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For Global Peace with Social Justice in a Sustainable Environment

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. 09404955338, 09415777229;


Chess and Mahatma Gandhi


A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules that result in a quantifiable outcome. A game is a form of art in which participants; termed players, make decisions in order to manage resources through game tokens in the pursuit of a goal. A game is an activity among two or more independent decision-makers seeking to achieve their objectives in some limiting context. At its most elementary level then we can define game as an exercise of voluntary control systems in which there is an opposition between forces, confined by a procedure and rules in order to produce a disequilibria outcome.

Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard a square checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs online, and in tournament. Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently. Pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces, with the object of the game being to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. Mahatma Gandhi knew that this game is good for mental exercise. So he had taken very interest in it.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “When the news of the passing of the new Act was received, The Star published a forceful cartoon. It shows the whites and the Indians playing a game of chess. With the permission of The Star, we reproduce the cartoon elsewhere with our own cartoon in reply. According to The Star, the black king has mounted an attack on the Transvaal rook. The white knight; if it can enter the Ordinance square will be in a position to check the black king. Now that the Bill has become law, the white knight can move into the Ordinance square and force the black king into the Indian square. The white knight is pleased. In the cartoon which we publish in reply, it is shown that the square of the jail-going resolution is occupied by a black pawn. The white knight in its hurry has overlooked the black pawn which guards the Ordinance square and the fact that it cannot move into the Ordinance square as long as the black pawn is on the jail-square. It is further suggested that what in its blind hurry the white knight takes to be the black king is really not a king; it can only be a poor pawn. The Star has attached so much importance to the Ordinance. It has charged the Indians with overrunning the Transvaal. All this shows that the new Act is not a trivial matter. We commend this drawing to every Indian for careful study.”1

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The first port of call was Lamu, which we reached in about thirteen days. The Captain and I had become great friends by this time. He was fond of playing chess, but as he was quite a novice, he wanted one still more of a beginner for his partner, and so he invited me. I had heard a lot about the game but had never tried my hand at it. Players used to say that this was a game in which there was plenty of scope for the exercise of one’s intelligence. The Captain offered to give me lessons, and he found me a good pupil as I had unlimited patience. Every time I was the loser, and that made him all the more eager to teach me. I liked the game, but never carried my liking beyond the boat or my knowledge beyond the boat or my knowledge beyond the moves of the pieces.”2

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There were very few passengers on board. Among them were two English officers, with whom I came in close contact. With one of them I used to play chess for an hour daily. The ship’s doctor gave me a Tamil Self-teacher which I began to study. My experience in Natal had shown me that I should acquire knowledge of Urdu to get into closer contact with the Mussalmans, and of Tamil to get into closer touch with the Madras Indians.”3 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Jamnalal also is better. He is having change of air in Simla. He is regaining strength. He is Rajkumari’s prisoner there, eating the food she permits, walking eight miles a day, playing chess and enjoying him. He has the atmosphere he wanted.”4 So we can say that Mahatma Gandhi was a very fond of game like chess. He was a good player of it but he had no sufficient time for it because he was busy in freedom struggle of India.



  1. Indian Opinion, 18-5-1907
  2. VOL. 44: 16 JANUARY, 1929 - 3 FEBRUARY, 1929, Page- 167
  3. VOL. 44: 16 JANUARY, 1929 - 3 FEBRUARY, 1929, Page- 215
  4. Bapuna Patro-2: Sardar Vallabhbhai, pp. 250



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