Is chess a sport?

The question that has been pondered over before both the chicken and the egg is finally answered and thoroughly explained.

Photo/Silas Chu

Is Chess a Sport?

First off, I’m appalled that this is even a question. Chess, in all its monochrome glory, is most definitely a sport, and is just as competitive and training-intensive as any other.

Let’s talk tactics. Forget the “Wing-T Offense,” let me introduce you to a world of openings and tactical moves with the most intimidating names possible. Terms such as the “Sicilian Defense,” the “Rossolimo Attack” the “Albin Counter-Gambit,” and, my personal favorite, the “Accelerated Dragon,” were all created for the sole purpose of striking fear into the hearts of your opponents, and are just as complicated as they sound.

Sports are all about anticipation and being smart on the field/pool/court/etc. and chess is no different. It is almost completely a game of smarts and figuring out what your opponent is thinking. In more ‘common’ sports, the best athletes know how to look a move ahead and plan accordingly, a concept that is accelerated in chess. Chess players don’t just have to be clearly reading their opponent, they have to be looking anywhere from three to ten moves ahead and also mapping out hundreds of possible future scenarios, all in their head.

Sure, playing chess isn’t exactly going to whip you into shape or give you the body you’ve always dreamed of, but chess training sessions are still incredibly intensive. High levels of stress, fast heart rates and cold, clammy hands are commonplace during chess games. It may not be physical, but it’s the biggest and hardest workout you could possibly give to your brain.

Chess isn’t just a sport, it is easily one of the best sports of all time, and here are just a few reasons why.

You can literally play chess anywhere. Heck, if you know the 64 squares on the board well enough and have anywhere from decent to amazing memory skills, you can even play it in your head. If that doesn’t quite float your boat, just pull up a YouTube video and watch the Grandmasters play. Yes, “Grandmaster” is the term given to the best chess players in the world. How awesome of a title is that?

In the end, chess definitely is a sport, and needs to be classified as so in modern conversation. I mean, with a line as iconic as Ron Weasley’s “Knight to E4,” during the chess game in the first Harry Potter movie, who could possibly hate the sport?


  1. Definition of sport: an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.