A National Sport
Chess has been one of Russia’s most popular games for hundreds of years. Historians have even claimed that Czar Ivan IV died in the middle of a chess tournament in 1854. When the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, the game’s popularity skyrocketed, and it quickly became Russia’s favorite pastime. Chess is popular among Russians because it embodies their principles. It is not a game of luck but rather one that takes talent and a well-planned strategy. The state sponsored its first national chess tournament in Moscow in 1921, and many of the world’s finest players, including current world number five Alexander Grischuk, are Russian nationals.