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World Chess Day 2023: Date, Celebrates and History

Every year 20 July is observed as World Chess Day to commemorate the establishment of Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) or World Chess Federation in 1924. Also known as International Chess Day, the day is celebrated by over six hundred million regular chess players around the world. Considered as old as 1500 years, it is speculated that the game of Chess originated in India and was known by the name ‘Chaturanga’.

How to Celebrate International Chess Day

There are many different ways to celebrate International Chess Day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Play a game of chess with a friend or family member: This is a great way to introduce someone new to the game, or to simply enjoy a friendly game of chess.
  • Attend a chess tournament: This is a great way to see some of the best chess players in the world compete.
  • Take a chess class: This is a great way to learn more about the game, improve your skills, and meet other chess players.
  • Volunteer at a chess club or organization: This is a great way to give back to the chess community, and to help others learn and enjoy the game.
  • Learn about the history of chess: Chess is a very old game, and there is a lot of interesting history to learn about.
  • Play chess online: There are many different online chess websites and apps where you can play chess with people from all over the world.

Here are some of the benefits of playing chess:

  • Improves cognitive skills. Chess can help improve your memory, problem-solving skills, and concentration.
  • Promotes strategic thinking. Chess requires you to think several moves ahead, which can help you develop better strategic thinking skills.
  • Teaches discipline and focus. Chess requires you to focus on the game and to stay disciplined, even when things are not going your way.
  • Encourages creativity. There are many different ways to play chess, and you need to be creative in order to find the best solutions.
  • Is a fun and challenging game. Chess is a great way to relax and have fun, but it can also be a challenging game that will keep you on your toes.

Background of International Chess Day

  • Chess is a two player strategy board game where the aim is to move different types of playing piece, each with a prescribed set of possible moves, around a chequered square board trying to capture the opponents ‘king’ piece.
  • Today there are over 2,000 identifiable variants of the game. One theory is that an early game similar to chess called Chaturanga originated in Northern Indian Subcontinent during the Gupta period (~ 319 – 543 CE) and spread along the Silk Roads west to Persia.
  • Whilst modern Chess is believed to have been derived from Chaturanga means ‘four divisions’ referring either to the divisions of the playing pieces into infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariotry (pieces which in the modern game became the pawn, knight, bishop and rook), or to the fact that the game was played by four players. Chatrang, and later Shatranj, was the name given to the game when it arrived in Sassanid Persia around 600 CE. The earliest reference to the game comes from a Persian manuscript of around 600 CE, which describes an ambassador from the Indian Subcontinent visiting king Khosrow I (531 – 579 CE) and presenting him with the game as a gift. From there it spread along the Silk to other regions including the Arabian Peninsula and Byzantium.
  • In 900 CE, Abbasid chess masters al-Suli and al-Lajlaj composed works on the techniques and strategy of the game, and by 1000 CE Chess was popular across Europe, and in Russia where it was introduced from the Eurasian Steppe. The Alfonso manuscripts, also known as the Libro de los Juegos (Book of Games), a medieval collection of texts on three different types of popular game from the 13th century CE describe the game of Chess as very similar to Persian Shatranj in rules and gameplay.
  • On 12 December 2019, the General Assembly proclaimed 20 July as World Chess Day to mark the date of the establishment of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in Paris in 1924.
  • Under initiative of FIDE, July 20 has been observed as International Chess Day by chess players around the world since 1966.
  • The designation of World Chess Day of the UN will not only recognize the important role of the FIDE in supporting international cooperation for chess activity and aiming to improve friendly harmony among all peoples of the world, but also to provide an important platform to foster, dialogue, solidarity and culture of peace.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • International Chess Federation  Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland;
  • International Chess Federation  President: Arkady Dvorkovich.

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