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Until 1966, there was no chess day! It was only after FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs), the World Chess Federation, was founded that chess day came to be. Chess day is celebrated around the world on 20th July, chess day marks the celebration of one of the most popular board games that have brought together people of different ages, genders, and societies for centuries. Here’s learning more about this special day and what you can do to celebrate. 

History of International Chess Day

On July 20th, 1924, at the summer Olympics in Paris, FIDE – the United Chess Federation of over 181 countries was founded. Now headquartered in Lausanne, the organisation is known for defining standard chess rules for international play, calculating Elo ratings, and arranging various chess-related events, themes, and competitions. It is also the organisation that conducts chess tournaments around the world. 

It was in 1966 that the founding day of FIDE was chosen as International Chess Day. This day was further legitimised after it received a stamp of approval from the UN General Assembly in December 2019. The assembly unanimously passed a resolution that designated 20th July as International Chess Day. 

Why is International Chess Day Celebrated?

Chess is one of the most mentally challenging, inclusive and affordable sports in the world. It is a truly global game in the sense that it does not discriminate based on age, caste, language, status, physical ability, and gender. It encourages scientific thinking, fairness, and mutual respect amongst players. It also creates tolerance amongst people and nations of the world. 

Apart from this, chess is great for the brain. Psychologists often recommend playing chess to improve memory function and to fight the onset of Alzheimer’s. The impact of chess on young minds is also worth mentioning. The game has proven to improve social behaviour and general grades. 

As one of the most popular board games in the world, chess has been bringing people together for centuries. According to a YouGov poll conducted in 2012, chess has been played by almost 70% of the adult population at some or other point in their lives. Furthermore, there are over 600 million people around the world who play chess regularly. 

The reason why chess day is celebrated internationally is to acknowledge these aspects of a simple game of chess. It is also to promote the game such that people who have never played chess before can recognise the benefits and partake in a fun match. 

How is World Chess Day Celebrated?

Every year, several offline and online events and tournaments take place to celebrate and promote the international day of chess. Last year, the theme for the day was ‘Teach someone or learn how to play chess. To mark the day, several institutions and people, who weren’t part of the chess community, took the theme pretty seriously and joined the ranks of new players. The theme for International Chess Day 2022 is yet to be announced, but considering the success of 2021, it might be on the same lines. 

Apart from learning or teaching chess, the day is celebrated through online campaigns, offline tournaments, and marathons. In 2021, organised a 24-hour marathon to celebrate World Chess Day. It was an arena tournament that lasted the whole day and the top five players received a one-year free membership to the popular site. 

Furthermore, people, global brands, celebrities, and institutions who couldn’t participate in tournaments or events, used the hashtag #internationalchessday to post and talk about the benefits of playing chess. They also shared stories of the best game they’ve ever played, childhood anecdotes of the game, and how they improved their moves. The hashtag became so popular that it was trending around the world on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

Join the Fun on this International Chess Day

Now that you know that 20th July is celebrated worldwide as Chess Day, you too can participate and have fun! There are several ways you can become part of the celebration. The first, and the most simple one, is to play an intense game of chess. Find an opponent, whether online or offline and get started! You can even participate in online tournaments taking place around the globe. 

Another way to join the fun on this International Chess Day is to watch a chess-themed show or movie. Netflix has a mini-series called ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ that follows the story of a chess prodigy wanting to become the greatest chess player in the world. You can also watch famous chess movies like Pawn Sacrifice, Bobby Fischer Against the World, Queen to Play, A Little Game, and The Seventh Seal, amongst others. 

If you want to celebrate chess day in such a manner that it leaves a lasting impact, you should consider joining a local or online chess club. This way, you will be able to meet people who share the love of chess. You will also be able to get better at the game, learn new moves, understand international chess rules, and stay updated about international chess tournaments.  

What’s Happening at the Chess Olympiad?

Every year, FIDE organises a Chess Olympiad in different countries around the world. This year marks the 44th edition of the classic event where all federations will participate and compete for trophies and medals, as well as the title of the best chess-playing country in the world. Considering that the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the pandemic and the last tournament happened almost 4 years ago, people are eagerly awaiting this year’s event. 

The FIDE Olympiad is all set to begin on 29th July and will last up until 9th August. It will be held in Chennai, India. Over 100 nations will be competing to win a gold, silver, or bronze medal. If you wish to watch the Olympiad, you should know that it will be covered by YouTube, ChessTV, Twitch, and more. 

This year’s favourite nations are India, China, and the United States (the 2016 open champions). All the matches in each segment are scored by points. A win receives 2 points, a draw gives players 1 point, and a loss is given 0 points. The team that scores the highest number of points in the relevant segments is declared the year’s champion. In case there is a tie, there is a tie-breaker game. 

The team that wins the Olympiad will receive the Hamilton-Russell Cup and the women’s team that wins will receive the Vera Menchik Cup. The best combined open and women’s team performance will win the coveted Nona Gaprindashvili Trophy. 

How is Square Off Celebrating International Chess Day?

The team at Square Off lives and breathes chess! They are the people who created the world’s first telerobotic chess board. They also added a little bit of magic to the game of chess by making automated chess pieces that move with a life of their own. This year, you will be able to find the Square Off team at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai. They will be participating in the games and rubbing shoulders with grandmasters like Magnus Carlsen, Vishwanathan Anand, Koneru Humpy, and more. 

Over the years, Square Off has made a significant impact in the world of chess. They have created electronic chess boards that are a sight to behold. These boards come with advanced AI that helps you play the game of chess against computers or live chess with global players. Listed below are a few of their inventions that you can gift to someone or buy for yourself on this International Chess Day. 

The first one is the iconic Grand Kingdom Set. It is handcrafted wooden chess set with intricately carved pieces in rosewood finish. When you first look at the board, it will remind you of an antique set with premium pieces that feel great in the hands when you play. 

However, a closer look will reveal that the chess board isn’t made of just wood! It’s in fact integrated with advanced robotic and adaptive AI and features smartphone connectivity, automated movements, BlueTooth, monotone audio, live stream, and more. 

Another chess set by Square Off that has left people amazed is Square Off Pro. It is the world’s first rollable e-chess board. As a standard-tournament-sized board, it brings the power of technology and all the aspects of minimalism together. 

With it, you can play the game solo with advanced AI that challenges your every move and takes you through 20 difficulty levels. You can also play the game with another opponent and record the entire gameplay for future analysis. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is Chess Day Celebrated?

Chess day is celebrated on 20th July all over the world. To this day, people recognise the long history of chess and its role in bringing societies and people together. Celebrations include online chess marathons, tournaments, campaigns, movie nights, and more. 

What is the Theme of International Chess Day?

The theme of International Chess Day is decided by FIDE, the World Chess Federation. While the theme of International Chess Day 2022 hasn’t yet been revealed. The theme for 2021 was ‘Teach someone how to play chess’. 

Why is Chess Important Today?

Chess is important because it is one of the most challenging and inclusive board games in the world. It helps in problem-solving, increases memory function, and promotes positive social interactions. A study that involved over 4,000 second-year grade students found that studying chess for just four months increased their IQ scores. 

Is National Chess Day a Real Holiday?

National Chess Day is observed on the 9th of October in the United States and is a holiday. However, this day is limited to the USA. International Chess Day is celebrated by the world on 20th July.