The World Corporate Chess Championship will crown ‘the smartest company in the world’ – "google" – Google News

The fierce rivalry between tech and finance brainiacs will come to a head this weekend in the finals of a corporate chess tournament that includes teams from some of the biggest companies in the world.

Put on by the World Chess Federation, or Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the finals in New York City this weekend will pit some of the best players from Google, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs against nine other companies from the U.S. and abroad to crown “the smartest company in the world.”

The FIDE World Corporate Chess Championship will kick off with each team of four, plus an alternate, competing in a 10-round group stage on June 15 and 16 until the top four teams pass to the semifinal. The final two teams will battle it out on June 17 for the title. 

The tournament is meant to highlight how the strategic mindset required for chess intersects with decision-making in the corporate world, FIDE press officer Milan Dinic told Fortune.

“Chess and business share many overlapping concepts such as strategy, risk management, and resource management,” Dinic said in an email. “The idea behind the championship is to explore and deepen the connections between chess and the business world.”

Those connections are clear to Igor Shneider, a vice president at Deutsche Bank in the Financial Institutions Group and a FIDE Master (FM) on the bank’s chess team.

“Deutsche Bank has always been supportive of us playing in these types of competitions as they appreciate the strategic nature of the game,” Shneider told Fortune in an email. “Chess cultivates more strategic thinking and collaboration across the organization, which Deutsche Bank and clients appreciate.”

Although many newcomers started playing the game during the pandemic following the release of Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” Shneider said chess has always played a special role in his life. Growing up, he traveled internationally to represent the U.S. in tournaments and said he views chess as “the great equalizer,” that can bring together people from different backgrounds. But this weekend, Deutsche Bank’s team of former competitive players, including three chess masters and a former U.S. Woman’s Chess Champion, have their eyes on the prize.

“We’re really excited to represent Deutsche Bank in this competition, and it would be really special if we could become World Champions,” he said. 

Google’s team captain Kola Adeyemi is a product strategy and operations lead for Google Workspace who learned the game from his uncle as an eight-year-old growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. Although he’s a competitive player rated about 2000 by the international FIDE standards—his rating of 2336 under classical time controls makes him a National Master, according to the U.S. Chess Federation—he still enjoys playing with the cutthroat locals at Bryant Park in New York City.

Adeyimi said Google has an active chess community with about 2,500 people on its email list. Google employees worldwide often play each other in online tournaments, he said. A few of them are even Grandmasters (GM) and International Masters (IM), which by FIDE standards puts them among the best players in the world, he added. 

Google’s team members will surely give it their all in the tournament this weekend, Adeyemi said, but the question of whether tech or finance people are smarter is far from top of mind.

“People are not playing this because they’re getting some kind of prize money or things like that, they’re playing this just because they love the game,” he told Fortune.

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The World Corporate Chess Championship will crown ‘the smartest company in the world’ – “google” – Google News