Play Magnus Group’s ground-breaking Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour has been shortlisted for a top honour for its work promoting gender equality.
The nomination for the prestigious ESG Awards 2021 was announced on Friday with the winners being revealed on November 18.
Play Magnus Group’s entry, which centred on the Tour, is among 25 finalists across several categories. They include high-profile names like KPMG, The Natwest Group and Mastercard.
The Gender Equality category recognises successful campaigns or case studies where an organisation has improved gender equality in society.
Play Magnus Group launched the Tour, supported by the Swiss private bank Julius Baer, with the specific aim of promoting gender equality in chess.
For many years, the sport has battled a perception that it is a pursuit dominated by men. This theme was addressed in the hit Netflix documentary The Queen’s Gambit, which drew world-wide acclaim.
Statistics support this idea. Currently, there is only one female player in the world’s top 100 and out of more than 1,700 grandmasters worldwide, only 37 are women.
But Play Magnus Group has set its mission to tackle this disparity and increase participation rates in the game across the board.
“Chess is a symbol for peaceful change and has hundreds of millions of fans,” said Sebastian Kuhnert, the group’s Chief Business Development Officer.
“We work very hard to inspire more gender equality in and through the game of chess. Everyone at our Group cares deeply and gains energy from this recognition of our efforts.”
The six-month-long Tour started in April with a unique line-up showcasing some of the brightest young talents in chess.
Entries were sought after most of the chess tournaments around the world that young players used to rise to prominence were cancelled due to the pandemic.
In response, Play Magnus Group put up total prize money of $100,000 and made two of the game’s all-time greats, Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik, and teams of coaches available to the players to help them on their way.
Polgar, the strongest female chess player in history, and Kramnik, a former World Champion, led two mixed teams of youngsters competing against each other.
In total, 24 of the best young players in the world have taken part in the Tour representing 13 countries.
The Tour has now reached its Finals stage with the series ending this Sunday when the overall individual winner is crowned after four qualifying tournaments.
He or she will pocket $12,500 and a regular spot in next year’s elite Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, where the winner will get the chance to face World Champion Magnus Carlsen.
The Finals of the Tour is on-going this weekend and you can watch the action live on this site or on chess24 from at 10:00 ET | 16:00 CEST | 19:30 IST.