Providing a better player experience for The French Chess Federation
For Vincent Verhille, playing chess is an obsession. He’s been playing for years and is even the director of his local chess club, which is part of the larger French Chess Federation in Western France.
While he loves the game of chess, he was frustrated by his club’s outdated website and communication system, which made it hard for members to find and get up-to-date information as well as communicate with one another.
So, he decided to do something about it. With a background in software engineering and as the co-founder of Datapix, a no-code agency, he built an internal Knowledge Base app using Glide to find, update, and communicate important information quickly.
“The app I made became very popular with my local chess club,” says Vincent. “It was so successful that they told me to go and speak with the president of the French Chess Federation.”
And it worked. This little app that he built for his chapter got the attention of both the president and vice president of the French Chess Federation.
Building the official app for the French Chess Federation championship tournament
Vincent would go on to use Glide to build a mobile app for the National French Championship in October 2021, which made it easy to present complex chess schedules and player statistics in a timely, accessible manner.
This was no small endeavor. The French Chess Federation has 70,000 members, over 1,000 clubs, and hosts over 2,700 events throughout France. Out of the 2,700 events, about 500 of them are larger tournaments or championships.
The French Chess Federation was a lean team with only around ten people on staff and two people tasked with event management. The team had outgrown their DIY system, which consisted of an outdated tournament management system and a WordPress site.
To make matters worse, they were struggling to display and share complex chess schedules and player statistics in a timely and easily accessible manner.
A big challenge was finding a better system for organizing and synthesizing a tremendous amount of data so that players going to the chess tournament could find what they were looking for and know what was going on at any moment.
This app went live about a week before the championship tournament in October, and the team was blown away by the results.
“A big thank you,” said Jean-Baptiste Mullon, Vice-President of the French Chess Federation, and main organizer of the events. “The app was very useful and from my point of view, it was super classy!”
Eloi Relange, President of the French Chess Federation, adds, “After the first version launched in October 2021, our application for our Chess French Youth Championship 2022 last week passed a new milestone this year. The app is extremely successful in terms of growth over the week and total volume of connections with 970k viewed pages during the week of competition. A huge thank you for this incredible service you provide to parents, coaches, and players!”
In fact, there were 897,000 pageviews during this tournament. That’s a 55% increase year over year.
Over 4,700 players also signed up and created their own registered accounts on the public app.
At any given time throughout the tournament, there were more than 300 users logged in. Oftentimes, thousands of users logged in at peak times.
The average duration of engagement in the app was an astounding 18 minutes and 29 seconds. To put that into perspective, that’s about double the amount of time the average Reddit user spends on Reddit each day.
Providing real-time updates to 4,700+ players during the tournament
Vincent is the first to admit that there was no way they could have created this app without Glide.
Before this app, it was extremely difficult to follow the chess schedules and player standings. Now, the UX is not only significantly better, but people can save, favorite, and follow 10 or more of their favorite chess players, which would have been impossible in their prior solution.
Because it was all organized in a database, this meant they could also display detailed statistics about each chess player. If there is one thing the chess community loves, it is statistics.
Within the app, you could see all of the player statistics alongside photo albums, selfie photos, a leaderboard, and comments.
Another benefit of using Glide, which the event team loved, was how fast and easy it was to make changes on the fly.
“Because it's an event, there are many things happening during the week,” says Vincent. “We need to be very reactive, and Glide is so great for that.”
For instance, they can update the agenda and results in the app in real-time.
Building apps for all of their upcoming events
With the success of their first app, the French Chess Federation is now planning on making new apps for all of their future large tournaments, including the French National Championship in August 2022 and many of the smaller ones.
They are also exploring using Glide for creating internal portals, dashboards, and directories to help their team manage information and automate repetitive, manual tasks.