Cook County Jail Chess Team Posts Strong Finish in its Largest Intercontinental Chess Competition

Oct 14, 2022Press Release

COOK COUNTY, IL – The Cook County Jail’s men’s chess team finished 3rd in its division during the championship round of an intercontinental chess competition for detained individuals from nearly four dozen nations representing every continent except Antarctica, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

Hosted by the Cook County Jail and sanctioned by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners featured 83 teams from jails and prisons in 46 countries.
This was the Jail’s largest chess competition to date, and the first to include women from the Cook County Jail.

“Chess has been a part of programming in our Jail for years,” Sheriff Dart said. “We have seen the benefits it can provide to those in custody at our facility, and I’m so glad to see that is has caught on in so many other countries. We are proud to help facilitate individuals in custody all over the world to connect over and compete in such a mentally stimulating game.”

Cook County Jail’s men’s team finished 1st in group play in the competition’s first day on Thursday, advancing to Friday’s championship round. The women’s team finished 3rd on Thursday, winning their very first match and drawing during the second match. They did not advance to the championship round.

During Friday’s play, the Cook County Jail’s men’s team finished in 3rd place in its division, which was won by Team Columbia. Team Philippines was the winner of the other division.

On Monday, Oct. 17, teams Columbia and Philippines will play the championship round in the men’s division, and teams Mongolia and Serbia will play the championship round in the women’s division.
This was the seventh international competition hosted by the Cook County Jail since the chess program was launched in 2012. Since then, the program has hosted numerous chess dignitaries over the years, including chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov.

In March 2020, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office signed an agreement with FIDE – the governing body of international chess competition – formalizing the organization’s logistical support of future international online matches through their Social Service Commission. In turn, Cook County Jail will serve as the hub for FIDE-led International Chess for Freedom events.

Since its inception, approximately 1,300 individuals have participated in the chess program while in custody at the Jail. Program participants practice weekly, and the 14 players who represented Cook County Jail in this tournament were chosen based on skill.

➢ This year featured 83 total teams, including:
– 58 male teams
– 12 female teams
– 13 youth teams

➢ The following countries participated:
– Philippines
– England
– Turks & Caicos Islands
– Italy
– Australia
– Germany
– Armenia
– Serbia
– Norway
– Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Ecuador
– Argentina
– Czech Republic
– Kyrgyzstan
– North Macedonia
– Colombia
– South Sudan
– Mongolia
– Spain
– India
– Bulgaria
– Croatia
– México
– Trinidad & Tobago
– Georgia
– Slovenia
– Portugal
– El Salvador
– Netherlands
– Canada
– Latvia
– Greece
– Uruguay
– Romania
– Montenegro
– Jersey (United Kingdom crown dependency)
– Zimbabwe
– Grenada
– Niger
– St. Lucia
– Jamaica
– Brazil
– Kazakhstan
– Iran
– United Arab Emirates