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These numbers are constantly being revised upwards.
FIDE believes that all nations should be included in the international chess community.
The game reached Western Europe and Russia, from the 9th century and by the year 1000 it had spread throughout Europe.
Steinitz lost his crown in 1894 to a much younger German mathematician Emanuel Lasker, who held the title for 27 years, the longest tenure of any World Champion.
The oldest preserved printed chess book, Repeticion de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez (Repetition of Love and the Art of Playing Chess) by Spanish churchman Luis Ramirez de Lucena was published in Salamanca in 1497.
By the eighteenth century the center of European chess life had moved from the Southern European countries to France.
Our aim is to achieve significant growth in the number of people of all ages participating in chess events at all levels and to develop chess by increasing the level of tournament participation globally.
The objective is twofold, to assist our best chess players to continue to achieve new peaks of excellence and to increase the pool of talent from which new champions will emerge. In addition, chess competition provides valuable opportunities for people of all ages to improve themselves, display team work and become more engaged in a safe and healthy community activity.
With 188 member federations, FIDE is among the biggest sports organizations in the world, very proud of over forty official championships for youngsters, men, women and seniors.