International Chess Olympiad – Chess Olympics

If you're not a chess player, you may be forgiven for not knowing anything about the International Chess Olympiad; however, once your attention has been bought to it, you will fail to understand how you never heard of it before. The International Chess Olympiad is essentially to the chess world, what the world cup is to the soccer world; it's where the best of the best come to fight it out to determine who the best is really.

Whilst today chess is an Olympic recognized sport, although it still doesn’t appear in the games, it wasn't always even recognized. Therefore, when in 1924 whilst the Olympic Games were in full swing in Paris, the same city played host to a group of chess players starting their own Olympiad. This early chess tournament was completely unofficial, and was largely a response to the failure of including the sport of chess in the Olympics. That first International Chess Olympiad was won by Czechoslovakia, with Hungary and Switzerland as runners up. The sport of chess came into the limelight from that point on with guns a blazing.

On July 20th, 1924 which marked the final day of the first International Chess Olympiad, the Fédération Internationale des Échecs of the World Chess Federation was formed, and made their first steps towards organizing the first official International Chess Olympiad. That meeting of the chess world took place in London in 1927, and since then the chess world has met more or less bi-annually to celebrate the wonderful sport of chess.

The idea behind the International Chess Olympiad is very straight forward, and that it was born from a rejection of the sport of chess from the Olympics is apparent in its aims. The idea behind the International Chess Olympiad, then and now, is for each country to show its strength in the sport of chess, in order that a nation can be recognized as the champion of the chess world. Today, the sport of chess is recognized by the international Olympic committee, but has still not yet appeared as an Olympic sport in an Olympic games, and so the International Chess Olympiad continues as strong as ever.

Each chess association that has been FIDE recognized has the right to enter a team in the International Chess Olympiad; this team consists of six players in total which is made up of four regular and two reserve players. The International Chess Olympiad has gone through several incarnations through out its history in terms of its structure, but as of 1976 it took on the Swiss tournament system.

In 1927 the Hamilton-Russel Cup was the prize given to Hungary by the English Magnate Frederick Hamilton-Russel, and thus that is the prize today. The last country to win it was Armenia in 2006. That event, the 37th official International Chess Olympiad attracted 148 teams representing a total of 143 nations in the men's cup and 106 teams representing 102 nations in the women's cup. The next International Chess Olympiad is due to take place in Dresden, Germany between November 12th and November 25th, 2008.