7 People & Groups Spreading Passion For Chess

Easy to learn but notoriously difficult to master, chess is a game that gives people of all ages an opportunity to think strategically, compete with others, and have fun while doing it. The groups and individuals on this list use the game of kings to reach out to low-income youth, bring generations together, and connect players and fans around the world. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Organizations & Individuals Spreading Interest In Chess

Name Description
World Chess Hall of Fame Non-profit that honors the history and celebrates the cultural impact of chess
Garry Kasparov Human rights advocate, author, and world-renowned chess player
Perpetual Chess Podcast Podcast that places a spotlight on the stories of people in the contemporary world of chess
PRO Chess League Global forum for competitive online chess
Dan Heisman Author and full-time chess instructor based in Pennsylvania
Chess in the Schools Organization that provides chess education to low-income youth
Gibraltar International Chess Festival Annual event that gathers players and fans for entertainment, socializing, and competition

Benefits Of Playing Chess

  • Improves strategic thinking
  • Brings people together
  • Gives players a chance to practice sportsmanship
  • Teaches foresight and planning
  • Builds confidence
  • Helps people develop problem-solving skills
  • Improves concentration

A Brief History Of Chess

What Are The Different Chess Pieces?

Name Each Player Has Usually Looks Like How It Moves
Pawn 8 Small with a rounded top One square (or two on the first move) straight forward, or one square forward diagonally when capturing an opponent's piece
Rook 2 A castle Forward, backward, left, or right in a straight line; cannot jump
Knight 2 A Horse In an L-shape: one square vertically and two horizontally or vice versa; can jump over other pieces
Bishop 2 Has a hat with a slash and a rounded top Diagonally in a straight line; cannot jump
Queen 1 Tall with a many-pointed crown Forward, back, left, right, or diagonally in a straight line; cannot jump
King 1 Tall with a crown topped with a cross One square in any direction; cannot be moved into immediate danger

Garry Kasparov On Intelligent Machines

In Depth

Often referred to as the King's Game, chess holds a unique place in the imagination of the Western world. Viewed as a symbol of intellectual prowess, and as a tool for developing strategic skill, it has been spurring competition, inspiring art, and bringing people together for centuries. In no particular order, we present seven individuals and organizations fostering interest in the game of chess.

Starting us off at #1 is The World Chess Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization which honors the history, and celebrates the cultural impact, of this long-venerated game. Housed in the city of Saint Louis, its displays pay tribute to the exceptional players of the past, both within the United States and on the world stage. The museum's exhibitions include numerous examples of the artistry and variety in chess set designs, from historical classics to modernist reinterpretations.

The organization offers many educational experiences, exploring the ways that chess has influenced human culture in fields such as popular entertainment, high fashion, and the arts. It also delves into the history of the game, with exhibitions like Her Turn, an examination of great female players who overcame gender prejudice. The museum also hosts musical performances, artist workshops, and entertainment options for children and families. Supporters can help with donations or become sustaining members, as well as purchasing gifts and apparel through the online store.

The organization offers many educational experiences, exploring the ways that chess has influenced human culture in fields such as popular entertainment, high fashion, and the arts.

Following up at #2 is Garry Kasparov, a human rights advocate, author, and world-renowned chess player. Born in Azerbaijan in 1963, he became the champion of the Soviet Union at age twelve and the youngest-ever world champion at twenty-two, remaining a highly-ranked player throughout his career. Famously defeated by the computer Deep Blue, he has since become a proponent of optimism about the possibilities of artificial intelligence; his book Deep Thinking argues for an alliance between machine learning and human creativity.

Kasparov works to support the development of up-and-coming players through his chess foundation, which provides instructional materials and hosts tournaments for young people. He also delivers keynote speeches and educational presentations about strategic thinking, geopolitics, and the future of the game. Kasparov writes and speaks against authoritarianism and political extremism; his book Winter Is Coming condemns the western world's role in the consolidation of power within Russia, and he has delivered numerous lectures and opinion pieces in support of individual rights.

