Many chess players enjoy playing on teams. Typically, the best chess player on a team is “Board 1,” the next best is “Board 2,” and so forth. Each team plays matches against other teams. Within a match, each win counts for 1 point and each draw is worth .5 point. For example, if each team has three boards, 1.5 points ties the match and 2 points (or higher) wins the match.
Because of the camaraderie of playing shoulder to shoulder, and preparing before each match, one’s chess team can feel like a family.
The Vangsgaard Family Chess Team
For Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Freja Vangsgaard, her chess team is not just like a family. It is her family! Freja plays on a team with her father and her twin brother.
Freja emailed that she “learned chess from my father, Claus, when I was 7 years old. Since 2008, he has played chess in FIDE-rated tournaments, I grew up wanting to be like him. He taught both me and my twin brother, Bjarke. My father is my biggest supporter in tournaments and helps me prepare. For this I am forever grateful.”
Freja adds, “I enjoy team events more than individual events as I get to spend quality time with my family, plus it is less pressure. If we win, we all win together; and if we lose, we all lose together. There is no sole responsibility.”
Chess in Denmark
The Vangsgaard family lives in Denmark. According to Freja, Denmark has many “FIDE events every month, mainly in Holbaek or Copenhagen. However, my home of Aarhus also offers regular events which saves me travelling.”
Freja adds, “There are only 10 active FIDE-rated females in Denmark.” Some research suggests that having a quota, for example requiring that each chess team have one board reserved for a woman, improves women’s chess performance. Perhaps more women would play, at least in team events, if Denmark had quotas.
Freja’s favorite game was her first win after receiving her WFM title. The win was against Olga Weis in 2016.