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The world’s biggest companies are battling in Chess—and they have ringers

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Wall Street Journal or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Len Ioffe, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, is preparing to compete in the FIDE World Corporate Chess Championship
• This event gathers teams from major companies like Goldman, Google, Deutsche Bank, and BlackRock to compete for the title of "smartest company in the world"
• The tournament features global participation and top-tier chess talent, including professional grandmasters

🔭 The context: Corporate chess has seen a surge in popularity, with many high-achieving firms fostering strong chess communities
• Google’s internal group of chess players numbers 2,500, while Susquehanna International Group boasts regular participation from nearly 100 employees
• Companies often invite top players, such as grandmaster Sam Shankland for Susquehanna, to enhance their teams' competitive edge

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The integration of chess into corporate culture reflects the growing recognition of cognitive skills and strategic thinking in professional settings
• This trend highlights the value placed on intellectual development and mental agility, contributing to a culture of continuous improvement and problem-solving in the workplace

⏭️ What's next: The championship will see intense competition as teams vie for recognition by chess’s world governing body
• Companies may continue to invest in fostering chess skills among employees, further integrating the game into corporate culture
• The results of the championship could influence how companies view and support intellectual activities within their organizations

💬 One quote: “The team offered me to skip and not play that night and to celebrate,” Ioffe says. “I said, ‘No, I will play’”

📈 One stat: Google’s top player, international master Ritvars Reimanis, is flying in from Lithuania to compete

Click for more news covering the latest on corporate governance 

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