I noticed that FIDE stands for " Fédération Internationale des Échecs". Shouldn't it be in English as 'World Chess Federation'? I noticed, though unrelated, that it is the same for SI Units (System Internationale). Did it start in France? What is the history of the foundings of FIDE?

I noticed that the headquarters is in Athens, Greece. Why? If the International Federation of Chess can't be in English, shouldn't it at least be in Greek? Where did France come in?

  • 8
    At one time French was the international language, now it is English.
    – Ywapom
    Aug 30, 2018 at 18:33
  • 1
    While the origins of chess are lost, it is generally thought that is started in India. Other alternatives I've seen are China and Persia. Never Greece.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 31, 2018 at 0:28
  • While the purpose of comments is to improve questions (or answers), changing the actual question (e.g. changing "Ancient Greeks" to "persians or Indians or Chine (sic)" is frowned upon.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 31, 2018 at 15:15
  • > although the earliest origins are uncertain. The earliest predecessor of the game probably originated in India, before the 6th century AD; a minority of historians believe the game originated in China. From India, the game spread to Persia. Wikipedia
    – Marvin
    Jan 16, 2019 at 21:47
  • Why English rather than Hungarian?
    – David
    Aug 7, 2019 at 7:19

3 Answers 3


In the first half of the XXth century, French and English were the main international languages.

During and immediately after the first congress in Paris, 1924, the French acronym for "Fédération Internationale des Echecs" was actually FIE, and it was referred in the English-speaking world as "International Chess Federation" or ICF. But already the following year, at the Congress in Zurich, French-speaking members (and possibly Italy) made a point that "fide" meant "trust" in Latin, thus the 'D' was added for the name to symbolize the confidence of its members in the institution, and FIDE became the official acronym in both languages (and worldwide).

E.Winter's Chess Notes have a very interesting article about the birth of FIDE:

‘FIDE was founded in 1924’ say the history books, yet, technically speaking, that could be disputed. Certainly the Fédération Internationale des Echecs was formed that year, but its Statutes systematically referred to it as ‘FIE’, and not ‘FIDE’:

But it doesn't give the reason of the later change:

But later in the year, for reasons as yet unclarified, ‘FIDE’ became the official acronym. If ‘FIDE’ appeared in print in 1924, we have yet to find it.

I remember reading that the Latin meaning was the motivation for switching to "FIDE" in some chess-history book in French, but I will have to dig further to source it properly.

  • What is the XXth century?
    – Marvin
    Oct 14, 2018 at 13:55
  • Would be the 20th century in the US.
    – Evargalo
    Oct 15, 2018 at 5:54
  • You said at the Congress in Zurich that they made it FIDE because it means trust is Latin. But then you said it was unclarified the reason for the change. So was that really the reason it is that just your guess?
    – Marvin
    May 26, 2019 at 17:56
  • @Marvin I don't say that the reason is unclear, it is E. Winter who says so. I quoted him faithfully even if I had read the reason somewhere else (I am pretty sure it is in Europe Echecs or in Echecs & Mat, but a long time ago...)
    – Evargalo
    May 26, 2019 at 18:49

As noted in the Wikipedia list of linguas franca, French was the international language of diplomacy for over 150 years. As a result, many international organizations, especially those based in, with roots in, or with significant membership in Europe, have used French for their name, official documents, etc. FIDE is one such organization, especially since it was founded during the time that French was the lingua franca.


FIDE was founded in Paris, France, on July 20, 1924. It should be the main reason for its name.

You can read about its foundation and early years here:


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