National Chess Day takes place every second Saturday in October and is on October 8 this year. The royal game has been played for centuries, and despite its limited pieces and simple layout, chess is a complex art that has captivated players and viewers alike. Former President Gerald Ford said it best: “For both professionals and amateurs, chess is a game that sharpens the mind, tests human faculties, and encourages healthy competition. It has captivated the attention of players and spectators worldwide and will continue to do so as long as competition and excellence challenge mankind.”
History of National Chess Day
Chess is a two-player board game in which each player formulates a strategy and defense to capture the King. Since the early Crusades, chess has been enjoyed by millions of people in various parts of the world. The earliest versions of the game differ, but from the 15th century onwards, the design became standardized. The modern chess that we know today is adapted from old Indian and Persian games.
Chess has had a significant impact on social development, highlighted particularly in Benjamin Franklin’s famous essay titled “The Morals of Chess.” Franklin certainly elevated the status of American chess, but it is Paul Morphy who is considered the first American chess legend. Morphy is known as the best chess player of his time, and in 1857, was the first American to beat the best European chess player of the time, Adolph Anderssen.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared October 9 as National Chess Day. He considered chess a kings’ game and was an avid follower. This annual celebration has taken place on the second Saturday of October since 1979, with millions of beginners and experts delving into the unique world of chess. Interest in the game surged following the release of the Netflix mini-series “The Queen’s Gambit” in 2020.
National Chess Day timeline
The original version of chess, named Chaturanga, is created in India and gains popularity all the way to Persia.
Chess is referred to for the first time in the book “Dutch New York” written by Esther Singleton.
Benjamin Franklin authors the first of his many writings on chess, titled “The Morals of Chess.”
Carlsen becomes World Chess Champion by defeating Viswanathan Anand.
National Chess Day FAQs
What day is National Chess Day?
National Chess Day is celebrated every year on the second Saturday of October.
Why is International Chess Day celebrated?
International Chess Day was founded in 1966 to mark the creation of FIDE, now known as the World Chess Federation.
What is American Chess Day?
American Chess Day is celebrated in the U.S. on September 1 every year.
National Chess Day Activities
Whether you are a pro or a rookie, pull out your chessboard and make your move. Enjoy a few games with friends, neighbors, or family.
Watch a chess-related movie or T.V. show
Chess has been the focal subject in many movies and T.V. shows. We recommend “Magnus,” “Pawn Sacrifice,” and “Queen To Play.”
Host a tournament
Arrange a chess tournament for your friends and family. Raise the stakes and have a prize for the Grandmaster.
5 Facts About Chess That Players Should Know
The queen was once the weakest piece
The modern call actually romanticizes the game in which the old weak Vizier transformed into an all-powerful Queen.
The 9 x 9 variant
This version of chess has evolved from the standard, classical chess in which a ninth piece and an additional pawn are introduced.
A knight has many movies
Over 122 million moves make up the entire labyrinth of a knight’s trail.
The longest game of chess
The longest chess game ever was between Nikolic and Arsovic in Belgrade 1989; it lasted 269 moves and ended in a draw.
A computer beat the Grandmaster
In November 1988, the supercomputer Deep Thought became the first-ever computer to be an International Grandmaster when it beat Bent Larsen.
Why We Love National Chess Day
Chess is unparalleled
Using a simple checkered layout and set pieces to move, chess is an ancient game that is more popular than ever today. This dynamic game has endless possibilities and is an art in itself.
Chess connects people
Chess plays an important role in connecting people of different races, cultures, classes, and societies. There is no discrimination in chess, and anyone can make their move to capture the king.
Chess builds character
Playing chess hones an individual’s strategy-making skills and develops an analytical mind. Chess offers insight into the psyche of players, adding to the beauty of the game.
National Chess Day dates