Cook County Jail Chess Team Places Second in International Chess Tournament

May 11, 2021Press Release

COOK COUNTY, IL – Seven individuals in custody at the Cook County Jail competed this morning in an online international chess tournament against individuals in custody in Armenia, Spain and Russia, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

The tournament began 8:30 a.m. with opening remarks from Sheriff Dart, FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, and 12th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov. After a six-match, round robin competition, Russia was declared the victor with a total of three match wins. Cook County, representing the United States, came in second place with two match wins.

“Chess is more than an entertaining past time, the game teaches its players valuable life lessons,” said Sheriff Dart. “It requires these men to practice critical thinking and the consider the risks and rewards of their decisions, which are valuable skills they can take with them when they return to their communities.”

The Cook County Jail’s chess program started in 2012 and has hosted numerous chess dignitaries over the years, including Karpov. There are currently 14 participants in this program, which meets for an hour each week to practice. Today’s participants were chosen based on skill, and four of the players previously competed in the 2019 international chess tournament held at the jail.

“The game of chess transcends language and cultural barriers, and even the physical barriers within which these men are playing,” said Sheriff Dart. “These participants may not all speak the same language, but they were able to connect, compete, and enjoy their time together. After the difficult year we have all had, that is incredibly important.”