Next up at #3 is the Perpetual Chess Podcast. Hosted by Ben Johnson, who also teaches classes and after-school programs in the New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia areas, it aims to place a spotlight on the personalities, and tell the stories, of the people who make up the contemporary world of chess. Each episode consists of a long-form interview with a notable player, trainer, or scholar of the game.

Hosted by Ben Johnson, who also teaches classes and after-school programs in the New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia areas, it aims to place a spotlight on the personalities, and tell the stories, of the people who make up the contemporary world of chess.

The guests on the Perpetual Chess Podcast discuss topics including the history of the game, strategies and training philosophies, and struggles for inclusion and diversity in the international community. An expansion of the project, entitled Chess Books Recaptured, features conversations with fellow enthusiasts about classic works on the past masters or the evolving tactics of their shared pastime. Those looking to support the show can donate via Patreon, and businesses can inquire about advertising opportunities.

Coming in at #4 is the PRO Chess League, a global forum for competitive online play. Four-person teams from around the world face off with the aim of winning first regional divisions, then playoffs, and finally the world championship. Matches are streamed over the internet, with running commentary provided by experts like Daniel Rensch, who is a record-setting player, a writer, and the owner of the League's host website.

Along with championship-level play, PRO Chess League offers Weekly Arenas in which participants compete to catch the eye of competitive teams, and various online tournaments for members. They also provide articles discussing results and highlights from current and past seasons. Fans can compete in the organization's fantasy chess program, selecting players from around the League in hopes of drafting a winning team. Those looking to show their support can buy merchandise from the online store.

They also provide articles discussing results and highlights from current and past seasons.

#5 on the list is Dan Heisman, a chess author and full-time instructor based in Pennsylvania. He has written many books about the theory and practice of chess, such as Looking for Trouble, written for players looking to improve their ability to detect threats on the board, or Elements of Positional Evaluation, a guide to analyzing the tactical value of different pieces. He offers private lessons for all ages and ability levels.

Heisman has received multiple awards from the Chess Journalists of America organization. Along with his book-length works, he has written numerous articles and blog posts, many aimed at helping players improve their ability to analyze and think critically about their gameplay. He also produces instructional videos for online learning, and through the Dan Heisman Chess Support Fund, he helps to provide financial assistance to programs for junior players. Supporters can make a donation online.

For #6 we'll look at Chess in the Schools, which provides chess education to low-income youth for intellectual and social development. Public elementary and middle schools in New York City, if they are eligible for Title One funding, can participate in the program. Trained instructors run lessons for students, both in the classroom and after hours. By getting children interested in an activity that requires concentration, strategic thinking, and understanding an opponent, the organization aims to improve their logical and cooperative abilities.

Trained instructors run lessons for students, both in the classroom and after hours.

In addition to its in-school programs, CIS offers summer opportunities for kids to continue learning and improving, including a partnership with the special needs-focused Camp Ramapo. The organization also provides preparation for higher education through its College Bound initiative, and runs a Teacher Training Institute for educators seeking to bring chess into their own schools. And the Scholastic Tournament Program offers free competitions, many of them open to all students in the city. Readers wishing to contribute can make a donation to fund the work of CIS.

Capping off our list at #7 is the Gibraltar International Chess Festival. Founded by Brian Callaghan, enthusiast and owner of Gibraltar's Caleta Hotel, this annual event gathers players of all ranks, and fans of the game, for entertainment, socializing and competition. It has garnered acclaim from the Association of Chess Professionals, and become a cultural fixture of its home city, receiving ceremonial visits from local public officials each year in recognition of its impact.

The Festival's program features a tournament in which masters from around the globe compete; past entrants have included figures like former Women's World Champion Tan Zhongyi, or international prodigy Ramesh Babu Praggnanandhaa. There are also competitions for challengers and amateurs, and entertaining events like the annual Battle of the Sexes. And attendees can take advantage of educational offerings such as former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik's University Chess Seminar.