The European Chess Union is an independent association dealing with the European chess, with headquarters in Hunenberg See, Switzerland. It was founded in 1985 in Graz, Austria and it is the only organization with the right to organize various European Chess Championships. Each year ECU organizes around 20 prestigious events and championships. Furthermore, ECU has 2,000,000 official members from 54 Federations.
European Chess Union was founded because the Europeans started to feel underrepresented in FIDE. The first chairman of the ECU was Rolf Littorin from Sweden, and from the beginning, three principles were defined. These included:
• The existence of ECU within FIDE organization
• ECU should include the entire Europe
• There should be no new financial obligations for the member federations
From 1986 FIDE Congress in Dubai, Kurt Jungwirth from Austria became the ECU President. He remained in that position until 1998. This caused the creation of new events such as the first European youth championship under 16 in 1988 and the first European Team Championship for women in 1992. In 1998 Boris Kutin from Slovenia became the president of the ECU, and a new office was situated in Berlin. This brought reform of tournaments with high quality individual continental championships in all categories including youth events.
The European Individual Chess Championship is an annual tournament established in 2000 which determines the European champions in absolute category and also determines the number of players who qualify for the FIDE World Cup
The European Individual Championship for Women is also a tournament which takes place on a yearly basis since 2000. Contrary to the Individual Chess Championship, it is only open for women chess players.
The European Youth Championship was first established in 1991. Since then, ECU organizes the tournament for boys and girls category groups under 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 years. Until 2010, this tournament included groups under 20. Since 2010, ECU also introduced a category under 8.
The European Senior Chess Championship is a tournament for senior players which was first organized in 2001. Primarily, the competition was open to men aged sixty and over by January 1 of the year the tournament starts, at the same time, women’s category had an age restriction of fifty years and over. From 2014 this tournament was replaced by separate two contests for the age categories of 65+ and 50+.
The EU Individual Open Championship was first held in Cork, Ireland in 2005. This contest is open to all members of chess federations that are the part of the European Union. The fifth edition of the EU Individual Open Championship that was held in Arvier in 2010 was also the last one.
There are also some other individual tournaments like Individual Open Championship, EU Youth Championship, European Rapid Championship, European Rapid Championship for Women. Also, there are European Blitz Championship, European Blitz Championship for Women and European Universities Chess Championship.
The European Team Championship is an annual international team event, which accepts the participation of European nations whose chess federations are located within zones 1.1 to 1.9. Furthermore, there is also European Team Championship for Women which like the European Team Championship includes the female teams from Europe.
There is also a European Youth Team Championship and European Senior Team Championship which both include age groups as individual competitions. ECU also organizes the European Chess Club Cup which is an annual tournament for chess club teams from Europe. The event is held with the Swiss System over seven rounds. Each team is allowed to have six players in every match. Finally, there is also the European Small Nations Team Chess Championship.