Chess as the national Jewish game

January 7th, 2015 is glad to introduce a new Israeli stamp issue dedicated to chess - one of the most prevalent games in the world. The stamp has been already designed and is scheduled to be released on the 10th of February.

Chess is thought to have been invented in India in the 6th century CE and was popular among the Arab nations and in Persia. The game reached Europe around the 10th century, and the modern rules of the game were established there in the 15th century. Since then, this version of the game has spread throughout the world.

Chess is mentioned in the Kuzari, written by medieval Spanish philosopher and poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, as well as in writings by Rashi and Maimonides, and Abraham ibn Ezra even dedicated one of his poems to the game. This game has been extremely popular among Jews, who have also had significantachievements in this field. Four of the 16 World Champions were Jewish and three others were half-Jewish.

Jewish excellence in chess is so prominent that the game has been called "the national Jewish game".

Thanks to these achievements and many more, Israel was granted the opportunity to host a number of important events: the Chess Olympic Games in 1964 (Tel-Aviv) and 1976 (Haifa), the European National Championship (Haifa, 1989), the World Youth Chess Championship (Jerusalem, 1967), the Team World Cup (Beer Sheva, 2005) and more.

This stamp is being issued to mark the European Individual Chess Championship 2015 which will be held in Jerusalem. The design reflects the connection between chess and Judaism and Israel, as well as chess' status as Israel's national sport and its number one representative sport.