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Chess

Why is Chess not an Olympic sport?

Chess has failed to make its way into the Olympics. It is not that the top governing body of Chess, FIDE, has not pushed for its inclusion; in fact, it has on multiple occasions, but without any success.

Indian chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand
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Viswanathan Anand

By

Abhijit Nair

Published: 6 Jun 2021 12:31 PM GMT

Chess is considered to be one of the oldest games played in the history of mankind. While there surely are multiples theories on from where and how Chess originated, one cannot deny the fact that it is one of the most intellectual games out there. From complex calculations to finding patterns, a single game of Chess possesses the ability to completely drain out a player.

Despite being one of the most played games across the world, Chess has failed to make its way into the Olympics. It is not that the top governing body of Chess, FIDE, has not pushed for its inclusion; in fact, it has on multiple occasions, but without any success.

But, why is Chess not an Olympic sport?

The rudimentary argument provided for this is the fact that Chess is not a sport. A sport, by definition, is an activity wherein the body is put through some overt physical athleticism. The 'physical athleticism' is something many consider to be missing in Chess. Yes, Chess requires you to be on top of your mental strength, but the body of a chess player does not undergo any overt physical activity while playing a match.

But, the fact remains that back in the year 1999, when Chess was the closest it has ever been in its bid to be included in the Olympics, the IOC had recognised it as a sport. Moreover, even the World Chess Federation or FIDE is recognised by the IOC.

Besides, Chess is also one of the most universal sports in the world. The 2014 Chess Olympiad, which was played in Norway, had witnessed players from around 170 countries competing for the top honours. Surely, not many sports can boast of such widespread reach.

Despite all these, Chess continues to struggle for recognition as an Olympic sport, plainly on the grounds that it does not involve athleticism.


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