When COVID-19 pandemic has paused most sports worldwide, the United Nations (UN) has been celebrating a game that you can play safely indoors or online and also help to reduce anxiety, improve mental health on Monday marking the first ever World Chess Day.
Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General of UN Global Communications said, at a virtual commemorative event, said “Today is a day of celebration for an intellectual game that for centuries has managed to entertain, stimulate and sometimes even confound millions of us, the world over.”
“And as we celebrate, we remind ourselves of the special value that a game such as chess is bringing to so many people during this awful Covid-19 pandemic”, she added.
“They feed our lifelong sense of play…nurture our passion and enthusiasm… refresh our minds and bodies…distract us from troubles, and reduce our anxieties”, said Fleming.
According to reports, the pandemic has spurred a surge in chess, with more players coming together online, to compete and enjoy the game.
Combining sport, scientific thinking and artistic flair, chess is one of the most ancient, intellectual and cultural of games, according to the UN.
“The UN is mainstreaming sport initiatives into its work towards development and peace, part of our wider efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030”, affirmed Fleming.
This is being done by strengthening education; realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Also taking part in the event, the fifteenth world chess champion, groundbreaking Indian grandmaster, Viswanathan Anand, reflected on the long history of chess as a masterful "game of strategy".