Is Chess A Sport? (Find Out Now!)

Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Alex PT

Yes, chess is considered a sport. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and has its own governing body, FIDE. Chess players compete professionally and in tournaments worldwide, showcasing its status as a mind sport.

Reasons Why Chess Should Be Considered A Sport

Why Chess Should Be Considered A Sport

After extensive research, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why chess should be considered a sport.

Chess Requires Skill

Like every other sport, chess requires skills. Just like every basketball player needs to master his passing, dribbling, running, and positional game sense, chess players also need to take lessons, read books, memorize openings, and be accustomed to the finer points of endgame play. 

It Is Well Established

The world championship has been in existence since 1886. In 1904, the National Federation of the game of chess was founded. That’s to tell you that the game is well-established. According to pollsters YouGov., over 6 million people play the game of chess in England alone yearly. Besides, about 125,000 kids are taught chess in school yearly. You should also be aware that Chess competitions are organized at every level including counties, cities, leagues, juniors, schools, universities, seniors, and many more. 

Behavior Code

Chess has its own behavior codes that shouldn’t be violated by any participant. Take, for example, if any participant refuses to shake hands with his/her opponent, he/she will be penalized for unsportsmanlike behavior. Additionally, participants are not allowed to cheat or bring their mobile phones. There’s also an anti-doping policy, and participants are prohibited from leaving the playing area until the end of the game.

European Recognition

24 out of 28 member states of the European Union recognize chess as a sport. Only the UK, Ireland, Belgium, and Sweden don’t regard the game as a sport. In terms of national accolades, world chess champions like Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Vishy Anand (India), and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) have all won national Sportsman of the Year awards. 

What Training Does Chess Require?

Chess requires various types of training to improve one’s skills and performance:

  1. Studying Openings: Learning common opening strategies is essential. Players study openings to gain an early advantage and control over the board.
  2. Tactics and Combinations: Understanding tactical motifs like pins, forks, skewers, and discovered attacks is crucial for winning material or achieving checkmate.
  3. Strategy: Developing a deep understanding of strategic concepts like pawn structure, piece activity, and weak squares helps with long-term planning.
  4. Endgame Techniques: Mastering endgame principles is vital. Learning how to convert advantages and checkmate with limited pieces is a critical skill.
  5. Pattern Recognition: Recognizing recurring patterns and positions helps in making quick and accurate decisions during games.
  6. Analysis of Grandmaster Games: Studying games played by top-level players enhances one’s understanding of advanced strategies and tactics.
  7. Practice and Repetition: Regularly playing and solving chess puzzles helps to reinforce concepts and improve decision-making skills.
  8. Computer Analysis: Utilizing chess engines for post-game analysis helps identify mistakes and suggests better moves.
  9. Opening Repertoire: Developing a repertoire of openings tailored to one’s style and preferences is essential for consistency.
  10. Books and Resources: Reading books, and articles, and watching instructional videos from chess experts can provide valuable insights and knowledge.
  11. Mental Toughness: Developing the ability to handle stress, and time pressure, and maintaining concentration during games is crucial.
  12. Competitive Experience: Participating in tournaments and competitive matches helps apply learned skills and gain experience.
  13. Opening Preparation: Preparing for opponents by studying their playing style and known openings can provide a strategic advantage.
  14. Analysis of Personal Games: Reviewing and learning from one’s own games is essential for self-improvement.
  15. Physical Fitness: Maintaining physical health and stamina is often overlooked but can aid in long tournament games.

Is Chess a Board Game or a Sport?

  1. Origins and Gameplay: Chess originated in northern India in the 6th century, making it one of the oldest games still in existence. As a game, it involves a board with 64 squares and 32 pieces evenly divided between two players. The objective is to outsmart the opponent and checkmate their king, which requires a blend of strategy, focus, and quick thinking – not dissimilar to various sports.
  2. Recognized as a Sport: Various international bodies have recognized chess as a sport. For instance, the International Olympic Committee, in 1999, classified it as a sport citing its levels of competition and the physical demands made on top players. Similarly, FIDE, the international governing body for chess, also categorizes it as a sport.
  3. Mental Stamina: Although chess is not as physically intensive as traditional sports, it requires immense mental stamina. Like any other sport, players must perform under pressure while making quick and precise decisions. Some high-stakes chess tournaments have rounds lasting up to six hours or more.
  4. Competitive Structure: Chess has an organized and competitive structure akin to other sports. Players compete in local, regional, national, and international tournaments. They are also ranked based on their performance, very much like how athletes are ranked in traditional sports.
  5. Physical Considerations: While chess does not involve physical exertion in the traditional sense, it does demand physical stamina. Top-level players tend to be in good physical condition in order to cope with the strains of long and stressful matches.
  6. Training and Coaching: Just like any other sport, chess players have coaches and rigorous training schedules. Their training includes mastering strategies, anticipating their opponent’s moves, and refining their techniques.
  7. Board Game Characteristics: Despite all the aforementioned points, chess retains the qualities of a board game. It can be played informally at home, in parks, or during social gatherings, with no competition in mind, solely for enjoyment purposes.



We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers. These FAQs will help you understand everything you need to know about the game of chess. Let’s check it out!

Is Chess Truly A Sport Or Game?

Just like we said earlier, chess is recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee. Although the recognition of chess as a sport by the IOC helped manifest the sport-like properties of the game, it still doesn’t make it a sport in the Olympics. 

Where Is Chess Considered A Sport?

In 2000, the International Olympic Committee recognized the game as a sport, and since then, it has been an event at the Asian Games in 2006 in Doha and again in Guangzhou in 2010. Chess is being considered to be included in the forthcoming Pan-American Games. 

Is Chess An Extreme Sport?

Technically, yes! Even though most chess lovers would find it hard to believe, the game is extreme in certain ways. During a chess game, participants are always an enormous pressure. That’s why you’ll commonly see these participants attending psychology therapy sessions. 

Do Chess Players Exercise?

Yes! Most top chess players in the world exercise daily. Hours of cardio and gym sessions are common among most participants. World champions like Magnus Carlen and Chirila perfect their fitness routine before games. 

Will Chess Be In The 2024 Olympics?

Some time ago, a campaign to include chess in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games was launched by FIDE, International Chess Foundation. This will be a great achievement for the world of chess as the game may be considered an Olympic sport. 

Why Is Chess Not An Olympic Sport?

Chess is not widely recognized as an Olympic sport even though the International Olympic Committee regarded it as a sport way back. It hasn’t been included in the recent Games because it is perceived not to have actual athleticism. 

When Did Chess Become A Sport?

The game of chess became a sport when it was recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 2000. A year after its recognition by the IOC, it was an exhibition event at the Sydney Olympics. Some chess officials submitted a bid to the IOC to include chess in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it wasn’t successful.  

Is Chess A Stressful Game?

Yes! Though it might not involve actual athleticism, the game of chess can still lead to an immense amount of stress. The game isn’t that bad. But when you’re addicted to it, it will be bad for your physical and mental health.

Closing Thoughts – Wrapping Up!

Chess has a formulated set of rules and etiquette like every other competitive sport. All international chess competitions are organized by the International Chess Federation, (FIDE) which is the governing body of the game of chess. 

As we said earlier, the International Olympic Committee recognizes chess to be a sport and there’s a possibility that it will be included in the forthcoming Olympic Games. Nonetheless, all sports are games but all games are not sports. 

Even though the game of chess can be played at a high level of competition, some people still argue that it isn’t an actual sport because it doesn’t involve actual athleticism. We’ve reached the final session of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good and reliable resources in your quest to know if chess is a sport. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks!


Leave a Comment