USF-akademiet – Norway 2017


USF-akademiet – The Project to delvelop new young leaders for the chess activities in Norway

Name of the project
USF-akademiet – The Youth Chess Federation (USF) training programfor new young chess leaders – an initiative for organisational development
Background and what problem the project wanted to solve Chess in Norway at club level has always been dependent a limited number of individuals with lots of energy, taking on far more than one reasonably could expect. 
To delvelop chess as a sport, a strong organisation needs to be in place. Dependency of few individuals doing all the work will not be sustainable over time. 
Hence, a program to train and employ new chess management talent was designed and launced.
Project idea and set-upAn Academy Class consisting of some 12 students is the basic unit. 
These 12 «candidates» are trained over a period of 2 years, meeting every 3 months in a total of 8 sessions, typically taking place from late Friday afternoons to mid-Sundays, allowing candidates to fly in from all over Norway to where the session is situated (varies from session to session) after ordinary weeks as students or other.

By way of curriculum, each session consists of one major subject, with many other subjects also added to each session. There is also a lot of social activity, to glue the Academy together. 
The 8 major topics are

The roles on the Supervisory Boards – what does this entailProject Leadership – the role of being a project leaderFIDE Trainer Course (by TRG)FIDE Arbiter Course (by Arbiters Commission)FIDE Organiser Course (IO) (by Events Commission)Fund Raising – including meetings with sponsors etcVisit to FIDE Genereal Assembly including the Commission meetingsPractical test, e.g. to organise a tournament
The program is run by a «Program Committe» of some 3 people, who prepare and organise everything, and reporting to the USF Board. 
Timeline the project leaders followed with important stepsAutumn 2017Designed, proposed to, and approved by the USF Board
Autumn 2017Launched, with first class of 12 candidates
Summer 2019First class visit FIDE Batumi GA
Autumn 2019First class of candidated completed the training
Autumn 2019Second class of 12 candidates starting up
2020 and H1 2021 Difficult period due to Covid19
Autumn 2021Second class starting up again 
Spring 2022Second class completing training
Summer 2022 Second class to visit FIDE Moscow GA
Autum 2022Decision to be made whether to start a 3rd class.
Finances for the project and how the project leaders managed to receive itThe USF Academy costs approximately 0,2 mill EUR per year – 0,4 mill EUR for a 2 year period per class. USF covers all participants costs including travel and accomodation. 
The project is so far funded by budget approvals within USF, who happen to have a substantial financial equity. It is consideder a very good way to put the equity to work to invest in the USF Academy, thus preparing the federation for the future in a structured way.
ResultsThe first class results have been very promisison. Out of 12 candidates, some 5 have taken on roles in USF centrally at board and committe levels. All or most of the candidates also work locally for club or school chess. Some of the candidates are also strong chess players, combining the organisational work with pursuing careers as amatheur master level players, in some cases with international representation duties.
Reflections, problems faced and advice for the futureIt is important to seek external funding before such an initiative is launched. It is always easier to get external funding for «new» initiatives rather than something that is already ongoing. 
In the case of USF-akademiet, it is important to stay close to the clubs the candidates represent, to ensure that the local chess management understands the situation and help the candidates to take on good roles locally in parallel with and immediately after having completed the Academy phase.
ContactGeir Nesheim,, +47 482 22 572