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Pope Francis encourages you to play checkers!

Pope checkers

Shutterstock / Aleteia composite

Isabella H. de Carvalho - published on 05/02/24

In a speech to the Italian Checkers Federation, Pope Francis praises this simple but stimulating game that is accessible to all.

In a world filled with screens, Pope Francis encourages people to play checkers as it makes “us exercise our logical capacity” and “there is a need for this, because the abuse of the new media dulls it.” This is what he told the members of the Italian Checkers Federation, who he met on April 26, 2024, at the Vatican, as they were celebrating the 100th anniversary of their foundation.

In a short speech, he said this game has “two beautiful characteristics: It stimulates the mind and is accessible to all” — as all one needs is a “chessboard,” “checkers” and “two players.” 

“Indeed, it requires intelligence, skill and attention, but not great means or facilities. It is one of those games that, wherever you may be, you can easily create a moment of encounter and enjoyment,” the Pontiff said. “For example, it is reported to be one of the most common pastimes among migrants who land on our shores: [there are] many of these brothers and sisters, in situations of great uncertainty and apprehension.” 

He also encouraged his audience to keep partaking in friendly games and sports and to share this with others.

“It is nice that you meet each other with joy, to get to know each other and challenge each other sportingly: in a world characterized by individualism, which at times risks becoming isolation, your game brings a breath of clean air, fresh air,” he said. 

In photos shared by Vatican News, the members of the Checkers Federation can be seen gifting Pope Francis his own wooden checkers board. 

Pope FrancisVatican
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