The board game Chess was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, Upstate New York, along with rubber duck at a ceremony on Thursday. (Agencies)
To date, 53 toys have made it to this one-of-its-kind Hall of Fame, including Barbie, Frisbee, Hot Wheels, jigsaw puzzle, LEGO, Monopoly, Nintendo Game Boy, playing cards, rocking horse, roller skates, skateboard and teddy bear.
"We are all pleased that the board game Chess finally got into the National Toy Hall of Fame here at The Strong. As you probably know, Chess did indeed originate in India as a battle game called 'chaturanga'," curator Nicolas Ricketts said.
"European travelers brought versions of this game back and it evolved into the Chess we all recognize today. Few games can claim such an ancient heritage. Our Toy Hall of Fame is a relatively young institution, so classic games such as Chess are still being inducted along with more recent classic toys and games. But Chess, as you know, still enjoys worldwide popularity," he said.
"Besides Chess, both playing cards and dominoes are believed to have developed in India, or at least spent a part of their early history there. One other game, called Parcheesi here but you may know it as Pachisi, is not yet inducted into the Hall. But, it is still very popular and has led to many similar games with different names. It may gain a place in the Hall someday," Ricketts said.
The Toys Hall of Fame said that the ancient game of chess along with the splashy toddler bath companion, the rubber duck, were selected from among 12 finalists, including bubbles, Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, Pac-Man, scooter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The oldest-known set of chess playing pieces, called the Lewis Chessmen, was found on the Isle of Lewis near Scotland. Dating from the 12th century, the pieces were carved from walrus ivory, probably in Norway. A reproduction of the set is currently on view at the National Toy Hall of Fame.
On a more contemporary note, a game of wizard's chess, with larger-than-life animated pieces, has Harry, Ron, and Hermione scrambling across a chess board in a climactic scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
"Today, players of all ages around the world compete in informal games and official chess tournaments," it said.
Anyone can nominate a toy for annual induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame. An internal museum advisory committee comprised of curators, educators, and historians reviews the submitted nominations and determines which toys meet the criteria for selection. A national selection committee then reviews the list of toy finalists.
The board game Chess was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, Upstate New York, along with rubber duck at a ceremony on Thursday.