senjak, Belgrade. 170 girls participated.
Due to great interest and the inability to accommodate all interested players to participate, a system of qualifications was introduced this year. Thus, the tournament gained significantly in quality, but also in mass, as it allowed for more players to compete in qualifying tournaments.
This rigorous selection allowed 170 girls to participate in the final tournament this year.
In addition to the elementary schools that regularly participate in the tournaments, the event was supported by the City Municipality of Savski Venac, which provided a game hall. The event was also supported by many public figures, the main promoter this year was Alisa Maric, and the guest was Mr. Jan Lundin, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Serbia.
The 2018 Tournament
The tournament was held at Belgrade's N Hotel in Vozdovac. 224 girls participated. Each year, the event is held in a different Belgrade municipality. This year, the event was supported by the Town Municipality of Vozdovac, which secured a venue for the tournament.
This year, as well as in previous years, there has been an exponential growth of registered girls who wanted to compete, and a large number of media and public figures were involved.
The 2017 Tournament
This year the tournament was held at Belgrade's N Hotel in Vozdovac. 300 girls participated. This mass of participants also forced the organizers [DP1] to look for larger spaces than the school venues, and to hold the competitions in one place to monitor for quality and level of competition. The tournament also had high media support and coverage.
The 2016 Tournament
The first tournament in 2016 was held in the large hall of the Elementary School “Milan Đ. Milicevic" in Belgrade's Medakovic neighborhood. This first year, 98 players participated.
This year, the Dolphin Club also began organizing the annual March 8th Belgrade Elementary School Tournaments. Since the infancy of the program in 2016, the Studenica Foundation established cooperation with the Chess Club "Dolphin" and has given financial support for development of the program to foster a chess culture for children and youth, especially for girls.
The involvement of our Foundation to be a part of this project was fueled by our vision and intent to increase girls' interest and participation in chess and chess competitions. Our involvement also represents our contribution to strengthening gender equality, as chess in Serbia is more concerned with boys than girls.
Since 2016 girls’ chess competitions are held annually on March 8th on International Women's Day. The annual eighth of March tournaments are officially called "CHESS LADIES," or "CHESS QUEENS."
"Playing chess is a very important mental-intellectual effort and work for us and our lives. I claim this from personal experience. I started learning to play chess from the age of seven to eight. Chess has helped me a lot with the discipline and depth of thinking, the creation of visions, the defense of ideas I put into reality, as well as the original "moves" in crises or in discovering and using great opportunities and potential in my successful career and life in general.”
-Miroslav Michael Djordjevic, President of the Studenica Foundation