Chess is a sport
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I argue that chess is a sport while the opponent argues that chess isn't a sport
Chess has most of the characteristics associated with a sports so it's a sport.
1) Recognized as a sport
The International Olympic Committee offically recognizes chess as a sport. https://olympics.com/ioc/recognised-international-federations
SportAccord also recognizes chess a sport. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Association_of_International_Sports_Federations#Member_federations
2) Very Competitive and is regulated like other sports
Chess is very competitive, as the elo rating serves as a system to calculate players' skills and rank them. The best players compete with each other year-long in a lot of big events such as the World Cup or the Candidates Tournament. There is a world champion.
The masters train hours and hours studying theory, openings tactics, endgames, and different aspects of the game. To be a pro chess player it takes extremely long training.
Chess notably requires players to anticipate opponents' moves and find tactics, like in other sports.
There are referees for each game and players are drug-tested. The FIDE is a governing body that sets the regulations and rules for Chess. Basically, Chess fills all the criteras of a sport.
3) Literal dictionary definition
The Oxford dictionary defines a sport as an «activity that you do for pleasure and that needs physical effort or skill, usually done in a special area and according to fixed rules». Chess requires skill so even if you argue that chess doesn't need physical effort, the dictionary literally acknowledges that a sport doesn't have to be physical in nature
Thank you for participating in this conversation with me, Kouen.
I will concede that your argument is sound and based in our current language. English is an ever-evolving language that borrows from many languages. Some of the languages we borrow from have borrowed from others in turn.
I can not argue that your logic is faulty. With the current definition of sport, chess does fit within its confines, and is also recognized by associations. This is not a concession.
The fault with the word sport is that it is too loosely defined. If you trace the word sport to its Latin origin, you will find that the Latin origin word is "portare," which means "to carry." Portare becomes the French "desporter" which means "to carry away," though this can be taken metaphorically as in to carry one's troubles away with entertainment. Desporter becomes the Old English "sporten" which means to "take pleasure, enjoy, or amuse oneself". I argue that the root of this word "portare" seems to allude to physical competition, even if our current definition disagrees.
Competitions such as chess, poker, backgammon, mancala, even Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and other games alike them, all deserve their own categorical term. There are many other games that would fit in this category. The definition of a game that would fit in this category is "any competition that does not have to have physical intervention to be played", as in the only determining factor of the outcome of the competition will come directly from understanding of the game, and that physical skill is not necessary, only intellectual understanding.
Many competitions, no matter how good you are at understanding the rules and possible ways to win, physicality is a factor of winning or losing. Considering the Latin portare, I believe that sports should be the competitions that necessary need physical intervention.
Chess can be played by anyone regardless of shape, size, gender, or physical ability. The only factor that matters in the game or chess is ones understanding of how to play. Video games are one competition that seems to fit here but do not, as they necessitate a need of physical intervention, albeit small, it still requires a player to have hands.
The term I propose for this new category of competition is "cogni". This word follows a similar etymological pathway as "sport". From Latin, through French, to English. The Latin "cognocere" means "to get to know, to recognize." The French term "conoistre" means "to know." There's a bit more in the etymological timeline, but I believe the point is made.
Cogni is a term that refers to any competition that can be had without any sort of physical intervention necessary by the one actually competing. For example, Stephen Hawking or a similarly disabled person could play chess without ever having to touch the Chess board. Someone may have to move the piece, or have it displayed on a screen, but the actual input that matters is the intellectual input only. For this reason, competitive speed Rubik's solving is within the confines of a sport, while chess, poker, and any other game that only requires cognitive input should be given their own terms as to not be lumped in so carelessly with other forms of competition.
Thanks for accepting the conversation, Atoktheadvocate.
While you might be right or not about the root of the word, as you stated earlier, English is an ever-evolving language, so a word’s meaning can differ over time. The meaning of "sport" has differed over time, and it now encompasses chess.
For games like Chess, some people use the term Mental Sport/Mind Sport to designate them so a category for this already exists. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_sport. (Cogni does sound good though). You’re simply arguing that this category of games shouldn’t be considered sports.
While physicality is not a factor in chess, Chess checks every other box of what a sport is associated with and is acknowledged as one as I said earlier. Chess isn’t only a sport because it’s a very competitive game. Chess also involves strategies, playing at the top level is extremely difficult, it requires long training and preparation, it’s regulated like traditional sports, there is a ranking system, there are even country competitions(https://www.chess.com/events/2023-fide-chess-world-cup) and clubs(https://www.chess.com/events/info/2023-european-chess-club-cup), etc.
Also about the physicality, while Chess can be played by anyone, it’s also the case for other sports. People who are out of shape can play sports casually with friends. Now, if your point is specifically at the pro level, while people of any fitness level can play chess, the mental aspect replaces it. Learning tactics, openings, endgames, etc. is a grind that’s comparable to the fitness training of players in games such as basketball or football, in terms of time spent, difficulty, you have to be dedicated, etc.
The issue here is chess does not have its own arena to stand within.
Yes, it is defined as a sport. Should it be? I, and many others think not.
Yes, it takes skill and dedication. But it simply is a cognitive game, and deserves to be held to a different standard than the typical physical "sports."
I am not downplaying the skill required to play chess, simply stating that it should be standing in a different arena of competition.
Cogni is just as important and competitive as traditional sport, but is an arena for those who battle with naught but the mind.
Well, we agree that it is defined as a sport and that Chess is in a special category. I’m saying it should remain a category of sports, while you’re saying it shouldn't and it's just a different kind of game. Good debate.
Quite, though I'll add that the very existence of this conversation, and the many like it, are enough to show that Chess has dispute over whether it is a sport.
If there was no way to see Chess as anything other than sport, this topic would not be posed for debate.
The very fact that we can debate over this topic shows that there is reason for reclassification and more specificity within the "sports" umbrella term.
I will concede that the same goes for other traditional physical sports.
If any common ground can be found here, I'd say it's that all forms of game competition can be classified as a "sport" but there is usefulness in coining more specific phrases to refer to subsets of sport. Chess and Cricket do not belong under the same classification, except at the broadest classification of "competition with rules."