International Chess Day is observed every July 20. Fans of the classic strategy game gather to celebrate, play and discuss one of the most complex board games on the planet. Chess has mystified pundits for years with strategies, gambits and incredible personalities.
When was International Chess Day founded?
International Chess Day was first observed in 1966. The World Chess Federation used July 20 as the anniversary date of the founding of the organization in 1924. This year marks the 88th anniversary of the creation of the governing body of world chess. Last year was the 45th anniversary of the first International Chess Day.
What can chess players do on International Chess Day?
International Chess Day can be celebrated in many ways. Grandmaster Natalia Pogonia had some ideas when she touted the observance last year. Some of Pogonia's suggestions revolve around playing chess such as teaching someone how to play, buying a new chess set, registering for a sanctioned tournament and joining a local chess club. The spunky grandmaster also had some off-the-wall ideas such as baking a chess cake, watching a chess match, blogging about chess and playing a strip-chess match with a significant other.
Chess can be celebrated in as many ways as there are moves on the board. More creative ideas include making a chess set at home, having a family chess tournament and playing chess online.
Why celebrate chess?
Chess is a worldwide phenomenon that knows no language barriers. Anyone can learn how to play with basic moves, but strategy takes years to master. The U.S. Chess Federation states chess probably originated as the war game "Chatarung" in India around 600 C.E. Around 400 years later, chess spread to Europe thanks to Persian traders. When the rules changed in the 15th century to make the queen the strongest piece, suddenly more people liked to play the strategy game. Its popularity has increased ever since with millions of players worldwide.
Will the United States observe International Chess Day?
The United States has its own chess federation as an affiliate of the World Chess Federation. Oct. 9 was proclaimed National Chess Day by late president Gerald Ford in 1976. The Senate then made it even more official with a resolution in 2010.
What countries have large International Chess Day followings?
Australia has a centralized International Chess Day registration that compiles local tournaments in the province of Victoria, especially in the Melbourne area. Russia will also have events throughout the day across the country. Fans of International Chess Day can follow events, fans and happenings on the observance's Facebook page and Twitter feed .
William Browning is a research librarian.