The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) ranks its players based on ratings from performance in tournaments. Due to the overwhelming skill of FIDE ranked players, practice sessions with such players are rare, and highly valued experiences. As a result, the Chess Club grabbed the opportunity to request Jinwoo Song, a Korean FIDE rated master, to come for an exhibition game against eight of the best players in the club.
Mr. Song, who is also a qualified arbiter for chess tournaments in Korea, will play eight players from the Chess Club on April 18 in a school-hosted tournament that will be open to spectators. The games will be played simultaneously, in which players will play Mr. Song on a rotational basis, and will be allowed to make their move only when Mr. Song is present at their board. Specific rules, as well as the players to be present at the event, will be decided the week after Spring Break.
The criterion for being labeled a FIDE master is having an Elo-rating of 2300 or above, which is equivalent to being at the top 1% of all chess players in the world. Due to the rare and unprecedented occasion, Marilou Anderson, Chess Club advisor, commented on the massive experience that the tournament will be offering for players who will be participating in the event.
“We plan on collecting registration fees from players through our club to compensate the time [Mr. Song] will spend with us,” Ms. Anderson said. “Before we send him the formal invitation [next week], we realize that this will be one of the greatest experiences we could ever have as novice chess players.”
One of the confirmed players for the game, Chess Club co-president Jiwhan Moon, commented on the importance of the event, and the level of skill required to make the games closer to a competitive level. As the most accomplished player in the Chess Club, with numerous KAIAC championship titles under his name, Jiwhan planned to incorporate more rigorous training for the players in the club.
“I’ve played against high-ranked masters in Korean competitions that I’ve been to,” Jiwhan said. “Playing against someone at that level is a lot of practice and gives me a lot of experience based on strategy and the brilliant moves overall. It’s a great opportunity for anyone playing, as well as anyone watching, because it’s such a rare, once-in-a-lifetime event.”