The Croatian Chess Federation – Chess in Croatia

The Croatian Chess Federation is the main chess governing organization in Croatia. Known in Croatian as Hrvatski šahovski savez or HŠS, the organization has its headquarters in Zagreb. The Croatian Chess Federation was established in 1912, and by 1992 it finally managed to be inducted into the FIDE, or the World Chess Federation, as a member federation.

The Croatian Chess Federation currently counts no less than 200 clubs as its members all over the country. The federation is involved in various chess related activities all over the country, particularly the organization of the Croatian Chess Championship, the Croatian Women's Chess Championship, the Croatian Junior Chess Championship, the Croatian Cadet Chess Championship, the Croatian Team Chess Championship, and the Croatian Cup.

The founding of the Croatian Chess Federation on May 12, 1912 actually came well before the foundation of the international chess federation called FIDE–12 years before in fact. The first assembly of the federation was held in Zagreb, in large part due to the influence of the strongest chess club in the state, the "Zagrebacki sahovski klub". This assembly was held on August 22, 1920.

The Croatian Chess Federation was actually a part of the Yugoslav Chess Federation at the time of the assembly, and it remained so until 1991. The federation became a full-fledged member of the FIDE however, at a congress that was held in Manila, Philippines. The induction of the Croatian Chess Federation to the FIE was due in large part to the skill of its players and its competence in organizing various chess activities. At that time Croatia had no less than 14 grandmasters, in addition to 28 international masters and 46 FIDE masters.

As you can imagine, the Croatian chess scene is in quite a healthy state with many of its players achieving international acclaim. Among the most notable players in the country are Bojan Kurajica and Ognjen Cvitan who became junior champions in 1965 and 1981 respectively, and Hrvoje Stevic who won the Under-16 championship in 1995. The country is also home to world famous chess composers Nenad Petrovic and Hrvoje Bartolovic.

Nenad Petrovic actually won the world championship a total of three times: in 1947, 1965 and 1974. Hrvoje Bartolovic for his part won the world championship in 1965. Another Croatian chess player, Braslav Rabar, won the gold medal in the Olympiad in 1950, and several players have won numerous awards in the world championship, in Olympiads and European team championships. At one time, Croatian chess players won a score of silver and bronze medals numbering more than 81 medals in all.

All of these achievements merely underscore the excellence in training and organizational competence that the Croatian Chess Federation has displayed in the years since it was established.