Chess to the national coach
Photo: Mark Lennihan / AP
Chess is booming in the corona crisis.
In the worldwide shutdowns and lockdowns, more and more people are turning to the centuries-old game of kings at home - especially online.
The Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit" also inspires people who have not yet been interested in the game.
And world chess champion Magnus Carlsen is organizing a series of online tournaments with millions in prize money.
This has never happened before.
Chess actually seems to be a winner of the crisis - only in Germany are they oversleeping the boom, at least at the association.
The German Chess Federation (DSB) is busy with itself, anger in its own ranks has resulted in several resignations of officials in recent months.
At the center of criticism: national coach Dorian Rogozenco.
The chess federation now drew consequences.
On the homepage of the association it said on Monday evening that they had decided with the national coach by mutual agreement to go their separate ways.
DSB President Ullrich Krause thanked us for the good cooperation.
Rogozenco was quoted as saying that the work made him proud.
"Even if there were some conflicts in the end, I wish everyone all the best for their further chess development," said Rogozenco.
However, there were not just some conflicts, but some.
This culminated on Saturday in a rebellion of twelve top players, including 16-year-old Vincent Keymer, the greatest German talent.
The players published an open letter threatening that they would no longer play for the national team under Rogozenco.
The letter says that national coach Rogozenco is making "destructive decisions that have reached unbearable proportions."
Rogozenco in particular showed no respect for players.
The association evaded a dialogue.
Grandmaster Georg Meier: "That is unheard of"
Sven Simon / imago images / sportphotodienst
Georg Meier, long-time national player and initiator of the protest, specified the allegations in an interview with SPIEGEL.
Individual players have repeatedly had problems with Rogozenco in recent years, the Romanian has been national coach since January 2014.
In the past few months, however, there have been several conflicts that have now triggered the joint protest of the national players, according to Meier.
One reproach: Rogozenco is said to have organized individual training for one of the participants in the run-up to the German Masters, a tournament of eight German top players in August.
“That's unheard of because after that he played against his colleagues in the squad.
The association financed and organized its warm-up program, so to speak, under the guidance of the national coach.
That hit all the other players hard, «said Meier.
This training even led to the resignation of the advisor for competitive sports, Andreas Jagodzinsky, at the beginning of October.
In an internal mail from October 1, he complained that Rogozenco had not clarified the costs for the training, in which a grandmaster from the top 20 of the world rankings should have been involved, with him.
SPIEGEL was able to see the mail.
Accordingly, the training for the German player Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu took place, he is said to be a long-time friend of Rogozenco.
The training is said to have cost 4188 euros, a lot of money for an association like the Chess Federation.
Jagodzinsky should actually have approved association spending over 500 euros, but Rogozenco is said to have acted on his own initiative.
The DSB announced an investigation, which apparently is still ongoing.
There was no mention of this in the notification that has now been made.
National coach apparently opposed the association
There was another conflict about the German top player Elisabeth Pähtz and her participation in the Chess Olympiad in August, the team world championship, so to speak.
Shortly before, Pähtz 'online account on the chess platform lichess had been caught cheating.
Pähtz later stated that a friend had access to her account and won games with outside help.
Evidence that she was not involved in the fraud, she said privately to the chess federation and the world federation Fide.
The associations did not comment officially.
However, Pähtz said on "chessbase" that she had been banned from Fide for a day of competition because she was responsible for her account.
However, two players on the Olympic team, Rasmus Svane and Matthias Blübaum, did not want to play in a team with Pähtz as long as the allegations were not dealt with in a comprehensible manner, explains Meier.
Thereupon there should have been an agreement within the association that Pähtz will not be set up by the national coach.
In the last round of the tournament, Rogozenco apparently opposed this, put Pähtz on and deleted the two men from the team.
"That was a huge break between the players and the national coach," said Meier.
Later complaints had DSB President Ullrich Krause sanded up.
DSB President Ullrich Krause is also criticized by the players
Photo: Private / German Chess Federation / DPA
No respect for the women's team
Rogozenco should get along well with Pähtz, the best German player.
With many other members of the women's national team, however, there were always problems.
In recent years, Rogozenco is said to have often behaved disrespectfully towards women, team spokeswoman Sarah Papp told SPIEGEL: "It has happened that he freaked out, a few players started crying in his presence or afterwards." Rogozenco could not initially be reached for SPIEGEL to comment on the alleged allegations.
The women were happy when they got their own national coach two years ago.
Alexander Naumann became the so-called team captain, he should also be responsible for the line-up at tournaments.
Last summer, however, Rogozenco said he would decide on the line-up for the Olympics, even though, unlike Naumann, he had not trained with the women.
Thereupon Naumann resigned.
Meier and Papp both emphasize that they sought a conversation with the national coach and the association after the conflicts.
After the lack of reaction, the open letter was the last option.
The players want a dialogue and new solutions from the association.
Do you need a national coach?
Then the players also want to discuss whether the post of national coach is even needed.
He works full-time, although international games only take place once a year at the European Championships or the Olympics and there are seldom training camps for all players.
The national coach is partially financed by the elite sports sponsorship of the Ministry of the Interior, which paid the chess federation around 80,000 to 108,000 euros per year between 2014 and 2019.
The money for a national coach could also be invested differently.
Grandmaster Meier thinks it would be better to book coaches only for training camps or tournaments and only pay for them.
For a permanently employed national coach, there is "no substantive justification," he says.
Athlete spokeswoman Papp emphasizes that she would like a team captain for the women who can make his own decisions independently of a national coach.
“It would be important for us to have a trainer who has the same rights as the male trainer and who is not under the male trainer.
These are outdated structures, ”says Papp.
In order to implement such ideas, however, a dialogue between the association and the active is required.
It has now been announced for the coming weekend.
The DSB Presidium had invited the squad players to a video conference in order to talk about the future direction of the field of competitive sports, it said.
DSB President Ullrich Krause was apparently forced to react.
There are presidential elections in 2021.
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