National Chess Day on October 9th: It's Official!
By Michael Atkins   
October 3, 2010
National Chess Day has been around as a concept since 1976. President Ford issued a letter in support of National Chess Day but it slowly faded away over the years. It became a half-remembered celebration because it wasn't official.  It became "more official" on September 29, 2010 when the US Senate, in S Res #672, proclaimed Oct 9, 2010 as National Chess Day to, "encourage the people of the United States to observe `National Chess Day' with appropriate programs and activities." Look for the full proclamation in a pdf download soon on CLO and the forums. 

National Chess Day was an agenda item in the Saint Louis Executive Board meeting in May 2010. A month later a National Chess Day program was proposed and I thought we should try to make it more official. We needed a contact in the Congress and I knew of one who had at least three family members who were also USCF members. Senator Jay Rockefeller's (W.VA) son John is an increasingly active TD, Certified Chess Coach and the new Maryland Chess Association Scholastic Coordinator.  He agreed to propose the idea to his father's staff and the journey started. Thank you John!

Barbara Pryor was the worker from Senator Rockefeller's office who did everything at the Senate Level. Several versions of the Senate Resolution were received, commented on and additions were added after consulting with Harold Winston, Allen Priest and Harry Sabine.  The slow process started to gel into a reality when two final hurdles appeared. The first was a request from Ms Pryor for endorsement letters from USCF people in Vermont and Alabama because the Resolution was getting vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Michael Stridsberg (Vtchess.info webmaster) provided a letter from Vermont and Matt Adams, Alabama Chess Federation, provided a letter after their annual meeting which just happened to be exactly when we needed it!

The second and seemingly biggest hurdle happened when it was discovered that a Republican co-sponsor was needed. Finally Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Tex) signed on and Lamar Alexander (TN) added support and the Resolution (Link to PDF Version here) was unanimously passed as presented.

On October 9th, there are 23 "official" National Chess Day events and many others that are also supporting the event. We encourage all of the event organizers to print a copy of the official resolution and prominently post it at their event. As a reminder, part of the National Chess Day program was to allow organizers to send in a 100 word description of their event for consideration for publishing in Chess Life Magazine and posting in CLO. 

This was the work of more than a few elements and members of the USCF. NCD will be an agenda item at the upcoming Crossville meeting of the Executive Board. We'll explore ideas on how to see National Chess Day recognized by the United States every year.

See details on the USCF's National Chess Day promotion here. Contact CLO at jshahade@uschess.org to submit or for instructions on your National Chess Day write-up!