Internet Chess Club Taps Joel Berez as New CEO

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Computer game veteran joins leading Internet chess service. The Internet Chess Club, one of the very first premium online game communities, still ranks as the top destination for serious chess players. Infocom founder Berez is expected to take it to the next level.

The Internet Chess Club (“ICC”), the world’s premier online subscription chess service, has today announced the hiring of Joel M. Berez as its Chief Executive Officer. Berez has served as CEO or executive officer in seven businesses, ranging from total startups to two public companies. He built his first startup, Infocom, into one of the leading computer game publishers of the 1980s, and co-founded the Software Publishers Association (now the Software and Information Industry Association).

Along the way, Berez has also consulted for such firms as the National Geographic Society and Art Institutes International to help them develop corporate strategies to address the explosion of digital media. He holds a degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management. Most recently, Berez headed GamesParlor, Inc., where he created Chess Live in partnership with the U.S. Chess Federation and chess federations in other countries, developing an online chess service noted for its family-friendly atmosphere and rich, intuitive software.

“The Internet Chess Club has led the market for the past ten years,” says Lilya Lorrin, a founder of ICC and past CEO, “but we recognize that to maintain and grow our position over the next ten years will require fresh ideas and new leadership. Joel is the ideal candidate to face this challenge. I’m impressed by his accomplishments with Chess Live, starting from scratch. With the strong history and resources of ICC behind him now, he’ll be able to do so much more.”

As Joel Berez puts it, “The Internet Chess Club has long been the icon in the world of online chess, the service that every serious player knows and that every competitor wants to become. I have long been impressed with the accomplishments of the ICC founders as well as the dedicated staff of employees and community volunteers and now feel honored to be called upon to lead them.” While Berez has been involved in many types of games in the past, he finds chess to be “not just an entertaining diversion, but a life-long intellectual pursuit that stimulates critical-thinking skills and can offer children as well as adults tremendous feelings of confidence and accomplishment.”

Founded in 1995 as one of the first premium gaming sites on the Internet, today ICC is firmly established as the premier online chess service, with more members, more Grandmasters, more volunteers, and more loyalty from its members than any other classical game service on the Internet. More than 30,000 dues-paying members from all over the world regularly enjoy playing casual or tournament chess games against each other; watching others play, including hundreds of titled chess masters; attending online lectures, classes, and special events; or simply socializing with fellow chess enthusiasts in a club house that’s always open.

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