Why Play Chess?

Why Play Chess?

| 14 | Fun & Trivia

The grandest tradition in chess history is not, as most would expect, making excuses or even emasculating your opponent (May Bobby Fischer rest in peace). It is vilifying the game. Raymond Chandler (No, I've never heard of him before either) said, "[Chess is] as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency." George Bernard Shaw said, "Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something clever when all they are doing is wasting their time." (It's odd, but that's exactly what I thought about people who are professional critics.)

Clearly with these eminently quotable people deriding the game, many might question why they play. Well question no more. Myself and a team of expert sociologists (Who, coincidentally, are all neither experts, sociologists, or anything but imaginary) have, after years of torn questionnaires, doors slammed in faces, telephones smashed down and overdosing on Red Bull have come up with this list. This is the list which contains every possible reason someone would want to play chess.

So whether you play occasionally, obsessively or professionally, if you ever find yourself asking, "Why?" just take a quick glance down the list to find a reason that suits you.


1.     You dislike the Sun.

2.     You need legitimate grounds for a divorce. Or an insanity plea.

3.     You can't afford real drugs.

4.     You have a crush on Arianne Caoili.

5.     You neither have nor wish for a social life.

6.     You found Death of a Salesman heart warming.

7.     You’re the only English speaking fan of Ingmar Bergman.

8.     Everybody’s doing it!

9.     No S/M partner.

10. You thought that after beating every Resident Evil game on the hardest difficulty you could do anything. Oh, how wrong you were.

11. You’re under the influence of drugs. or alcohol. Or Absinthe (Good Times).

12. You never really liked your friends that much anyway.

13. Checkmate is the closest thing you’ll ever get to sex.

14. Your parents made you (And you hate them for it!)

15. You thought this was your ticket to a better life (Only acceptable for African orphans as celebrity adoption was the only other option. And that carries its own risks.)


16. You thought the Smyslov Screw was a delightful euphemism.


17. You had a really sarcastic high school councillor.


18. In the next 24 hours, there is 1 in 48 million chance of being burned to death, 1 in 30 million chance of being murdered, 1 in 120 million chance of choking, and the risk of dying by tea-cozy is 1 in 20 billion. However, there isn’t chance in Hell that you will be killed because you didn't leave a Luft or because of some criminal passed pawn.


19. You already spend five hours every weekend beating a sad old man, you might as well do something productive while you're at it.


20. You thought Super-Nehz was the newest console.

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