Project name and type: “Checkmate: Les échecs contre l’échec” – Youth Exchange

Date and Place: From 28th December 2018 to 6th January 2019 – La Moule, Guadeloupe

Main organization:  Familles Rurales La Moule (France)

Partner organizations:  

  • Asociación Juvenil Intercambia​: Spain
  • CEIPES:​ Italy
  • Associação Nó Górdio ​: Portugal

Financed by: European Commission, Erasmus+ -KA1

Can chess be a tool to support the prevention of school dropout, youth delinquency and marginality?

Checkmate: Les échecs contre l’échec” is the youth exchange, held from December 28th to January 6th, in the splendid setting of Le Moule (Guadeloupe), organized by Familles Rurales Le Moule, and its main objectives are:

  • Share knowledge about chess, play in intercultural teams
  • Open debate about juvenile violence in Europe    
  • Be inspired by new chess moves and techniques
  • Promote active citizenship in a youth community
  • Break the circle of violence by providing useful knowledge
  • Making positive action using actual tools
  • To develop the personal skills of participants, such as self-confidence and self-motivation, the creation of a motivational environment.
  • To get a glimpse of what happens in Europe in terms of diversity and opportunities, and to bring everything they learn back to their communities
  • Develop skills and share passions with others.   
  • Gather passionate youth to try a new tool and share their experiences
  • Support social inclusion

The young participants (15-18 years), coming from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, were out of the ordinary Christmas holidays, which allowed them to approach for the first time the European dimension and the Erasmus + program.

For this opportunity, CEIPES decided to involve the young champions of the Centro Scacchi Palermo; with the support of their chess teacher – Francesco – as team leader, Mattia, Adalberto, Daniele, Umberto and Giovanni participated with commitment, getting involved and sharing their knowledge of the chess world with the other participants.

Here is the report of our travelers’ chessers!

“The Parc de loisirs de L’Autre-Bord”was our” home “while the Le Moule library was the site of the activities. In those ten days the proposed activities were many and varied.

In the early days, team building and group dynamic activities were carried out aimed at bringing the children together. We subsequently held several workshops. We created themed posters on the rules of the project, the importance of chess … Through a video, made by the students, the possible solutions to fight violence among young people were shown.

Playing chess was a very long awaited moment and our major preparation saw us play the role of teachers in this area.

On this occasion we created a giant chess board and then played a living game.

The intercultural dinner was another very delicious moment of exchange between dishes and dances typical of the various countries.

The beautiful days allowed to carry out various outdoor activities: one of these was the visit to a typical agricultural enterprise, in the town of Saint-François, which takes care of the plantation of sugar cane and cattle breeding, and as tourists we experienced the thrill of carriage transport driven by oxen; in addition, excursions between the mangroves in both canoeing (in Pointe-à-Pitre) and kayaking, activities on the beach under a “spring” sun surrounded by coconut palms.

There was also a fun “treasure hunt” among the monuments and special places of Le Moule.

Overall it was a wonderful initiative and a fantastic experience that made us grow a lot.

I can say, with conscience that we well represented our association and left a good impression, creating relationships and contacts that in the future will allow us to still be protagonists in similar initiatives. In closing a dutiful and heartfelt thanks to Mariella Xavier of CEIPES who involved and followed us in this unforgettable adventure.”


“When, at the beginning of last November, my father told me about a project focused on chess and supported by the European Union under the Erasmus+ programme, to which he advised me to participate, I have to admit that I did not understand much about it!

In fact, I had never heard of the Erasmus + program and it was not very clear what the difference could be compared to, for example, an international tournament, the first thing that came to my mind. I then realized that things were quite different: it was first of all the theme of the mobility of young Europeans and of integration among peoples. The chess , for the project, was the common language from which to achieve these objectives.

It took me a short time to fall in love with the idea of ​​leaving not for a tournament, but to communicate with new friends from other countries through the language of chess.

In a short time everything has become reality. We formed the group of the Centro Scacchi Palermo (6 people) … and on December 26 we left for Paris, the first stop awaiting the long flight to Pointe¬-à-Pitre.

