Thursday 11 June 2020

An Interview With Kineke Mulder: Part Two

Yesterday we presented the first part in our major interview with Kineke Mulder, who specialises in outdoor community chess events in Austria.

Kineke's fascinating and inspirational project is something which could - and should - be tried in many more places once the current emergency is over.

Yesterday we paused just after Kineke told me the outdoor events had achieved a record attendance of 70 people. The figure for the whole of 2019 is over 1,800 people, all of whom played at least one game of chess. Members of the local chess clubs also attended.

1,800 clearly represents a highly significant footfall, by anyone's standards, and is a sign of what can be achieved with determination, commitment, resilience and faith. 

We now resume the interview...

It must be very frustrating for you to put everything on hold during the current emergency. How will the world look after the lockdown recedes? Do you think there will be any lasting impact on your own activities?

I would say it's a pity. I know for some of my regulars, the Friday night chess event is the highlight of their week. But really painful is the suffering, loss, existential fear and other cruel fates which come with the pandemic for a lot of people worldwide. It seems to hit the poor the hardest. Who would have guessed.

This year will be a major hiatus... Worst case: No sessions at all; let’s hope for next year.

Photograph © Kineke Mulder

What are your plans for the future of Chess Unlimited?

Since its beginning, Chess Unlimited has been in a state of constant evolution. In the future it will just as well adapt to “the new normal”, what ever that is going to be. I have always ideas popping up in my mind and I am confident it is going to stay that way.

It is a major project. Are you if need of any help and, if so, in what form? (Do you need equipment, more publicity, more local help...?)

First of all, I have my husband who is the biggest help of all. He is a Jack of all trades.

I love to network and exchange ideas with the chess community. If a lot of “chess people” know about my initiative, there are good chances to get valuable input, which can help optimising my project. To answer the question, I would say publicity is great. So... thank you for having me!

You are very welcome!

I have a lot of chess friends who are members in various chess clubs. There are very supportive people amongst them. For example, when I need an arbiter or chess material to borrow. Last Autumn I needed some strong players to challenge a chess club from Amsterdam. WIM Katharina Newrkla, WFM Maria Horvath and FM Peter Sadilek came running to play outdoors in a cold night. At other times FM Joe Wallner and GM Rainer Buhmann both played a simultaneous chess session for my crowd, for free!

Photograph © Kineke Mulder

But I am also making a lot of associates outside the chess world. That is not only important to find interesting venues for tournaments, or to join street festivals and other urban hustle to add chess fun. I think it is also important so chess can gain popularity outside the existing chess community.

Although it’s a big project I like to keep the framework of each event manageable and I don't want to rely too much on outside help. It is great to stay self-contained.

All very interesting, Kineke. We will be back with the third and final part of our interview at the same time tomorrow.

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