index 2007
Letter #12 -  2007

Sub:    Is Chess considered a sport?
Date:   3/29/2007 1:35:26 AM MST
From:  araceli_tv

Can you please tell me why some people consider Chess a sport?

Do players do some kind of exercise or, is it mental exercise?.

Another question I have is that if Chess is played in the world Olympic games like any other sports.

Thank you.

Dear viewer,

We found the following:

Is Chess a sport? That question is often answered with another question: What do you mean by 'sport'? The issue then becomes one of definition. How do you define a sport?

If we look at a dictionary definition of 'sport', there are a number of secondary, irrelevant definitions of the word ('he's a good sport', 'she's a poor sport'). The primary, relevant definition is something like:

A. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.

B. A particular form of this activity. This makes a distinction between sports in general ('He played sports at school') and a specific sport ('She played basketball at school'). Chess is clearly not a sport by this definition because physical activity is not necessarily involved.

Indeed, physical activity can be present in Chess, especially in blitz Chess but it is not a prerequisite. Two competent players can play each other blindfold, where the only physical activity involves speaking the moves.

Two novice players can play each other over the Internet by manipulating a mouse, a physical activity which no one ever considers a sport ('competitive mousing'?).

Another definition of sport is something like:

An active pastime; recreation. If Chess is to be considered a sport, it is according to this definition, which includes the word 'active'.

Unfortunately, the definition is so vague that it covers just about any human activity that serves as an 'active pastime': flower gardening, poetry writing / reading, and card games ranging from the most skilled (e.g. bridge) to the least (the children's game of 'war').

On your second question:

The world Chess federation, FIDE, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an International Sports Federation.

A Chess exhibition match was staged at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and, at one stage, there were negotiations for Chess to be included in the Olympics as a regular demonstration sport.

Every two years, FIDE organizes its own Chess Olympiad, modeled on the Olympics, in which teams from around the world compete against each other.

Thank you for visiting us,

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