Chess calms, improves mental health and helps recovery after the pandemic

Teenagers playing chess at a school in Sana’a, Yemen. © UNICEF / Moohialdin Fuad

Geneva, Jul 20 (UNNEW) – Chess, one of the oldest games in the world, combines elements of sport, scientific reasoning and art. Currently some 605 million people play it regularly and it is estimated that 70% of the adult population of many countries has played it at some point in their life.

By celebrating World Chess Day this Mars, the UN affirmed that this game can contribute to the creation of an environment of tolerance between peoples and nations because it promotes justice, equity, inclusion and mutual respect, in addition to the fact that at this time it has a relevant role for mental health, which has suffered a lot of stress during the pandemic.

History has shown that games and sports help humanity survive in times of crisis by reducing anxiety.

Convening power

In the case of the coronavirus emergency, most sports and gaming activities were limited, especially if practiced as a team. Chess, on the other hand, has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, as well as very strong summoning power during the pandemic.

Data shows that general interest in this game has doubled in recent months, with more people than ever participating in online chess events.

Chess can be played anywhere and is accessible to everyone as it is affordable and inclusive and transcends barriers of language, age, gender, physical ability, and social status.

It is a game that supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals as it promotes education, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Sport, the arts and physical activity have the power to change perceptions and prejudices, in addition to breaking down racial and political barriers, fighting discrimination and defusing conflict.

In this sense, the UN considers that these disciplines contribute to peace, cooperation, solidarity and health at the local, regional and international levels.

International conference

On December 12, 2019, the General Assembly proclaimed July 20 as World Chess Day to mark the date of establishment of the International Chess Federation in Paris in 1924.

The designation of World Chess Day not only recognizes the role of the Federation in supporting international cooperation for chess activity and the goal of enhancing respectful coexistence among all the peoples of the world, but also provides important support to foster dialogue, solidarity and the culture of peace.



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