The first annual Icelandic Chess Day was celebrated around the country for the first time on Thursday. It is held in honor of Iceland’s first grand master Friðrik Ólafsson, who celebrated his 77th birthday on January 26.
Friðrik is considered to have furthered the sport and boasted magnificent success in his career, including beating four world champions, Morgunblaðið reports.
A reception was held at the presidential residence Bessastaðir to mark the occasion. Among visitors were children who will play for Iceland at the Nordic Championship in Chess.
Friðrik played against ten-year-old Nansý Davíðsdóttir, the Icelandic Children’s Champion in Chess, who is the first girl to earn the title. The game ended with an honorary draw.
Other events included multiple games of chess played simultaneously in the Laugardalslaug swimming pool in Reykjavík and the inauguration of a swimming pool chess board in the Akureyri pool.
Gunnar Björnsson, president of the Icelandic Chess Federation, said the sport is growing in popularity in Iceland. “It is inexpensive and easy to practice chess. […] And chess is incredibly fun and rewarding.”
Chess Day is organized by various chess associations, sports associations and others.