International Chess Federation
Saturday, 12 Dec 2020 13:50
Austria Chess Federation celebrates its centenary

Christian Hursky, President of the Austrian Chess Federation, poses with the commemorative magazine PHOTO: Fuerthner Christian

On December 12, 1920, the Austrian Chess Federation (ÖSB ) was founded in Vienna. As part of the celebrations, ÖSB has presented a special commemorative magazine and a limited edition of an exclusive watch. Grandmaster Markus Ragger, the first Austrian player to reach the 2700 mark, was chosen by the readers of 'Schach Aktiv' to receive the “Player of the Century Award”.

The ÖSB had planned numerous activities for this anniversary: a Grandmaster tournament with Markus Ragger, a special gala, and a world record attempt. But of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has also affected Austria and thwarted some of these plans, so the Austrian Chess Federation had to adjust and come up with alternatives.

A lot of effort was put in editing a commemorative magazine for the occasion and making it truly memorable. Produced by Echo Medienhaus, and with authors like Dieter Chmelar, Achim Schneyder and Michael Hufnagl, “the magazine shows impressively the rich chess scene in the country. And it is encouraging that the game of chess in Austria has a splendid future ahead of it in the next hundred years”, explains Christian Hursky, President of the ÖSB. The magazine extensively describes the rich chess life in present-day Austria: from the scholar chess champions in Dornbirn, to the U16 World Champion Dominik Horvath in Burgenland.  But of course, it also pays tribute to the giants from the past, and particularly, about the first world chess champion, who was born in Austria: Wilhelm Steinitz. The complete magazine can be found here: 

The magazine also includes a congratulatory message from the FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich: “A centenary is a very important occasion, and there are not many other sports federations who can boast such seniority! 100 years ago, coffeehouses in Vienna provided the archetype of a cultivated atmosphere that came with a cup of coffee, intellectual conversations, and of course playing chess. Today chess is reconquering public space and public attention as well: led by Markus Ragger, Austria can be proud of a talented group of young chess players. And today chess is not only still and again played in coffee houses: it is played in public spaces throughout the country. Austria’s chess community is a very lively one and has renewed its tradition through ten decades”, said the FIDE President.

A chess clock was also designed for this centenary, in a cooperation between the Austrian Chess Federation and the brand Jacques Lemans. This exclusive piece received the name of “Grandmaster”, and it is up for sale at the ÖSB website at a price of 139€. If you are a chess collector, you better hurry up, because only 300 units were produced! 

The ÖSB has been recognized as a professional sports association in Austria since 2005. Austria has achieved outstanding successes in recent years, especially in the youth categories, achieving 28 medals at recent European and World Championships. Most recently Dominik Horvath from Burgenland became the first Austrian junior world champion in history. At the beginning of the year, the Austrian Chess Federation gave itself a new, modern website and presented a new logo designed by Eva Urthaler.