Whether chess is a sport or not is an age-old question that was somewhat put to rest when the Olympics committee included it in the 2021 Tokyo competitions. Many people against the idea argue that it does not match the athleticism of other activities like marathons, football, and tennis. However, chess has been proven to require endurance and ticks off the main elements that define a sport.
For starters, the game qualifies as an athletic activity since players have to exert themselves physically and mentally. In some cases, participants spend as many calories as a football player. The game also requires skill to advance the board and capture the opponent’s king and a checkmate. Finally, chess allows one party to compete over another for dominance.
With or without its recognition as an official sport, chess remains one of the most popular indulgences worldwide, and here are a few reasons why.
Chess is among the most accessible games globally and can be found in almost all retail stores like supermarkets, and in some cases, street shops. While it can be argued that items like a football are just as readily available, a lot of field space and special equipment like goalposts are necessary to play at the same level as professional players. On the other hand, only the items purchased in a chess kit are required to conduct gameplay, and they include two sets of sixteen pieces and a checkered board. The game’s accessibility is easier in the current internet age. One can simply launch a web browser, search for a free chess game, and proceed with gameplay. The process is made even simpler by a range of chess apps compatible with almost any operating system.
Additionally, anyone can engage in chess irrespective of their age, gender, language, race, and status quo, as long as there is an opponent. Even people with physical disabilities can play the sport. One fine example is Professor Stephen Hawking, who enjoyed the game with his children despite having an advanced motor neuron disease that limited movement to only his cheek in the end.
The basic rules of playing chess are easy to grasp even by novice players. The point of gameplay is to capture the opponent’s king and checkmate them. The game begins with sixteen pieces on each end of the board. The sets are usually of different colours, mostly white and black, to easily track each player’s movements on the board. In official competitions, organisers allocate piece colours to players. In informal events, the decisions are random and are often made using coin tosses or selecting concealed pawns. White usually moves first, and each party takes alternate turns moving a piece. Players cannot skip a turn even if it is detrimental. Each piece has specific moves it can make as follows:
- A king – moves one square in any direction;
- A bishop – moves any number of empty squares diagonally without leaping over other pieces;
- A rook – moves any number of empty squares along a file or rank;
- A queen – moves any number of empty squares along a rank, file, or diagonally;
- A knight – moves to any close square that is not on the same file, rank, or diagonal position, and it can leap over other pieces;
- A pawn – moves to the empty square immediately in front of the same file or two squares during the first move.
While the rules of chess are easy to grasp, winning requires skill, just like in football – the main rule is to score a goal against the opposing team, but the player must master tactics like running, passing, positional game sense, and tackling. Winning in chess, especially against seasoned players, requires research and study, going as far as taking lessons and reading books to familiarise yourself with the finer points of the endgame. Considering that one chess game has more possible moves than there are stars in the sky, there is always room to master new tactics to best your opponent.
The element of skill makes chess stand out from other easily accessible games like those found in GGBet and other online casinos. However, they do share the similarity of free and real money availability. The same way players get a GGBet withdraw for their winnings and spend them as cash, some chess games offer a chance at payouts for defeating opponents.
While chess struggles to be viewed as a sport, it still has a well-established system that has been around for over a century. The chess world championship has been organised every year since 1886, and the United States has had a national federation for the same since 1904. You can find chess competitions at almost every level, from the school, university, and county to continental and global leagues. Europe alone sees six million people engage in the game annually, and about 125,000 students take it every school year.
Pop Culture Symbol
Over the years, chess has been represented in movies and TV shows, but none of them made the game as desirable to play as Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. The drama miniseries is based on the 1980s book of the same name and follows a young, doe-eyed chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, who struggles with addiction in her chase for the title of the world’s most outstanding player.
While many might still deny that chess counts as a sport, the stamp of approval by the International Olympic Committee puts the matter to rest. Whichever the case, the game remains the same exciting indulgent it was before, with numerous upsides to engaging in it.