Guinness Record Owner Chess Collection is now in a Museum


The successful businessman and owner of the “Biggest Chess Set in the World” Akın Gökyay transformed its 40 years chess adventure started as a hoppy and turned into a passion to a museum in Ankara.

Gökyay’s 540 chess sets collected from 6 mainland and 103 countries since 1975 will be exhibited at Gökyay Foundation Chess Museum. Museum will start receiving visitors on October 13 at anniversary of Ankara’s being capital city.  

At the 92. anniversary of its being capital city, Ankara will be the host of a new excitement. Successful businessman Akın Gökyay, one of the partners of Turkey’s leader furniture producer Nurus will donate one of the world’s biggest chess museums to the people of the capital city. Gökyay who transformed his 40 years chess hobby into a passion is starting to share his collection of 540 unique chess sets in a museum he will open on October 13. The collection collected from every corner of the world and contained in the 2012 edition of Guinness Records Book because of their features and numbers will be exhibited in the Gökyay Foundation Chess Museum. In the chess sets collected from 103 countries from Chili to Madagascar, from America to Indonesia, from Tanzania to Turkmenistan, from Kirgizstan to Tajikistan, from Italy to Czech Republic, from France to New Zeeland the reflections of the events which gave a new direction will be able to be observed.


Nurus established by his father-in-law Nurettin Usta in 1927 as a furniture workshop  is now operating as an exporting trademark holding prestigious awards with constant efforts of Akın Gökyay and Birten Gökyay who is the first woman industrialist recorded at ATO, women rights pioneer, Turkey’s one of the first public relations specialist.  The business trips of Akın Gökyay as a high level manager of Nurus and an international NGO planted the seeds of this first chess museum which will be opened on Oct. 13, and which made his way into Guinness Records Book.


The process which turned chess into a passion for Akın Gökyay, starts in a business trip in 1975. Desiring to buy a chess set at the showcase, Gökyay waits for 3 days in Milano to fulfill his desire. After obtaining this chess set which will also be exhibited at the museum, Gökyay reserves some of his time of his journeys to collect chess sets known as the most ancient wisdom game. Succeeding in entering into Guiness Records Book with his 412 chess sets in 2012, he gets registered as the collector of the world’s biggest chess sets by Guinness. Gokyay’s passion and enthusiasm started in 1975 is now transformed into the biggest chess set of the World with 540 pieces from 103 countries collected in 40 years from 6 mainland. 


Gökyay, in his age of 75 still continues to increase the number of his chess collection that is like a treasure reaching to 4 million TL value via his journeys. Cast chess sets made of metals, stones, woods, minerals, fishbone, marbles, soapstone, felts, crystals, glasses, marble dusts  of their countries of origin and polyester mixed marble dust reflects the culture of their countries of origin. Amongst the chess sets brought to Turkey by plain or mostly by ships to avoid damage, there are sets which can attract the attention of everyone:

A chess set representing September 11 with Ahmadinejad, Bashar Esad and Bin Ladin figures where Saddam is portrayed as a pawn in one side and with Blair, Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice figures where Bush is also portrayed as a pawn on the other side; another chess set describing Turkish War of Independence which has a special meaning for Akın Gökyay related to his birthdate March 18, a chess set bought from Kazakhstan representing the move of Turks from Ergenekon; colorful handmade chess sets carrying local features bought from many countries in Africa like Tanzanyai Kenya, Mozambique and Republic of South Africa; chess sets bought from Turkish world and  countries where Turks left their traces; one of the rare replicas of chess sets whose originals are exhibited at Topkapı Palace and which have been played by Sultan;a chess set which is the miniature of the gambling machines bought from Las Vegas; chess sets made up of the characters of Harry Potter, Smurfs, Red Kit and Lord of the Rings; glass chess sets produced with blowing method;  chess sets representing the presidents of  America like Reagan and Kennedy and presidents of Russia like Gorbachev and Yeltsin; chess sets bought from Bangkok which are made of valuable stones; chess sets with war themes of Ottomans’ and Seljuk’s ages;  a chess set obtained from Dubrovnik with hardships with the idea of chess board symbol in Croatia flag; the to chess set consisting the biggest piece of the collection bought from Karlsbda (Karlovy Vary), famous with its spa where Atatürk received treatment…


Gökyay Foundation Chess Museum which is the product of a passion of a life time will be first in the Turkey and one of the rare examples in the world. Museum is built in Hamamönü in Ankara with traditional “Ankara House” architecture will meet with chess lovers with its comprehensive content better than the chess museums in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Moscow and Stolberg. The museum built with architecture suitable for disabled people will be free of charge till January 1, 2016 and people will be able to visit the museum every day except for Mondays including weekends.


The museum which will open its doors at the 92. anniversary of Ankara’s being capital, chess culture will come to life with all its aspects. At the Gökyay Foundation which aims to introduce chess culture to more people with basic training programs, chess tournaments will also be organized.  At the museum shop where an atelier is also present for the kids to produce their own chess sets, there will be a museum shop with souvenirs to infuse chess love to any people between 7 and 70.


Akın Gökyay gave a reply to “Why chess?” question with saying, “Chess is a game of strategy which means to think analytically. The people who can think analytically and who can have a good strategy can plan today and tomorrow in a right way. I especially recommend to politicians, business man to learn chess because chess is the key to success.” Telling that he has established a foundation to promote chess culture Gökyay said, “My aim was to promote this qualified game when establishing Gökyay Chess Sports and Culture Foundation. Our target is to make this sport which enables multi-dimensional thinking popular amongst youngsters and be described as an instrument reflecting the culture and history of countries and accordingly contribute to world peace, to make chess loved by people, increase participation, and provide sustainability of the sport. You can play chess even though you cannot speak the same language; Chess contributes to world peace by bringing nationalities close together and enabling cultural amalgamation.  Chess is more of a peace game than symbolizing the war. Peace is desired the most in our country and in the world.”