On 20th July, the world will come together to celebrate International Chess Day, a special occasion dedicated to honoring the intellectual and cultural significance of the game of chess.
The history of chess traces back to ancient times, with its origins believed to be in Chaturanga, a strategic board game played in the Northern Indian Subcontinent during the Gupta period. Throughout history, chess has evolved into more than 2,000 identifiable variants. It spread westward to Persia through the Silk Roads and became known as Chatrang or Shatranj.
The earliest references to the game can be found in a Persian manuscript dating back to around 600 CE, presented as a gift to King Khosrow I by an ambassador from the Indian Subcontinent. Over time, chess gained popularity in Europe and Russia, undergoing transformations to become the modern chess we know today.
In recognition of the significant role played by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in promoting international cooperation for chess, the United Nations General Assembly declared 20th July as World Chess Day on December 12, 2019. Since 1966, chess enthusiasts worldwide have been observing this day as International Chess Day under the initiative of FIDE.
The designation of International Chess Day not only acknowledges FIDE’s pivotal role but also creates a platform for fostering dialogue, solidarity, and a culture of peace among people from all walks of life.
Chess holds great significance as one of the oldest and most strategic board games, blending elements of sport, scientific thinking, and art. It stands as an inclusive and affordable activity, transcending barriers of language, age, gender, physical ability, and social status, making it accessible to everyone. The United Nations recognizes the power of sports, arts, and physical activity in promoting education, peace, cooperation, social inclusion, and health on a global scale. On International Chess Day, the world celebrates this timeless game and the positive impact it has on individuals and communities worldwide.