The Team

Kjell Madland

Founder, chairman and tournament director of  Norway Chess
Co-Founder and board member at Norway Summit

Kjell has a long background from business. He started his own construction company at 22 years old and has since held leader positions in several companies, including managing director for a Norwegian soccer team playing in 1st division. One of his strengths is to increase company revenue and earnings significantly.

Kjell is the mastermind behind the Norway Chess tournament and the initater of the Norway Summit conference. He has been the main driver in Norway Chess from the idea to the international brand its become today. He has done all the major business deals for the companies and is still a vital driver and a hands-on force within the companies. He is uniqely creative and has the ability to always think outside the box.

Benedicte Westre Skog

Co-Owner and General Manager at Norway Chess, 
Managing Director and co-founder at Norway Summit

Benedicte has an international background spending big parts of her life abroad living and studying in different countries. She holds an MSc in International Development from Utrecht University, the Netherlands and an interdisciplinary BA Honors degree from Dalhousie University, Canada. She has also studied in India, Mexico and Norway.

She has been working with Norway Chess since 2015 as project manager after joining the board in 2014.

She has been instrumental in the creation of the Norway Summit conference in Stavanger, which is an extension to Norway Chess, aiming to create a space for business, technology, finance and sustainability, particularly building bridges between Norway and innovation eco-systems around the world.

In 2014 she founded a non-profit organization, Argan Care, which has reached great achievements in Morocco. Argan Care focuses on reforestation projects, literacy training and creates employment opportunities in southwestern Morocco, in particular for women.


Marketing Manager, Norway Chess og Norway Summit

Dea works as the Marketing Manager for Norway Chess and Norway Summit. She started in March 2024 and leads the company’s communication, content, and production work. She has a variety of responsibilities across different marketing channels. Among other things, we can mention the development of strategic work and creative implementation on websites, social media, and graphic material design. She will be responsible for leading the marketing efforts at Norway Chess and Norway Summit, as well as working on text editing and PR.

Dea holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising and marketing from the University of East London and digital marketing through Noroff.

She has previous experience from, among other places, a media agency, Stavanger Concert Hall, and the EV charging company amina charging.

Outside of work, she is active as a board member in the Marketing Association in Stavanger (Markedsføringsforeningen i Stavanger).

Maria Fragkaki

Social media

Maria is an experienced Digital Marketing Specialist, trusted by companies in Greece, London, India, Brussels, Berlin, Norway, and The Netherlands. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Crete, and a BA (Hons) Marketing Management Degree from the Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, with a research paper on how social media affects women’s body image.

She started as a social media assistant and copywriter for small businesses in 2014; continued as a social media manager at a Creative Digital Marketing Agency in Chania – her hometown – in 2017, to finally move to Athens in 2019 to chase her freelancer’s dream.

In 2020 she founded Lemonpie, a freelance Social Media Branding Agency, offering 360 Digital Marketing Services in collaboration with 15+ freelancers from all over the world, commission-free! Lastly, since 2020 she has been working in the chess industry, a niche market which made her fall in love even more with her sport (she is a 5-time Greek Chess Champion), but also with how social media can really inspire marketers to create more “personal” and quality content than commercial.

Anastasia Sorokina

Chief arbiter

Anastasia Sorokina, Women International Master, International Arbiter Category A, International Organizer and FIDE Trainer.
Anastasi Sorokina, Chairperson of the FIDE Commission for Women’s chess, FIDE Social Project Leader, Women International Master (2001), International Arbiter (2002), FIDE Trainer (2005), International Organizer (2018). Born on 26 January 1980 in Minsk, Belarus. In 2003 moved to Australia and worked as a chess coach in the Queensland School of Chess, and then in Chess Kids in Melbourne, later opened her own chess academy.  Representing the Australian Chess Federation. Now living in Warsaw with husband and 13 yo daughter, where running their family chess club ChessCorner. Owner of the Chess Space Company which specializes in organizing chess events and consulting.Has Bachelor degree in sport and Masters in Strategic Communication and Governance.
From 2021 is running important social projects in FIDE: Infinite Chess – Chess for kids with autism spectrum disorder and Chess for Protection, Girls Club, chess for refugees.Anastasia Sorokina was awarded as FIDE outstanding chess arbiter  2022. During her arbiter career has been Chief Arbiter in the women’s world championship matches, Deputy Arbiter at several Olympiads, Chief and deputy arbiter at numerous FIDE Grand Prix events , as well as numerous other major FIDE tournaments. Has been a Chief arbiter in such prestigious events like London Chess Classic, Norway Chess and Cairns cup.


Fun facts from Anastasia:
– I am from the chess family, my uncle Viktor Kupreichik was the first Belarus Grandmaster. My whole life is connected with chess, I am dreaming to organize Chess Olympiad! During my trainer’s career we trained more than 1000 kids. For now in ChessCorner in Warsaw we have only 3 chess teachers, but back in 2018 in Belarus there were 7 trainers in my Chess Academy. We also ran a programme to teach students of the Pedagogical University who will become the teachers of the primary schools , how to teach kids to play chess. This was an official program for the students of the last course, once a week during the full educational year. We educated almost 100 young teachers.

