Feature: Turkey's unique museum displays global chess cultures

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 27, 2019
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by Burak Akinci

ANKARA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The unique Gokyay Chess Museum in the Turkish capital of Ankara displays chess sets from more than 100 different countries and cultures, earning a well-deserved place in the Guinness World Records.

Established in 2015 in an old house covering an area of 1,000 square meters, the Gokyay Foundation Chess Museum exhibits 705 chess sets which were collected over years from 110 countries.

Akin Gokyay, the museum's founder who is a successful entrepreneur, is passionate about chess and started to collect sets in 1975.

The 79-year-old man later established a foundation in order to pass the collection to future generations

"We are not only a museum but also a place where people can have a lovely time, and listen to classical music surrounded by a myriad of chess collections which reflect the cultures of the world," said Sebnem Toptas, manager of Gokyay Foundation.

"There are several chess museums in the world but we are one of the those who have the biggest chess collection, showcased under various themes such as Civilizations and Peoples, War and Peace and Childhood," Toptas added.

The collection won a Guinness World Record in 2012 for the largest chess collection in the world.

There are 21 chess sets from China, including one depicting the Chinese-Mongolian wars of the 13th century, said Sila Yuksel, an expert at the museum.

The vast collection has symbols of buildings from London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Dallas and Milano. It also offers sets with a modern twist, such as those inspired from the international blockbusters Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

"We organize tours for children who are amazed at what they see. We offer them a tour of cultures of our planet. Chess is a strategy sport which symbolizes peace and we want to ingrain this sentiment to the younger generations," Toptas noted.

Using different techniques and various materials such as wood, silver, gold, cast, fish bones, polyester, marble and ceramics, the collection is like a 45-year-long adventure.

To keep the interest in the museum and chess culture alive, the museum organized a chess play for the International Chess Day on July 20, where dancers from a folklore company replaced traditional figurines on a square.

"We had a very receptive audience and very good reactions from the crowd. We are planning next year to organize the event with the participation of dancers of the National Ballet and Opera Company," Toptas said. Enditem

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