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Pierre Fattebene (FLDE): chess, a discipline overlooked by the business world

Requiring tactical and strategic skill, chess seems the ideal discipline for businessmen and women. What’s more, tournaments are the perfect networking opportunity. Pierre Fattebene, President of the Luxembourg Federation, wants to encourage decision makers to discover the game.

How is chess doing in Luxembourg?

​Founded in 1931 in Esch-sur-Alzette by representatives from four seminal clubs, La Tour de Limpertsberg, l’Échiquier Luxembourgeois in Rue de l’Eau and the Luxembourg-Gare and Esch-sur-Alzette clubs, the Federation now includes 17 associations. Four clubs stand out, having won 65 of a total of 79 titles: Gambit Bonnevoie (24), Dudelange (20), La Tour (13) and De Sprénger Echternach (8), the current defending champion. Individually, Charles Doerner won 11 titles from 1935 to 1952, while Josy Feller and Norbert Stull won six each. Today, Luxembourg is home to several international masters, including Michael Wiedenkeller and Fred Berend, who have obviously won individual titles at the national level. As for women, Elvira Berend also holds the rank of grandmaster and gave a brilliant performance when she won to become the Over 50s World Champion. Along with another international grandmaster, Alberto David, our elite players inspire 750 licensed players, including 70 women and 200 young people.

« A sense of strategy, tactics, strong theoretical foundations: qualities for chess and for business!»

What links are there between chess and the business world?

We must distinguish between the game itself and the positive effects of national and international events. When it comes to these events, I’m sorry to say that Luxembourg has very few players from the business world. This has two consequences. There is very little support for our discipline in terms of sponsorship to organise major tournaments and championships. Contrary to what we see abroad, decision-makers can’t take advantage of national and international opportunities to network, particularly in Eastern European countries where the International Federation has a number of contacts. As for the game itself, it requires a keen sense of strategy, tactics and, of course, theoretical foundations. In short, it requires qualities which businessmen and women should already have and be willing to develop!

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Once you realise that chess, although complicated at times, is an accessible discipline - as millions of men and women can testify - I would advise players to be patient. Success comes over time and with experience. A game of chess is like a battle between two armies. To win, you have to develop the best strategy and the best tactics. These qualities, which are sometimes innate, can be developed over the long term. Of course, players need to have a certain amount of free time to play chess. There are three kinds of games: normal games - up to 2.5 hours per player -, quick games - between 10 and 30 minutes - and blitz games, in which each player has 5 minutes to play. Businessmen and women just need time and determination to take part in and enjoy national and international competitions, which are the ideal opportunity to experience other worlds, both intellectually and professionally. I would encourage them to join us. They’re sure to enjoy a warm welcome from the Federation. They can find their nearest club on the Federation’s website.

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