Right from the start, I got used to the new time zone, climate, traditions, gastronomy (maybe a little less …). Thus, the activities started with the other youngsters (a total of about 30 people): we started with activities to get to know each other and, day after day, moments of reflection alternated with moments of play of all cultures. Since we Italians were the most experienced in the field of chess, we were teachers for others, with explanations, simultaneous, blind matches and performances.

We also visited the city, hopped on a “limousine” pulled by oxen, rowed, participated in treasure hunts and beach activities. A continuous discovery.

Taking a budget, I am very satisfied with the experience I lived in Guadeloupe, for the new friends I met, the new environments, the new cultures I discovered and above all for the possibility of using and improving the foreign languages. Certainly if there was another occasion like this, I would be well prepared to start again for a new cultural exchange. In any case … live chess! “


“From December 28th to January 6th I was in Guadeloupe for an Erasmus + project with the Centro Scacchi Palermo and CEIPES. Besides us there were Spaniards, French and Portuguese with whom we shared this wonderful experience.

In Guadeloupe I enjoyed it so much because I met wonderful people, organized activities I liked, in particular the canoe, the organization was impeccable, even if I expected that we would have played a little more at chess.”

This experience was simply perfect and will always be in my heart. “


“My experience in Guadeloupe has been nothing short of exceptional, I immediately start by saying that I had never participated in such a project, but this pushed me to give my best even if I did not know what was waiting for me. I’ve always been a very sociable guy and I have a medium level of knowledge of English, I knew that dealing with others would not be a problem.

Already from the arrival at the airport where our first meeting with the Portuguese boys took place, I immediately found myself at ease, I started to joke with them trying to involve as much as possible all the members of the group and I must say that already from start the boys seemed nice and sociable; days pass, we start group activities, we strengthen relationships with all the boys from other countries, we talk, we play but above all we have fun. Everything is perfect, I love being with the boys of other countries, we tell anecdotes, we learn things from our countries, we are no longer mere partners in a project, we become a real big family.

I loved the madness of the Portuguese, the sense of humor of the Spaniards and the calm of the French, all the boys, one by one, were essential to make this experience perfect. Each proposed activity was well aimed at making us think about an important topic, among which could be the elimination of violence or the way in which chess can give us lessons that will be useful in everyday life. Every discussion made there made me think, reason and probably still has something changed in me.

Writing this short story I dropped a few tears, remember everything that has happened makes me move, also because to be honest I miss all of that experience, but unfortunately also the good things end, and I jealously preserve this experience in a part of my heart so you can never forget it.

I thank the CEIPES infinitely for allowing me to participate in this exchange and to make the most beautiful journey of my life; but above all I thank the chess, my passion, without which today I would not be here to write this article and I’m very happy to have made this trip for chess and my club mates, it is also thanks to them if all this is it was possible.

So thanks for this chance, know all that I have always given my best in every situation and for this I am proud of myself. “


“For me the trip to Guadeloupe was very important, and I came back feeling like I grew up. Because he introduced me to other cultures, (something new for me because I never left Italy …) and I was NEVER uncomfortable despite my English schooling knowledge I never had any trouble interacting with other guys who have a more in-depth knowledge of the language.

I will remember it for a lifetime! “


“From January 28th to January 6th the Erasmus + project took place, 5 boys from the chess center Palermo went to Guadeloupe where, together with 19 other boys, they took part in the project, carrying out activities in English in order to favor the cultural integration between children of different nationalities and with the locals.

Raising awareness of the education and respect and knowledge of foreign cultures, the breaking down of international barriers and the elimination of prejudices. All surrounded by a chess project played very well by our boys. Relating to people of other nationalities is not always easy, there are numerous obstacles to contact such as language and customs. But it is always a great pleasure to know the culture, language, games and customs of people other than you, and also share yours with them, these exchanges make you understand how it is really important to know the world and become a citizen, how much nice to make friends and exchange each other’s culture.

The moments we spent in Guadeloupe are and will always be fantastic and unforgettable, the result of a wonderful experience. “


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