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5 Fun Facts About American Chess Day

Join millions of chess fans in their love for the world’s most popular board game to celebrate American Chess Day on September 1st!

Chess tournaments, clubs, and classes continue to attract devoted members of the chess community. Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, there’s something for everyone.

Chess is one of the most ancient, intellectual and cultural games, with a combination of sport, scientific thinking and elements of art. As an affordable and inclusive activity, it can be exercised anywhere and played by all, across the barriers of language, age, gender, physical ability or social status.1

  1. 2020 was a huge year for chess.

While people were staying at home during the pandemic, chess was the perfect way to connect with others online. Chess enthusiasm in the US spiked even more with the release of the incredibly popular Netflix Series, The Queen’s Gambit

With no in-person events to attend, chess masters streamed themselves playing chess. Online chess platforms were overwhelmed with new players. The number of games played on online in 2020 were up 66% from pre-pandemic times.2 

  1. Computers are now better than people at chess. 

In the late 1980s, computers became capable of beating strong chess players.  In 1988, the computer Deep Thought became the first computer to defeat a grandmaster in a tournament game.3 Now, even the world champion doesn’t stand a chance against the leading computer. 

  1. All schoolchildren learn chess in Armenia. 

Starting from 2011, chess was taught as a school subject just like reading or math in Armenian schools. It’s the first country in the world to include chess as a subject in primary schools. With all the benefits that chess has for kids—creative thinking, spatial reasoning, and concentration—it’s no wonder that this country has made chess a compulsory class for everyone. 

  1. There are over 2,000 variations of chess. 

Most believe that chess began over 1400 years ago in India.4 However, as it’s spread across the world, games like Chinese chess and Japanese chess have evolved to become popular games as well. Today, international chess is standardized by the International Chess Federation, which was started in 1924. 

  1. Ben Franklin loved chess! 

You can thank founding father Ben Franklin for American Chess Day. Although the United States Chess Federation started in 1939, Ben Franklin was an avid chess player and even published an essay about the benefits of chess in 1786. 

Celebrate American Chess Day by joining a community of chess players, whether you’re just beginning or an experienced player.

Find kid-approved chess classes and camps on ActivityHero>>