8 Ways Chess Is Like CrossFit

8 Ways Chess Is Like CrossFit

| 39 | Fun & Trivia

You’ve all heard the joke about how the first rule of CrossFit is you must talk about CrossFit. And the second rule is that you must talk about CrossFit. So let’s talk about CrossFit. And chess.

There are many parallels between chess and CrossFit, which can make them appeal to similar people.

1. Community
There is something very human about wanting to belong to a special tribe of like-minded people. But now that we mostly live in a giant mixing pot of a world, people create tribes around their hobbies and interests. Chess has its own culture, language, and shared experiences. CrossFit also forms bonds around the same activity.

2. Self-Improvement
Chess and CrossFit both encourage people to train regularly and improve. CrossFit has classes with coaches and workouts of the day. Chess also has training tools, books, and coaching.

3. Stats

Chess players love stats: ratings, evaluations, and knowledge gains. CrossFitters love stats, too: max weights for their lifts, fast times to finishing workouts, and "gainz."

For those reasons, we are starting to see some overlap between chess and CrossFit. Most famously, Susan Polgar, the former women's world champion, does CrossFit.

She also encourages her top collegiate chess team at Webster University to do CrossFit

Jennifer Shahade, the two-time U.S. women’s chess champion, and her brother IM Greg Shahade are both into CrossFit:’s IM Danny Rensch has been doing CrossFit now for a few years, mostly in hopes of not being out-burpeed by CEO Erik, who’s been doing CrossFit for five years.

On the other side, it’s rumored that Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, is a chess player and advocate of the game.

But what other similarities do CrossFit and chess share?

4. CrossFit Workouts Are Like Chess Games
Some are short and intense like a sprint, while others are long grinds and require stamina.

5. Both Generate Healthy Competition
Whether competing with a buddy on the squat rack, or over the board, it’s fun to push each other and see who comes out the winner.

6. Both Require A Growth Mindset
Participants must accept that losing is a fundamental part of getting better. You never lose when you learn!

7. Consistent Practice Brings Improvement
Working out daily is the key to getting better!

And for those of you who really want to get nitty-gritty and compare…

8. Even The Fundamentals Are Similar

Nutrition is like tactics. You have to always pay attention to the little details and not sabotage your game with careless calories or moves. So eat well… and do some tactics! 

Strength training is like game analysis. You don’t see growth unless you break down the muscles — and the moves.

Focusing on lifting form is like studying openings. You have to set yourself up for success from move one so you don’t collapse later.

Coaching is like chess lessons. Listening to and emulating those who are better than you (and trained to teach) is key to improvement.

Cardio is like endgames. You have to be prepared to go the distance and finish strong!

In the words of World Champion Magnus Carlsen:

“Training your brain is just as important as training your body. It’s just like a muscle—if you’re not using it, you can lose it.”

Actually, looks like Magnus’ traps and core could benefit from some more time on the barbells…

Have you tried CrossFit and think it's similar to chess? What other ways do you think chess and fitness are alike?

Let us know in the comment section.

More from News
Arena Kings Season 9 Leaderboard

Arena Kings Season 9 Leaderboard

Arena Kings Season 8 Leaderboard

Arena Kings Season 8 Leaderboard