Last November the British parliament passed the Charities bill, which among other things changed the definition of sport. The Charities Act 2006 has defined sport all the activities “which promote health by involving physical or mental skill or exertion". This definition enables chess associations/clubs to obtain charitable status, albeit subject to satisfying the requirements of the Charity Commission. The first group of provisions came into force on 27th February 2007, when the first commencement order took effect.
Chess is played by more than four million people in Britain and is second only to football in popularity. The game is less popular in Italy, in spite of being recognised as a sport some years earlier than in Britain; unfortunately it doesn’t receive any support or fund from Italian government, but Italian politicians seem to appreciate chess a lot. While Senate was giving final approval to a decree that provides funding for all Italian missions abroad, a man was making war on his lap-top: yes, he was playing a chess game… The chess fan is Giannicola Sinisi, member of “Ulivo”, the main party of the centre-left coalition which supports prime minister Romano Prodi. Italian newspaper "Il Manifesto" has published the picture you can see above in its front page, with this title: "War game". You can find the news (in italian) at this address and an interview with Sinisi (in italian, again) about the fact at this one.