July 20th

International Chess Day -

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International Chess Day, celebrated on July 20th each year, is a tribute to the historic and globally celebrated game of chess. The day celebrates the power of the mind and one of the oldest games known to mankind.

This day brings to light not just the joy of playing chess, but also the significance of the game in mental growth and strategic thinking. It remains an acknowledgment of how chess aids in fostering international interactions and cultural bonds through this globally admired game.

History of International Chess Day

Celebrated every year on the 20th of July, International Chess Day is an event spearheaded by the World Chess Federation or FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs in French).

Interestingly, chess has its roots established around 1500 years ago in India, where it was initially known as "chaturanga," which literally means "four divisions of the military." These four divisions included infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, which are the precursors to modern-day pawns, knights, bishops, and rooks.

The game spread from India to Persia, and as the Persian empire fell into the hands of Muslims, chess began to be enjoyed in the Muslim world and eventually found its way to Spain via the Moorish conquest. From Spain, the game spread throughout other parts of Europe.

By the end of the 15th century, the game had evolved to adopt the majority of the rules recognized in today's version of chess. When major chess tournaments began to be organized in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th, the game's popularity surged.

The World Chess Federation, FIDE, the international body governing the game of chess, was established on July 20, 1924, in Paris, France. This is the reason why International Chess Day is celebrated on this date.

UNESCO recognized the celebration of International Chess Day in 1966. In 2019, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution marking the day to raise awareness and emphasize FIDE's significant role in fostering international cooperation in chess activities and striving to enhance global harmony.

To rejoice in International Chess Day, a wide range of activities and events like chess competitions, workshops, and festivals are hosted around the globe. From chess enthusiasts and schools to chess organizations, everyone seizes the day to enjoy the game and share the pleasure of playing chess with others.

International Chess Day Timeline

Origins of Chess

Chess is thought to have originated in Eastern India, during the Gupta Empire (280–550), where its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturanga.

Modern Chess

Around the 15th century, the game evolved into roughly its current form in Europe.

First international chess tournament

The first international chess tournament takes place in London, promoting standardized rules for the game.

World Chess Championship Begins

The first official World Chess Championship is held.

Foundation of FIDE

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) is founded in Paris on July 20, 1924.

International Chess Day

FIDE established International Chess Day to be celebrated annually on July 20, the anniversary of its founding.

United Nations Recognition

The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution marking the day.

Ideas to Celebrate International Chess Day

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Organize a Community Chess Tournament

Celebrate International Chess Day by gathering all age groups in your community and setting up a friendly chess contest that runs throughout the day. This social event is a perfect way to exchange knowledge, teach, learn, and cultivate a greater appreciation for chess among community members.

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Online Chess Challenge

Invite friends and family members to join you in an online chess showdown on a digital platform of your choice. This friendly competition allows participants to test their chess skills against each other, adding an element of excitement to the celebration of the day.

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Chess Movie Marathon

Celebrate International Chess Day by indulging in a lengthy film screening of chess-centric movies and documentaries. Titles like 'Searching for Bobby Fischer', 'Queen of Katwe' and 'The Queen's Gambit' offer a fun way to spend the day, enhancing your understanding of the intriguing world of chess simultaneously.

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Donate to Chess Associations

On International Chess Day, one way to celebrate is by making a financial contribution to chess associations or charities that work towards promoting the chess community, particularly in disadvantaged areas. Your contribution can provide aspiring chess players with the resources they need to pursue their passion.

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Visit a Chess Club

Commemorate the day by visiting a nearby chess club with friends and spending the day honing your strategies. If you're skilled in chess, you might also consider offering tips and tricks to those just getting started.

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Learning Chess Day

If you're unfamiliar with chess, use International Chess Day as an opportunity to learn. There are numerous online tools and resources available that can help unlock the fascinating world of chess for you.

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Chess Puzzle Competition

Add a unique twist to your celebrations by hosting a quick-paced competition in which participants need to complete chess puzzles within a specified time limit. It's a fun and interactive way to observe the day.

8 Interesting Facts About Chess


Longest Possible Game

Imagine a chess game stretching up to 5,949 moves! Interestingly, the 50-Move Rule opens the door for extensive games, in which a player can claim it a draw if no pawn movement or capture has occurred in the last sequence of 50 moves.


Origins of Chess

'Chaturanga' was the initial name given to the game of chess when it emerged in Northern India around the 6th century AD. It signifies 'four divisions of the army', with infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry corresponding to the pawn, knight, bishop, and rook in today's chess.


The Toddler Prodigy

Sergey Karjakin from Ukraine holds the record for being the youngest chess Grandmaster in history. He clinched the prestigious title at a surprisingly young age of just 12 years and 7 months back in 2002.


First Female Grandmaster

Nona Gaprindashvili of Georgia carved her name into history as the first woman to earn the title of Grandmaster in 1978. She is widely recognized for breaking down many gender biases in the realm of professional chess.


Computer vs Human Chess

Since the late 90s, computers have been demonstrating their ability to outsmart humans in chess. IBM's powerful supercomputer, Deep Blue, made history in 1997 by becoming the first ever computer system to triumph over a reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, in a game played with standard time controls.


Worldwide Popularity

Chess enjoys an astounding level of popularity globally, with over 600 million regular players and more than 2,000 professional players. This statistic confirms the status of chess as one of the most cherished games worldwide.


Mate in Two

Believe it or not, but it's entirely possible to win a chess game in merely two moves – a scenario known as Fool's mate. Such a rapid victory is more commonly seen in games played by novices.


Chess in Space

The first game of chess to be played in outer space unfolded in 1970, courtesy of the Soyez-9 crew. The game culminated in a stalemate.

International Chess Day FAQs

Next International Chess Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 July 20th Thursday
2024 July 20th Saturday
2025 July 20th Sunday
2026 July 20th Monday
2027 July 20th Tuesday
What is the pattern? Every July 20th

International Chess Day Word Search

  • Checkmate
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Pawns
  • Queen
  • King