Grandeur and nobility
Seem to be oldfashioned words used in the past to divide society into classes. In fact, chess contains a certain reflection of said social division: the king and queen, knights, bishops and the pawns. Rooks were also wardens in ancient times.
I guess that, at a certain point, in their very beginning, persons belonging to those categories must have shown certain special personal characteristics that justified it.
Nobel is also a word we use to refer to certain materials, such as metals and gasses. Their main property is that they are resistant to attacks.
Thus, I would rather say that noble are those who are constant in their affections even when problems arise. We all struggle with aggressions in life. Those who under difficult or even tough circumstances are constant in affections are noble.
Grandeur... A person with grandeur is that person who is capable of overcoming difficulties and altruistically make themselves busy with problems of others or even problems of a whole society. For instance, Mahathma Ghandi, where Mahathma means grand soul... Grandeur is extremely difficult to find and is not exactly as heroicity. Everyone can be heroic at some point. Even once in their lives. Grandeur is a quality of our soul. It requires to be built up in a lifetime. It seems clear to me that grandeur requires nobility. Persons that aren't constant in their affections and change them when difficulties arise cannot be grand.
Sportsmanship is like a little brother of grandeur and nobility or even a humble expression of them. When you ackowledge that your opponent played better than you; when losing doesn't bring you down you are a good sportsman (or sportswoman).
It is clear to me that who doesn't practice sportsmanship cannot be noble. Not to mention grand...
Nobility calls for honesty, constance (especially in affections) and tension for overcoming one's defects. Grandeur brings human beings to a higher level: altrusim and sacrifice (quite "chessy", in fact!).
I come across so many players that really don't care for all this.
So, to me the quiestion is not why we do we play here for at all. That is like the meaining of life, everybody has their own answer. To me the question is how do we play? And I am not referring to how good we are. Rather how we feel and more importantly, how do we perceive the other and behave towards the other.
If we find our own answer we will know much more about ourselves...