Chess: managing the addiction

Jul 24, 2008, 1:57 PM |

Over the few months I've been with, it is clear that there is a serious addiction issue for many of us. 

I've had to enforce strict rules of engagement to ensure that other areas of my life don't suffer and I have met other players who have had to do the same.  In fact, one player I have been enjoying games with, is now in the process of wrapping games up to leave because it is impinging on their work, family and social life.

Where I was once quick to mock people who spend hours on social networking sites, I am now humble and understanding. is too enjoyable and it isn't just the chess.  The features for engaging with other people from all around the world has proven to be too well implemented by the fine creators of this site.

So anyway, here are some tips I have:

  1. Use your account setup preferences to:

    1. Limit the number of active games.  I currently allow four concurrent games only.  It was two for a while, but I think I am clear that once you go past five concurrent games it's condition orange for addicts.

    2. Choose whether you wish to have friend challenges regardless of this limit.  In my case, I have formed a few online friendships with very interesting people.  I don't currently allow for the game limit to be breached and you need to decide for yourself what is reasonable.

    3. When you notice that you are slipping into a binge episode, put yourself on vacation - leave it alone for two or three days.

    4. Notice the STOP! button in your account preferences.  It will be obvious when you need to use this feature to stop receiving challenges.

  2. Tournaments: use with care as tournaments become very intense and demanding on your time.  They also ramp up the symptoms of addiction.

  3. Live Chess Beta: Well this is free crack to a crack addict.  I recommend the site owners make this a premium pay only feature.

  4. Decide on specific times of the day that you will check on your chess games. For me, it's early morning with my coffee [note: I need to make sure that enough caffeine has entered the system before I make a move ;-) ]

  5. When you have formed a fair number of online friends, avoid looking for open challenges. 

  6. Rather than directly challenging friends, send a message to say 'hi' and ask if they're up for a game first.  It's polite and you can both feel more relaxed about starting up a game, without pressure.

  7. Use some of your visits to explore parts of the site you haven't visited.  It provides a litle balance to your activities.

  8. Ensure you remember to play chess in the real world against family and friends.

I will be very interested to hear of other peoples' experiences and tips for ensuring a balanced chess lifestyle.