20 July: World Chess Day 2022 and its Significance

20 July: World Chess Day 2022 and its Significance

20 July is observed as World Chess Day. The idea to celebrate this day as international chess day was proposed by UNESCO, and it has been celebrated as such since 1966 after it was established by FIDE. The organization has now grown to encompass 199 countries in the form of National Chess Federations as affiliate members.

Chess is a two-player strategy game where pieces are moved around a checkered square board with a set of moves, trying to capture the opponent’s ‘king’ piece. There are over 2,000 variations of the game today. According to one theory, Chaturanga originated in the northern Indian Subcontinent during the Gupta period (319 – 543 CE) and spread west along the Silk Roads.

About International Chess Federation (FIDE)

All international chess competitions are governed by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), which is the governing body of the sport of chess. As a non-governmental organization, it was recognized as a Global Sporting Organization by the International Olympic Committee in 1999.

FIDE currently has its headquarters in Lausanne, but it was initially founded in 1924 in Paris under the motto “Gens una Sumus” (Latin for “We are one Family”). It was one of the very first International Sports Federations, alongside the governing bodies of the sports of Football, Cricket, Swimming, and Auto Racing. The organization has now grown to encompass 199 countries in the form of National Chess Federations as affiliate members. Nowadays, chess is a truly global sport, with dozens of millions of players on all continents, and more than 60 million games are played every day on average.

Theme of World Chess Day 2022

20 July is observed as World Chess Day. The idea to celebrate this day as international chess day was proposed by UNESCO, and it has been celebrated as such since 1966 after it was established by FIDE. The organization has now grown to encompass 199 countries in the form of National Chess Federations as affiliate members.

There is no specific theme for the day.

4 November in Indian and World History

Quick facts about chess

Here are quick facts about chess:

  • About 70% of the adult population (US, UK, Germany, Russia, India) has played chess at some point in their lives, 605 million adults play chess regularly
  • Chess originated in the northern Indian Subcontinent during the Gupta period (319 – 543 CE)
  • Mathematically there are more possible games of chess than there are atoms in the Observable Universe.
  • It is possible to checkmate an opponent in chess in two moves
  • The oldest living Grandmaster is Yuri Averbakh who celebrated his 100th birthday in May 2022
Significance of World Chess Day

The idea to celebrate this day as international chess day was proposed by UNESCO, and it has been celebrated as such since 1966 after it was established by FIDE. The organization has now grown to encompass 199 countries in the form of National Chess Federations as affiliate members. On this day, we can observe the day by teaching someone or learning how to play the game. Also, we can consider a 24-Hour Marathon or share your story about your own chess strategy.

History of World Chess Day

Chess is believed to have been derived from Chaturanga, which means ‘four divisions’ referring either to the division of the pieces into infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry (pawn, knight, bishop, and rook in the modern game) or to the fact that it was played by four people. When the game arrived in Sassanid Persia around 600 CE, it was called Chatrang and later Shatranj. A Persian manuscript from around 600 CE describes an ambassador from the Indian Subcontinent giving the game to King Khosrow I (531 – 579 CE). Along the Silk Road, it spread to other parts of the world, like the Arabian Peninsula and Byzantium.

It was the Abbasid chess masters al-Suli and al-Lajlaj who composed works on the techniques and strategy in 900 CE, and by 1000 CE, chess was popular across Europe, as well as 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 games from the 13th century CE, describe Chess as very similar to Persian Shatranj.

In 1924, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was established in Paris, and on 20 July has been declared World Chess Day since the General Assembly declared it on 12 December 2019. Since 1966, chess players around the world have observed July 20 as International Chess Day.

In addition to recognizing the FIDE’s important role in supporting international cooperation for chess activity and aiming to improve friendly harmony among all peoples of the world, World Chess Day provides an important platform for dialogue, solidarity and peace.

Read Also: Is it also a game?

OV Digital Desk