Is Chess a Sport?

Chess is a sport. Bam. There, I said it. Chess is a sport. Now, before some of my readership requests a trial for me, give me a chance to explain myself.

Let’s start from the beginning: Whether or not chess is a sport has been an ongoing discussion for such a long time, and there are multiple supporters on both sides of the coin. However, I must admit, the majority of people exclude chess from the category of sports due to it not being physically engaging. The same group of people was then shocked when they found out that the Olympic Committee actually included chess into sports – and they have been shocked ever since.

But, before I go on to explain why Chess is a sport, let us consider the definition of what sport actually is and what it consists of.

Sport, any type of it, is defined as an activity that includes athleticism (physical strength, endurance), certain skill sets and rules. Usually, we link these attributes to some of the most popular sports around the globe – football, soccer and basketball are the first that come to my mind when I think about the popularity of sports. And truly enough, all three of these sports require their players to have all of the attributes I have just mentioned.

But it’s not only these three sports that rely on these skills – it’s other sports too! You guessed it, it’s chess as well.

The first argument against chess being a sport is the argument about it not requiring physical strength.

But, interestingly enough, that is not true! Namely, in order for our brains to function properly, we need to be physically fit. Many chess grandmasters claim that it’s not only because of their chess knowledge that they acquired their title, but that it is because of their fitness as well! And really, there is scientific proof to back them up: there are many studies that claim that fitness does impact our cognitive function! With that being said, this argument is proved to be futile as physical strength and endurance are actually needed for a game of chess (although, let’s be fair, you don’t have to be extremely athletic!)

The second argument against chess being a sport explores the area of sports that requires certain skill sets. Namely, people claim that you do not need a certain skill set in order to play chess.

This, too, couldn’t be more wrong. Chess is an extremely tough sport which requires not only physical endurance, as we just mentioned, but mental endurance as well. Chess players are required to be extremely patient and focused on the play. They acquire these skills by practicing and studying chess moves!

What do you think? Do you consider chess a sport too?