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International Chess Day 2022: Origin, Significance, and Some Notable Women Chess Players

To honour the day of FIDE’s creation, July 20 is designated as International Chess Day each year. FIDE celebrated its 98th birthday this year.

International Chess Day
Photo by sk on Unsplash

International Chess Day is observed annually on July 20 to honour the day FIDE (the World Chess Federation) was established in the year 1924. This year marks the 98th anniversary of FIDE. In honour of International Chess Day 2022, here is a closer look into the background and significance of the game of chess, along with some famous women players.

Origin Of Chess

Modern International Chess is played by two players who compete using chess pieces such as pawns, bishops, knights, and king and queen rooks. By 1000 CE, it was widely accepted throughout Europe. Notably, India is where chess originated. Chess originated from “Chaturanga,” a four-player ancient strategic game, which was played in India from the early 4th century to the late 6th century CE. The game then migrated to Persia after the Arab invasion, where it eventually became an important part of Muslim culture. From there, a later variation of the game chaturanga known as “shatranj” made its way to southern Europe. Chess evolved into a modern sport in the 15th century, long before it became the popular game it is today. Today, chess tournaments are held all over the world, with new twists on the basic game.

Significance of Chess Day

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared December 12 as World Chess Day. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded in Paris on this day in 1924, which is why July 20 was chosen as the anniversary. Since 1966, FIDE has commemorated World Chess Day, which is recognized by more than 150 chess federations.

Famous Women Chess Players

1. Padmini Rout

The International Master Padmini Rout has the highest rating of 2454. Additionally, from 2014 to 2017, she held the title of graceful champion at the National Women’s Premier four times in a row. She began playing chess when she was 9 years old, and she hasn’t stopped ever since. She received the Biju Patnaik Sports Award in 2007 and the Eklavya Award in 2009. At the 2014 Chess Olympiad, she was the only Indian woman to take home an individual gold medal on the fifth board for her country. She earned gold in the Commonwealth Games in 2015, and then, in 2018, she received the title of Asian Women’s Champion.

2. Dronavalli Harika

Harika Dronavalli is the second Indian woman to achieve Grandmaster status, with a top rating of 2543. At age 12, she broke the record for Asia’s youngest WIM, and at age 13, she set the record for India’s youngest WGM. She won the inaugural FIDE World Online Women’s Blitz Championship in 2015.

The 30-year-old GM was given a Padma Shri in 2019 in recognition of her outstanding chess accomplishments and contributions to the sports industry! She was a vital part of the Indian team that shared the gold medal at the 2020 FIDE Online Olympiad with Russia. She also won the silver medal at the 2021 FIDE Women’s World Team Championship and received a bronze medal at the 2021 FIDE Online Chess Olympiad.

3. Bhakti Kulkarni

Bhakti Kulkarni has a high rating of 2404 and is an International Master. She won the 44th National Challenger Chess Championship in grand style. She took home the Asian Women’s Individual Championship in 2016. She triumphed at the 2018 National Championship, winning the national women’s championship for the first time in her career.

4. Vaishali Rameshbabu

Vaishali Rameshbabu is a woman grandmaster with a rating of 2411. She was a U16 player who had the 12th-best ranking in the world in October 2016. She took home the title of Asian Continental Blitz Champion in 2017.

5. Koneru Humpy

Koneru won three gold medals in the World Youth Chess Championship: in 1997, 1998, and 2000. She became the youngest grandmaster at the age of 15 in 2002 after winning many prestigious youth tournaments; this record was surpassed in 2008. In 2003, she got the Arjuna Award, one of India’s greatest athletic honours, and in 2007, she was given the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour.

At the 2015 Women’s World Team Chess Championship in Chengdu, China, she took home the individual bronze medal. She won the title of women’s World Rapid champion in 2019 after returning from a two-year maternity break. Koneru was named BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year in 2020 in a public poll.

Unveiling of Postal Stamp Today:

Postal Stamp for the 44th Chess Olympiad has been unveiled in New Delhi marking the new era of chess in India on the occasion of International Chess Day.

How often do you play chess? Share with us in the community. Let’s talk?

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Written by Yashika Goel

From Arts and Journalism background, Yashika is a graphic designer and content writer living in Delhi. When not working, you’ll find me eating pasta, travelling, reading books, drinking coffee or painting. Join me as I learn more about myself and show you how to love life daily!

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