Chess.com’s Team Battle series continues on Saturday, March 28 at 12 p.m. Pacific Time (18:00 Central European Time) on Twitch.tv/Chess. This month’s theme, Femme Batale will feature a women’s continental clash between Europe and North America.
WFM Anna Cramling and IM Anna Rudolf will play for Europe against WFM Alexandra Botez and WGM Jennifer Shahade, who will represent North America. The women will fight for their share of a prize fund, with the majority of proceeds going to aid in the relief of the impact coronavirus has had on the mental health of individuals under quarantine. The charities, being organized in coordination with the marketing team behind ZipRecruiter and other top companies, will be announced this week.
The match will last two hours, featuring a 15+10 time control. The two teams of two players will play hand and brain to score as many points as they can before time runs out.
We all are responsible to stay at home and limit the spread of COVID-19.
—WFM Alexandra Botez
This team battle’s prize fund will feature $1,000 in cash as a starting point with 40 percent of all in-stream donations going towards the prize fund with the remaining 60 percent going towards charities aimed at serving those coping with mental health challenges during the prolonged quarantine.
“Without a doubt, the spread of COVID-19 has changed our everyday life. As we all have the responsibility of staying at home to limit the spread of the virus, we get to meet our nearest ones in more restrictive ways,” said Cramling, “These social limitations can be difficult, and we need to make an effort to help those who struggle the most with the lockdown. This Saturday, we are bringing to you an event that we hope will make your time at home a little more enjoyable, while fundraising for the people most affected by the virus.”
Botez, a veteran of two team battles, indicated her willingness to contribute to a worthwhile cause while entertaining viewers.
“We all are responsible to stay at home and limit the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, we should also make an effort to help those struggling with the mental and financial strain this lockdown is bringing,” said Botez. “The event this Saturday will be a fun way to connect with viewers while also fundraising for those who need it most at this time! “
Along with playing for the prize pool, the players will compete on behalf of charities aimed at combating the negative mental health effects attributed to prolonged isolation, and viewers will be able to donate to them during the stream.
The last edition of Femme Batale saw over $8,000 donated during the stream which contributed towards promoting girls’ and women’s participation in chess around the world.
IM Anna Rudolf had this to say about this special event: “It is really challenging the times we are going through right now with COVID-19, with so many people losing their jobs or having to cease their professional activities for an unknown period of time. This uncertainty puts a weight on us not “only” financially but emotionally too. And that is, under circumstances where we must stay at home in quarantine or self isolation, with only a very few people, if any, in the household. The silver lining in my opinion is that this pandemic happened in the modern era: while we need to physically isolate ourselves to contain the spread of the virus, we can stay connected with our friends and loved ones through the Internet. And we can also make new bonds and find like-minded people to hang out with in online communities, such as the chess community here on Chess.com or Twitch. I feel like the match on Saturday (which the Annas should win, obviously) will be yet another great example of just how positive and supportive this community is — and just how much we are all in this together. Let’s use this occasion for swapping social distancing for online bonding.”
Women’s chess is currently growing, with registration in the U.S. Chess Federation at an all-time high of 14.6 percent. As a leader of women’s chess in the U.S., Shahade will be making her second-straight appearance in the Femme Batale series.
“I can’t wait to have some fun and play some chess with Alexandra against the Annas in Femme Batale Part II as we raise money for those who need immediate relief from the scourge of COVID-19,” said Shahade, the host of the popular Ladies Knight chess podcast. “We may be alone in our homes, but make no mistake: we are all in this fight together. Stay Home and Chess!”
US Chess Women programs include girls’ clubs at national events, where girls from all over the country can meet and learn from top players. The organization also partnered with the Saint Louis Chess Club in awarding 11 projects in the U.S. with funds to promote girls’ and women’s chess, including “Chess Moms Play Too!” in North Carolina and confidence workshops hosted by “Girls To Grandmaster” in New York.
This team battle will kick off a series of creative team clashes, including USA vs Russia, Chess vs Poker, Celebrity Showdown and more on Twitch.tv/Chess and Chess.com/TV later this year, leading to a Team Chess World Championship in late-2020.