World Amateur Chess Champion

ERGO staff member returns from Greece with world championship title

Magazine, 08.01.2020

ERGO now has a world chess champion: Olaf Arndt won the title at the World Amateur Chess Championship in Crete. Colleagues in Düsseldorf surprised the 55-year-old with a special welcome back.

Schachweltmeister Olaf Arndt

When Olaf Arndt came back to work with his golden trophy, the entrance to his office was covered with festive decorations – and chess strategist Olaf Arndt was visibly moved: “My colleagues have always supported me, but I didn’t expect anything like this.”

But the ERGO employee, who has been at the Company since 1986 and works in the Private Customers Liability/Property operations area, richly deserved the praise he received. He had won his rating group at the ACO (Amateur Chess Organization) World Amateur Chess Championship in Crete, beating 48 other contenders to first place. A year earlier, he had achieved “silver” as World Championship runner-up.  

180 chess players from more than 20 countries

Almost 180 chess players in seven rating groups from more than 20 countries competed in Crete. The mental acrobats fought it out for 3½ hours a day or more. Arndt beat contenders from Germany, Belgium, Austria, England and Fiji. The man from Gelsenkirchen had qualified for Group C at the tournament with 1,960 rating points. To compare, the professional chess players in the international chess federation FIDE have between 2,400 and 2,800 rating points.

Chess has been Olaf's passion for more than four decades. But he admits with a grin, “It’s not really the best way to lose weight ...” Olaf enjoys sitting playing chess far too much for that, with at least 50 competitive games a year – in 2019 it was 100. He collects points playing for his club team, SV Horst-Emscher 31 in Gelsenkirchen, in the chess league – usually quite forcefully. He describes his own chess style as purposeful and dynamic. “I’m not so much a defender, I prefer to attack.”

His greatest success to date

Crete was his greatest success to date. He played nine games, losing only one. He emerged as victor six times, and drew twice. One game lasted nearly five hours. “After that, you’ve just about had it”, he confesses.

What makes him particularly proud is that two of the encounters he won were reported in a renowned chess magazine, and even a Grand Master contacted him for the record of two of his games.

But Olaf has no intention of resting on his laurels. He already has some exciting dates in his diary for 2020, in Prague, for example, where the world team championship for seniors is taking place in March. Olaf aims to come back with his next trophy.

What are ACO and FIDE?
As in boxing, there is more than one organisation that awards official titles. ACO and FIDE hold world championships independently of each other.

What is ACO?
The Amateur Chess Organization is a privately organised association for amateur chess players.

Is ACO associated with FIDE?
No, it’s a fully independent organisation. ACO sets out to be a complementary organisation, but does not impose any restrictions on federal structures.

Who can take part in the ACO World Amateur Chess Championship?
Any chess player with a rating below 2,400 is entitled to take part.

For whom was ACO established?
99% of chess players have less than 2,400 rating points and do not earn their living playing chess. ACO was set up to serve this largest group of chess players – the amateurs.


What is FIDE?
FIDE is the Fédération Internationale des Echecs (“International Chess Federation” in English). It organises tournaments and team championships for amateurs and professionals, and the Chess Olympiad.


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