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The Old Debate: Is Chess Truly a Sport?

We have talked about different, unique sports that have been played for centuries and decades, their rules and popularity in different countries. While we discussed some of the most renowned sports and some of the least popular sports.

Today, we will talk about a popular activity that many people are curious about whether it is actually a sport or just a pastime activity.

I myself wondered this too. When I first saw a set of chess pieces, I was automatically intrigued by it. It seemed like a complicated piece of equipment with different-shaped pieces and moves. Upon trying it out, I learned it really was hard to master, but it is surely an interesting activity! Anyway, coming back to the big question: is Chess truly a sport? Find out below the answer to this question!

Is Chess a Recognized Sport?

Yes, chess is a sport that is recognised by the International Olympic Committee!

Chess, which has been said to be originated in the 6th century in India, can be regarded as one of the oldest sports that is still played till date.

There are several matches held every year for chess that has gained international recognition with players from around the world. Top world class players compete against each other in a game of chess. It is competitive, mentally & physically exhausting and an interesting play to watch – all being the elements of a sport. I don’t know why anyone would not consider this recreational as well as professional activity as a sport!

Rules of Chess

While chess is a complex game with various moves and plays, we will discuss below some of the basic rules for a game of chess.

  • There are a set of 16 black and 16 white chess pieces which includes: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns.
  • The contestant who has the white chess pieces begins the game.
  • Players alternate between taking turns and making moves.
  • If the king is tied and cannot escape then it is considered as checkmate – ending the game

Stalemate is regarded as a draw or tie, which depends on the rules of the game being played.

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Q. Is chess considered as a sport in the UK?

Out of the few countries that does recognise chess as a sport, UK is one of them.

Q. What is the most famous chess match?

The most famous match was between two veterans – Paul Morphy vs. Duke Karl & Count Isouard at the Opera Game in 1858.

Q. How is chess a sport?

It is a recognized sport by International Olympic Committee.

Q. Who is the best chess player in the world?

Magnus Carlsen is regarded as the world’s number 1 chess player with many world champion titles.

Q. Is Chess an Olympic sport?

Chess is not a part of Olympic Games as of yet.

Author’s opinion

As a sport, chess is quite underrated despite being one of the most mind using games which makes the players competitive and fully focused. The game can also last for up to hours! I am truly amazed by people who are pro at such a mentally and physically demanding sport. I believe it is one of the hardest sports out there which is truly impressive to play and watch!

What do you think?

Written by Usama

Usama J. is a passionate writer about the sports and works as an in house sports journalist at Openiun, and covered many international sporting events including ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.