Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the International Chess Federation and the Asian Chess Federation. The aim is to establish, support, and develop the sport of chess for individuals with autism spectrum disorder affiliated with the organization
In conjunction with the victory of the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, in hosting the World Chess Olympiad in 2028, Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the International Chess Federation and the Asian Chess Federation. The aim is to establish, support, and develop the sport of chess for individuals with autism spectrum disorder affiliated with the organization. The collaboration between the three parties focuses on training and qualifying this group to engage in chess, participate in local and international sports tournaments and competitions.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Arkady Dvorkovich, the President of the International Chess Federation; Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Sultan bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Asian Chess Federation; and Abdullah Al-Humaidan, the Secretary-General of the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination. The signing ceremony took place at the Al Ain Exhibition and Conference Center on the sidelines of the Asia Youth, Junior, and Cadet Chess Championship.
The organization has initiated the rehabilitation and training of its members with determination, specifically those with autism spectrum disorder, in the game of chess. This is carried out by a team of specialized personnel, with the goal of preparing these individuals for participation in international tournaments and competitions. This announcement was made on the sidelines of the Asia Youth, Junior, and Cadet Chess Championship held in the city of Al Ain.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the International Chess Federation (FIDE) regulates special events and facilitates the participation of individuals with autism spectrum disorder in specialized tournaments. The MoU also involves the implementation of awareness programs, international conferences, informative lectures, and workshops about their engagement in chess. Additionally, it includes training for teachers and educators on working with individuals with autism, the development of training methodologies for these individuals, and continuous research with the sharing of results on the impact of chess on their social and emotional well-being.
On the part of the Asian Chess Federation, programs and training plans for chess games are developed and implemented, and the technical, skill, and physical development of players with autism spectrum disorder in Asia is assessed and measured. The Federation provides necessary training programs for coaches and human resources to execute the training based on agreed-upon programs. Full logistical support is offered, including the provision of training materials and equipment, the use of sports facilities, technical, administrative, and logistical support during regional competitions, and the involvement of stakeholders in workshops, seminars, and training courses organized by the Asian Chess Federation. Furthermore, the Federation supports and markets the products of individuals with disabilities, specifically those with autism spectrum disorder.
Based on the memorandum of understanding, the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination has established a chess team consisting of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The organization facilitates their participation in local and international competitions in coordination with the Asian and International Chess Federations. The organization provides all necessary support for the parties to use available sports facilities for training its members and organizing local and international sports tournaments according to prior agreements with the three entities. Additionally, it collaborates in conducting informative workshops on autism spectrum disorder and the mechanisms for dealing with various behaviors associated with disability characteristics. Furthermore, it contributes to spreading the culture of chess among the families of people with determination.
Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan, the President of the Asian Chess Federation, the President of the Emirates Electronic Sports Federation, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Ain Chess and Mind Sports Club, confirmed that the signing of the memorandum of understanding stems from the importance of enabling people with disabilities to engage in chess. The goal is to train and qualify them, especially those with autism spectrum disorder, to participate in the game. This includes the development of programs and sports activities tailored for them, scientifically preparing them to participate in local and international sports tournaments and competitions.
He expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation for this initiative, especially from the officials of the International Chess Federation, which includes 200 national federations from around the world. He also praised their fruitful cooperation with the Asian Chess Federation, which includes 53 national federations from different parts of Asia.
Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan commended the role of the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the organization. He acknowledged the organization's programs and initiatives that adhere to international standards, benefiting various categories of people with determination. These efforts aim to empower and integrate them with other segments and categories of society.
He affirmed that people with determination are an integral part of our Emirati society, and they will leave their mark in the practice of chess through the collaboration of the three entities: the International Chess Federation, the Asian Chess Federation, and Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination. This is in addition to the role of Al Ain Chess and Mind Sports Club, as well as our national and international specialized teams. These teams are being prepared to train individuals with autism spectrum disorder in the game of chess.
From his side Arkady Dvorkovich FIDE President: It’s wonderful to hear about your project, Infinite Chess, and its goal of using the game to enhance the socio-emotional well-being of children with autistic spectrum disorder. Through this agreement, you aspire to create new opportunities, empower, and positively impact the lives of children with special abilities in the region.
Your commitment to such a meaningful cause is commendable. If there's anything specific, you'd like assistance with or if you have any questions, feel free to let me know. Best of luck with your efforts!
His Excellency Abdullah Abdul-Ali Al-Hammadi, the Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, extending his greetings to the officials of the International and Asian Chess Federations for this collaborative initiative with the organization. He commended the efforts of the Asian Chess Federation, led by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Sultan bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, in promoting the game across all segments of society, particularly emphasizing their commitment to spreading it among individuals with disabilities.
Al-Hammadi stated, " Zayed Higher Organization is fully prepared to promote the game among its members with disabilities, especially those with autism spectrum disorder. We are committed to increasing the number of chess practitioners from these groups." He emphasized that chess is a mental sport that enhances cognitive abilities, creativity, and excellence. It plays a leading role in rehabilitation and training by fostering qualities such as patience, strategic planning, logical analysis, facing challenges, and developing leadership skills. The practice of chess has been shown to enhance the capabilities of individuals with autism and cognitive disorders.
The three parties expressed a shared commitment to complete the Memorandum of Understanding and partnership to train members of the organization, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder, in chess. The aim is to establish a nucleus for the UAE national chess team, facilitating its participation in local and international competitions.