Tania Karali


Category A International Arbiter from Greece.

Karali is the Secretary of the European Chess Union (ECU) Arbiters’ Council, a member of the FIDE Technical Commission and a member of the Board of the Greek Chess Federation.
She speaks five languages (English, Spanish, French, Russian (and Greek, of course!) with different levels of fluency.

She was Deputy Chief Arbiter of the 2nd leg of the FIDE Women’s Grand prix 2022-2023 in Munich, Pairings Officer of three World Rapid&Blitz Championships (Riyadh 2017, Warsaw 2021, Almaty 2022) and have assumed various positions in World and European events, including Fair Play. She has officiated as Chief Arbiter, Deputy Chief Arbiter or Pairings Officer in various World and European online events during the pandemic.

In 2022, she was the Chief Arbiter of the Champions Chess Tour on chess24. In 2020, She wrote a complete manual for the most popular pairing software, Swiss-Manager, which has since been translated in 11 languages (French, Spanish, Catalan, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Czech, Arabic, Persian and Indonesian).

Karl-Johan Rist


Karl-Johan Rist is an International Arbiter from Norway.

Appointed as FIDE Arbiter in 2007 and International Arbiter in 2010. Licensed category A in 2014. His international career started in May 1994 as Chief Arbiter in the Open Norwegian Rapid Chess Championship in Øksfjord, Norway, with players from Scandinavia and Russia.  His last international job was Match Arbiter in the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan in December 2022.
During this 29 years he has been both Chief Arbiter, Deputy Chief Arbiter, Sector Arbiter and Match Arbiter in numerous national and international events. Among them five FIDE Chess Olympiads, Khanty Mansiysk, Russia 2010, Istanbul, Turkey 2012, Tromsø, Norway 2014, Baku, Azerbaijan 2016 and Batumi, Georgia 2018. Two FIDE World Cups in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia 2011 and Tromsø, Norway 2013. He has also been Match Arbiter in the ECU European Chess Union Team Championship 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Chief Arbiter in the ECU Individual Chess Championship 2018 in Batumi, Georgia and Chief Arbiter in the ECU Senior Chess Championship 2018 in Drammen, Norway.
This will be his fifth time arbitrating in Norway Chess. He was Arbiter in the two first editions in 2013, 2014 and Chief Arbiter in 2016.

Anémone Kulczak


Anémone Kulczak is a French international arbiter born in 1985 in northern France. Her father taught her to play chess in the early 1990s, then she joined a local club where she competed at regional and national level.

She became nationl arbiter in 2004, and an international arbiter in 2010. She has also been an arbitrer lecturer since 2007 and has trained over 200 French arbiters.  

She holds a master’s degree in Italian language and culture and a bachelor’s degree in human resources. She has successively held the positions of Italian language teacher, general manager of a chess club and human resources manager. She is currently General Secretary of a molecular and cellular biology research laboratory in Nice and teaches human resources management at Université Côte d’Azur. 

She was elected member of the French Chess Federation’s steering committee between 2013 and 2021 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the French Chess Federation’s National Training Institute.

She has been arbiter in over 100 chess tournaments in France and abroad. In Norway, she was sector arbiter at the Tromso Olympics in 2014. She has been chief arbiter 7 times at Norway Chess (2021, 2020,2019, 2018, 2017, 2014 and 2013). Having become mom to little Emma in January 2022, she has decided to put her international arbiter career on hold and returns to arbitering this year for the 11th edition.

Fun fact:

She was the first woman to referee a chessboxing competition in France, a sport in which competitors simultaneously alternate on a ring rounds of blitz chess and boxing until one wins by knockout or checkmate.

Thanasis Serntedakis

Electronic chess boards operator & Arbiter

Thanasis Serntedakis is an International Arbiter from Greece. During the pandemic, he was an arbiter in chess24’s online events such as the Magnus Carlsen Invitational and the Chessable Masters, featuring top players.

Since 2016, he has been an electronic chess board operator responsible for the live transmission of the games in various tournaments including the European Team Championship, the Asian Indoor Games, and the European Club Cup.
Furthermore, he is the author of the Chess Claim Tool, an application to help arbiters with draw claims during an official game of chess. The tool has been successfully utilized in numerous FIDE-rated events, including the 2023 World Blitz & Rapid Championships in Samarkand.

Mehmet Ismail

Game Theory Expert

Mehmet Ismail, currently a lecturer in economics at King’s College London’s Department of Political Economy, has a diverse academic background. He holds a PhD in Economics from Maastricht University and during this period, he had the opportunity to work with esteemed game theorist and political scientist, Steven Brams, at New York University. Mehmet also holds a masters in applied mathematics from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and spent a semester at Bielefeld University as part of the Erasmus Mundus QEM programme.

Beyond academia, Mehmet is an ardent chess enthusiast and a former professional backgammon player. His passion for games goes much further than just playing; he is intrigued by the multifaceted world of games, exploring everything from theoretical foundations and practical applications to game design, fairness and gameplay itself.