Sheriff’s Chess for Freedom Program Wins at 3rd Annual Anthem Awards

Jan 31, 2024Press Release

Pictured left to right: Sonja Johnson, President of the Trinidad & Tobago Chess Federation, Dr. Mikhail Korenman, Cook County Jail Chess Coach

COOK COUNTY, IL – Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, in partnership with the International Chess Federation, is proud to announce the Chess for Freedom Program at the Cook County Jail has been awarded in two categories at the 3rd Annual Anthem Awards for the program’s global impact on the chess community.

This year’s Anthem Award Winners were selected from a pool of over 2,000 submissions from 44 countries by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). The Chess for Freedom Program was awarded Bronze in the awards’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion category, and was also chosen as this year’s first Anthem Community Voice Award winner selected by fans around the world.

“I’m pleased to receive this honor and extremely proud of everyone who has helped make this program what it is today – a worldwide model to promote the game of chess in jails and prisons,” said Sheriff Dart. “It has been an exciting journey with our partners at FIDE to see the program’s growth and success year after year.”

Since its launch in 2012, the Chess for Freedom Program has impacted participants of more than 2,000 men and women in custody, and the Jail has served as host  to multiple international chess tournaments through the sponsorship and support of FIDE.

“The Anthem Awards were born out of the desire to amplify and celebrate the voices that are creating sustainable change and to inspire others to take action,” said Patricia McLoughlin,

2023 Chess for Freedom International Tournament

Anthem Awards General Manager. “In a year where so much is at stake, it is incredibly important to recognize impact work and celebrate the progress happening globally. Congratulations to all of this year’s Winners.”

Additional winners announced at this year’s ceremony hosted in New York include actors Matt Damon and Selma Blair, Sesame Street, Chicago Sinfonietta, and many more.

Launched in 2021, The Anthem Awards honors the purpose and mission-driven work of people, companies, and organizations worldwide, across seven core causes: Diversity; Equity & Inclusion, Education, Art and Culture, Health, Human & Civil Rights, Humanitarian Action and Services, Responsible Technology, and Sustainability, Environment and Climate.