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Should Chess Belong to the Olympics: A Pawn Dawn.

Updated on May 14, 2012

The International Olympic Committee recognized chess as an international sport in 1999. Since its establishment on 20th July 1924, the sport has undergone a lot of changes. It achieved its current status during the 15th century. Chess is a board sport played by two participants on a square board that is checkered with sixty four squares in an eight grid arrangement. The objective of this game is to checkmate your opponent’s king. Since its inception, chess has been known as a gentleman’s sport because the players are supposed to act with decorum. In addition it has an enduring beauty attributed to its practitioners.

There have been many chess tactics and strategies ever since the inception of this game. Contemporary chess is a sport organized for international and national tournaments and leagues. “The Tournament of Nations” which is mostly referred to as “Chess Olympiads” is the one that led to the general promotion of the game as an international sport. Most international sports are conducted during the Olympics. The Olympics is a major international event that is inclusive of the winter and summer sports. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) is one of the largest sport organizations around the world with 170 member countries. It organizes international championships for men, women, seniors and children who are collected from their member countries. As a sport, chess is recognized in 105 countries, the National Olympic Committee recognizes 115 countries as affiliate members to it. This number is likely to increase as some countries are on the path of gaining recognition with the National Olympic Committee. For instance, Russia is levying for the inclusion of Chess at the winter Olympics although this has not been approved yet. The Olympic Games are currently held every four years in respect to the seasonal games. All the games played at the Olympics are believed to share a common ground of athleticism. Chess fulfills all the standards required by the Olympics federation to be part of the sports undertaken. Being a mind game, chess requires deep and critical. The players need space for solitude thinking to acquire a master level of thinking and concentration just like all the other games played at the Olympics. There is absolutely no reason why chess should not be part of the Olympics.

In 1924 Olympics, there was an endeavor to incorporate chess in the “games”. However, this did not occur because of problems of being able to distinguish between the professional and amateur level for players. This aspect has been discussed and, the distinctions have been made over the years. Chess Olympiad is now a competition in which players from all over the globe would compete against each other in the different levels.

The World Chess Federation which is the main organizer of the Olympiad believes that all the nations should be part of the international chess community. One of its objectives is to increase the number of people participating in the game. They point out that participants should be drawn from all parts of the world. Participating on a global ground would prompt the best players to reach new peaks of excellence. Through this, new talents are likely to emerge setting new grounds and growth of the sport. Moreover, it will foster team work among different age groups , improve individuals playing skills and encourage safe and healthy community activity. The International Olympic Committee recognizes chess as a sport. This is so because it does not only acknowledge the physical prowess of the players but their skill and level of concentration that brings about some sort of competitiveness.
Chess has been perceived to be more than a sport as it requires the use of one’s mental skill and a lot of concentration. This is good feature for most of the games played in the Olympics. It is argued that chess is one of the oldest sports in the world and the most popular mental sport. Furthermore, chess has currently become part of the modern culture ,the impact of technology has led to high proliferation in dissemination information and creating awareness on a global level in regard to the game.With the aspect of testing the skill of participants at an international level, Chess qualifies and thus should be included in the Olympics (Wilkinson, 2008)

In 1851, the first modern tournament was held in London, from that moment, master matches and tournaments kept growing every year. From time in memorial, chess has been regarded as the most popular and oldest mental sport, in fact it has been in calculated in to the modern society. This game has been observed as a sport that people desire to learn in order to show their skills and mastery. It is undoubtedly a sport that everyone should indulge in to improve their level of alertness and intelligence. Through the national and international chess programs, more participants are expected. This will in turn benefit both the amateur and professional levels increasing its popularity and development in future .The fast growth and popularity of the game internationally should qualify it as one of the games played at the Olympics.

The Olympics is a competition not only for brawls but also brains. Prehistoric Olympics was not only a competition for athletics only but other participants like philosophers and poets also participated. Attentiveness is a good feature in the games that are played in the Olympic and Chess is one of the games that have this characteristic. It is for this reason that chess should be included in the Olympics.
Even though Chess rarely attracts a high number of spectators due to its complexity, this perception has so far changed. In recent times, people’s intelligence quotient is increasing and, people are getting to understand it even better. The training that the participants have to undergo is intense and captivating, on the same note an increased number of spectators are becoming acquainted to the tactics of the game. On the same note, the games that are watched at the Olympics are both a mixture of attention-grabbing and enjoyable, the blending of skill and proficiency is what captures the audience. Albeit, these games also require intense training and chess requires this as much, it is for what it’s worth as people get fascinated by the players.
There is a popular perspective of games that qualify to be played at the Olympics, that is, the event organizers should have the proper equipment to fence and secure the areas in which the players will participate. Chess can take care of all the conditions set by the Olympics Federation; in fact it is played with all the necessary requirements at international levels and standards. With this in position, I still believe that chess should be integrated in the Olympics as one of the games that are to be played.

There are proponents who want chess to be included in Olympics, because they believe that it is a worldwide game and through its incorporation, it would significantly raise the profile of the game. If Chess was to be played in the Olympics, many people would gain a lot of interest in the sport; I strongly believe that chess should be included in the Olympics.

Wilkinson, S. L. (2008). Chess! Bloomington: Xlibris Corporation .
Young, D. C. (2004). A brief history of the Olympic games. New york: Wiley-Blackwell.
University Chess Championship.World University Chess Championship. Retrieved December 29, 2010, from
CBC Sports.Russia Wants Chess in Winter Olympics 2010, May 20 Retrieved December 29, 2010, from
FIDE. World Chess Federation. Retrieved Decembr 29, 2010, from
Chernev, I. (1855). 1000 Best Short Games. A Treasury of Masterpieces in Miniture .


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    • Prossylink profile image

      Prossylink 5 years ago from Nairobi

      Sure,given that it's competitive then it qualifies. About cereal boxes ,that's really interesting. Keep teaching your daughter and let's be optimistic that she will one day be a Chess Olympiad!


    • stanleyreese profile image

      stanleyreese 5 years ago from Alabama

      If the meaning of sport is competition, yes, I agree that it belongs in the Olympics. But I believe the Olympic spirit is not supportive of this activity.

      I hope it is, though. I started teaching my four year old daughter how to play chess a few months ago and she's catching on quickly. Do they still put Olympic heroes on cereal boxes?

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Board games aren't sports. All this does is, in one more tiny way, further erode the credibility of the corrupt International Olympics Committee.