Why International Chess Day Is Important
July 20 is International Chess Day. Image: FIDE via Twitter.

Why International Chess Day Is Important


Chess receives our attention every day, but on July 20 each year, the whole world pays attention. That’s the day set aside internationally to honor the game of chess.

Do you know that the United Nations recognizes the importance of our beloved game? The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution that designates July 20 as International Chess Day. In addition to celebrating the game, International Chess Day also commemorates the founding of FIDE, the International Chess Federation, on July 20, 1924.

International Chess Day
One of the images being used to promote International Chess Day. Source: FIDE via Twitter.

In the resolution, the General Assembly recognizes the importance of FIDE in supporting international cooperation for chess activity and aiming to improve friendly harmony among all peoples of the world. Introduced by Armenia and co-sponsored by 52 other countries, the resolution also recognizes chess for:

  • Being an ancient, intellectual, and cultural game that combines sport, scientific thinking, and elements of art
  • Promoting fairness, inclusion, and mutual respect and contributing to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding among peoples and nations
  • Being an affordable and inclusive activity that can be played anywhere by anyone—across all barriers of language, age, gender, physical ability, and social status
  • Offering opportunities that strengthen education; realize gender equality; empower women and girls; and foster inclusion, tolerance, mutual understanding, and respect.
Mher Margaryan
Mher Margaryan, Armenia’s representative to the U.N. General Assembly, introduces the resolution to celebrate International Chess Day. Photo: FIDE.

The role of Armenia in introducing the resolution is so appropriate. The country embraces chess as an academic subject in schools, and it is one of the top countries on the basis of the number of elite players per capita. (See a recent list by @RoaringPawn that ranks countries by the number of masters per capita.) In introducing the resolution, Mher Margaryan, Armenia’s representative to the General Assembly, said, “One of the most important and enduring lessons that chess can offer is teaching respect.”

One of the most important and enduring lessons that chess can offer is teaching respect.
— Mher Margaryan, Armenia’s representative to U.N. General Assembly

If you are active on social media, share your views about chess and describe your experiences with playing the game. Include the hashtag #InternationalChessDay, observe how this topic is trending, and check to see how others respond to your post.

FIDE tweet in Russian
As indicated in this post in Russian, FIDE appeals to chess players around the globe “to teach another person how to play chess” on International Chess Day. Source: FIDE via Twitter.

If you believe in strengthening education, promoting gender equality, empowering everyone, showing tolerance and mutual respect, playing fairly, and reducing barriers that limit the success of others, what better way is there than the game of chess?

What are your thoughts? How does your country or region promote the celebration of chess on July 20?