Is Chess an Olympic Sport? Get Answers Below

Chess as a Sport 

Is chess an Olympic sport? Whether we should consider chess as a sport is still up for dispute. Some claim that it is, in fact, a sport, but the majority refer to it as a game or hobby. There are compelling arguments on all sides of the debate, regardless of your position on the issue. You could ask yourself, “In what ways is chess a sport, and in what ways is it not?”

Chess pieces on the board

Is Chess an Olympic Sport?

The Olympics do not include chess. Many consider chess a sport, but it fails to pass muster with the board of directors. The International Olympic Committee recognizes official sports every four years.

Some sports have been sending proposals for consideration, but the board has declined them. Chess’s last review for the Olympics was in 1999 but failed since it only earned two votes from IOC members, whereas baseball/softball received 24.

Why is Chess Not an Olympics Sport?

Is chess a game or a sport? The simple justification offered for this is that chess is not a sport. By definition, a sport is an activity that requires the body to exhibit overt physical athleticism. Many people believe that chess lacks “physical athleticism.

Yes, playing chess demands you to be mentally strong, yet a chess player’s body does not engage in any obvious physical exertion throughout a game. But the truth remains that the IOC recognized chess as a sport in 1999 when the game came the closest it had ever been to acceptance into the Olympics.

Additionally, the IOC acknowledges the World Chess Federation or FIDE. In addition, one of the most popular sports in the world is chess. At the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Norway, competitors came from about 170 nations competing for the top prizes. 

There aren’t many sports that can claim to have such a vast audience. Despite all these, chess struggles for recognition as an Olympic sport, primarily because it lacks athleticism.

Man Playing Chess

Is Chess Considered a Sport at All?

It is common knowledge that chess may be a sport. The International Olympic Committee has been voting to recognize chess as a sport in its own right. 

There is a recognition of the characteristics of chess that make it similar to sports, even though many do not consider the game an “Olympic Sport.” It so does not qualify for participation in the Olympic Games. The following are ten reasons why chess is a sport.


The objective of the game of chess is to emerge victorious. Playing chess means engaging in a never-ending struggle against the opposing player. It’s possible that nothing can compare to the intensity and length of time that a competitive battle between two athletes can reach during a sporting event. 

One instant of distraction can easily change a favorable position into a losing one, which can happen very quickly. Every match is a drama that, right up until the very end, has an open-ended resolution. Recently, in an interview with writer Dominic Lawson, the current world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, claimed that chess was “definitely a sport.”

Well Established

While our national organization didn’t exist until 1904, the world championship has been running continuously since 1886. Chess tournaments are at every possible level, including schools, universities, counties, towns, leagues, junior, senior, European, and worldwide competitions. 

YouGov, a company conducting polls, estimates that six million people in England play chess yearly. One hundred twenty-five thousand children receive chess instruction in their classrooms every year.

Physical Fitness

A person needs to be in peak physical condition for optimal mental state. Players need to concentrate unbrokenly for up to seven hours. As tension and stress levels increase, bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate all speed up. Fitness trainers and nutritionists assist the athletes competing for the world championship.

Behaviour Code

Players are punished if they demonstrate poor sportsmanship by, for example, declining to shake hands with an opponent. Allegations of cheating are under thorough investigation. The use of cell phones is strictly forbidden. Players are not permitted to leave the playing field when it is their turn to move. There is a policy in place that prohibits doping.

Olympic Recognition

The International Olympic Committee has officially acknowledged chess as a sport since 2000. At the Asian Games held in Doha in 2006 and Guangzhou in 2010, there was a competition for this event. The investigation is on whether or not they may incorporate it into the Pan-American Games. 

As Tokyo readies its campaign for the 2020 Summer Olympics, it encourages the board games of chess and bridge to submit their bids. Russia’s goal is to have chess recognized as a sport worthy of Olympic competition.

European Recognition 

Countries that officially acknowledge chess as a sport are 24 of the 28 countries that make up the European Union. The exceptions to this rule are Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Belgium. Sweden may start playing chess as soon as the next year. 

The Swedish Sports Coaches Association has supplied support supplies, which values the mental discipline that chess requires of its players.

Global Game

People play chess all around the world with people of all ages, races, genders, educational levels, and native languages. Chess is a game that those can play with limited mobility. Blind people like the game of chess. 

Patients with advanced stages of motor neuron disease often like playing chess: Professor Stephen Hawking enjoyed a game of chess with his children.

Mental Component

 Every sport requires players to have a certain level of mental toughness. In the end, competitive sports are nothing more than diverse strategy games expressed via different physical mediums. 

Commentators commonly employ metaphors, such as “curling is like playing chess on ice,” “bowling is like playing chess on grass,” “snooker is like playing chess with balls,” and many more.

National Accolade

Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Vishy Anand (India), and Veselin Topalov have honors with the title of Sportsman of the Year in their own countries (Bulgaria).

Player Ranking System

In 1960, they developed a player rating system for the game of chess. Since then, various other sports, such as golf, American football, baseball, basketball, korfball, and rugby, have incorporated it into their play. The rules for cricket and football are essentially the same.

The Possible Inclusion of Chess in the 2024 Olympics

The campaign by the sport’s governing organization to get chess into the 2024 Paris Olympics is on. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) demands that the Olympic program include the faster versions of classical chess known as rapid and blitz.

According to a statement from FIDE, there are 600 million players worldwide who play the game of chess, which has 189 national federations. 

The International Olympic Committee declared chess a sport in 1999, and the Sydney Olympics featured an exhibition game the following year. Chess officials tried unsuccessfully to get their sport added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Therefore chess Olympics will not take place.

Was Chess Previously Included in the Olympics?

The Olympic Games will not include chess. It’s not that FIDE, the leading governing organization of chess, hasn’t tried to get it included; in fact, it’s done so numerous times without success. Cross Viswanathan Anand Through Abhijit Nair Published: June 6, 2021, at 3:31 Chess is one of the humans’ earliest games ever played. 

Chess is undoubtedly one of the most cerebral games out there, even though there are many ideas about how and where it came from. A single game of chess has the power to exhaust a player through difficult calculations and pattern recognition utterly. Read our article and find out HOW To Set Up A Chessboard.

The Olympics rejected chess despite being one of the most popular games worldwide. It’s not that FIDE, the main governing organization of chess, hasn’t tried to get it included; in fact, it’s done so numerous times without success.

Man in suit playing chess

That’s All, Folks

In conclusion, whether chess belongs in the sports category is still debatable. While some claim it is a sport, others prefer to describe it as a game or hobby. They have their reasons stating why chess is not a sport. Whatever your position on the topic, there are at least eight compelling arguments on either side of the debate, which we have covered in detail and separately above.

The deciding variables frequently connect to a sport’s outline, conduction and structure before it contrasts with the standards governing the game of chess. 

Whether you categorize it as a sport or not, one thing is for sure: whatever you choose to name it, it is a pleasant and interesting activity. So pull out the chess set and start playing this “sport,” “game,” or “pastime” now! As Simon Williams once said, “The beauty of chess is that it can be anything you want it to be” (chess grandmaster and champion).

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