Is Chess a Sport?

By Matthew Nedderman, Summer Youth Intern

Is Chess a Sport? and how is it related?

Chess players do not compete based on athletic ability, but elite chess players must be in superb physical form. Elite-level games frequently last 7, 8, or even 9 hours. If a player’s concentration wavers, the result is instant defeat. Anyone who has ever played chess knows how important it is to win. As the clock ticks down and the game becomes increasingly intricate, the experience of sitting across the board from a fierce opponent is as tense as it gets. Chess etiquette is incredibly essential. Players are expected to shake hands before and after each chess game. It is customary to wish your opponent good luck before the game and to thank them for the game afterward, regardless of the outcome. Chess has been recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee. While this accreditation falls short of recognition as an “Olympic Sport” that would qualify chess for inclusion in the Games, it does acknowledge the sport-like qualities of the game. Chess is considered a mind sport since it stimulates the mind, pushing people to achieve new intellectual heights while also honing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

If you are a big fan of the NBA or sports in general, there is a good chance you have heard about Klay Thompson. Klay Thompson plays for the golden state warriors who have won the championship in the last 5 years.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Klay Thompson became interested in Chess while he was in middle school. He enrolled in a chess elective as a “way to squander time,” as he put it. “It ended up being the best class I’ve ever taken,” he subsequently explained. Isn’t it wonderful if every middle school offered a chess elective? The chess-playing basketball player, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, is now 28 years old. He’s been playing for 15 years, so that’s a long time. He also claims that he plays chess virtually every day. He plays Chess about as much as he plays basketball. Chess and basketball, according to Thompson, have certain parallels. The most significant is how momentum may be shifted by a single blunder. If a piece is blundered in chess, the entire game changes.

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