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American Chess Day

American Chess Day celebrates the game of chess in the United States. Chess is a two-player strategy board game where different types of pieces—pawns, rooks, knights, bishops, and queens—that have a prescribed set of moves, move across a checkered square board in an effort to capture an opponent's king piece. It is almost certainly derived from chaturanga, a game that started in the northern part of the Indian Subcontinent and spread along the Silk Road to Persia during the Gupta period. By the time it made it to Persia around 600 CE, it was known as chatrang or shatranj. It continued along the Silk Road to the Arabian Peninsula and Byzantium (Istanbul). Books were being written about the game by 900 CE, and by 1000 CE it was popular across Europe and Russia.

It took until the sixteenth century for the version played today to emerge, and chess theory didn't begin in earnest until the eighteenth century. Standardized chess set pieces came in the nineteenth century, as did clocks for competitive play. Both helped make modern matches and tournaments possible. The official world championship title came about in the late nineteenth century. While not everyone can be a world champion, everyone can celebrate chess with American Chess Day!

How to Observe American Chess Day

Celebrate the day by playing chess with someone, either in person or online. Watch a chess stream. Take part in a chess tournament—you could even host one for family and friends. Check for chess competitions and events to attend. Teach chess to a child, or help a newer player learn some tricks of the game. Learn more about Benjamin Franklin, one of the first and best-known American players of chess, and learn about some champion American chess players. You could also join a chess club, become a member of the United States Chess Federation, or visit the World Chess Hall of Fame.

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