“We want the central Bundesliga round to become a permanent institution in Berlin.”

Interview with Jörg Schulz, chairman of SF Berlin

Jörg Schulz

“We want the central Bundesliga round to become a permanent institution in Berlin.”

Interview with Jörg Schulz

Dear Jörg, the Schachfreunde Berlin are now hosting the central Bundesliga final round for the second time in a row. Could this become a permanent institution? What are the club’s plans? Are there any considerations for the next few years that can be published?

Jörg Schulz: That’s a difficult question to answer. We must not overlook the fact that we are an association, one with around 140 members, but only one. Not comparable with the German Chess Federation with its manpower and the machinery behind it. But we already have the idea of a long-term commitment of the central final round of the German Chess League to Berlin. And at least for 2019, the German Chess League has unanimously decided to return a central round to Berlin. Then it will be the first weekend in March. For 2020 we are holding talks with the hotel, but here the German Chess Federation has put a counter-event on the desired date of the German Chess League. So in 2019 again a central round in Berlin, and afterwards everything is open because of the date problem. But we want the central Bundesliga round to become a permanent institution in Berlin.

If you do it a little more often, you’ll usually get better. Were the chess friends already able to fall back on experiences in this year’s planning and preparation that made the organisation easier compared to last year? What innovations do the chess friends have in store for the organisation this year?

Jörg Schulz: Of course, the second time things are going better, rounder in the organization. We have received hints from the clubs involved as to where we can improve. Within the clubs we now know the procedures and approach the event more calmly. We want to become better in our media work. We were not satisfied even in 2017. We got a real professional on board, with whom things should get better. And we had to give a lot of thought to how we wanted to deal with the fact that the women’s Bundesliga did not want to play centrally in Berlin this time. I think we’ve come up with a lot of good events.

Last year, the financing of the central Bundesliga final round and the rather reserved participation of the associations was a topic that was also discussed in the chess press. Did the chess friends succeed in getting the German Chess Federation and the Berlin Chess Federation enthusiastic about this event for 2018?

Jörg Schulz: The financing was really a problem in 2017. As I said at the beginning, we are only a chess club, the board members have to pay with their own money if the event ends in minus. And of course there was a big anger in the club, but also with many chess friends outside our club, that the German Chess Federation left us standing in the rain! After all, we had organized a German Championship of the DSB. Whereby we have to emphasize that the Berlin Chess Federation was there from the first second on, supported us personally and financially. And that’s what he’s doing this year as well. After all, it’s not just about money. It is important that the associations are not only active as spectators, but also contribute ideas, events, contacts and support. That’s what makes the Berliner Verband so great. The DSB has currently taken on its role as a spectator again, let’s see if there’s more to it. The application for funding for this year has been made by us and the Presidium has approved it.

But what really pleases us and encourages us for the future is that the sports city of Berlin is still involved and providing financial support. And with the company UKA – Der Windparkentwickler there is a sponsor this time who supports the whole event as main sponsor. We are really grateful for this! We are also grateful for the financial support of Grenke AG.

The organisation of such an event requires many helping hands. Does the central Bundesliga final round find a resonance also in the width of the club members? In your opinion, is there even a connection between the rapid increase in the number of members in the club and the organisation of this event?

Jörg Schulz: We are a Bundesliga club that always pays very close attention to the mood in the club. Is the club behind its first team? Is the first team an accepted part of the club? We are exactly the same with such big events, which demand a club as a whole. Yes, we had many helpers and I know many in the club were proud of the event that we had wupped together. We were able to win many new members in the last years. That has many factors. The central final round in 2017 and the round robin round in 2017 have also certainly had a positive effect.