Olympics declines Chess

  • SonofPearl
  • on 8/24/09, 11:34 AM.

What is the difference between a sport and a game?  And what qualifies a sport to be an Olympic sport?  Is it all just a question of semantics? Or perhaps money?

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (pictured), the president of FIDE, has been courting the Olympic movement for many years in an attempt to gain admittance for chess. Drug testing has even been introduced into chess in an attempt to comply with the necessary regulations for entry.

Yet despite Ilyumzhinov's best efforts the IOC recently announced that only two extra sports are to be considered for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics - golf and rugby sevens. 

The announcement stated that these two sports scored highly on the key factors needed for inclusion, including:

  • Popularity
  • Universality
  • Transparency and Fairness
  • Good Governance

Well, apart from good governance, chess arguably has all those things in abundance, so if we can sort out the organisational mess that bedevils chess then maybe it has a chance!

Many would say that chess is just a game, not a sport and should not be included for that reason alone.  However, it is not easy to agree on definitions, and in any case the IOC officially recognizes chess as a sport.

However, with the Olympic programme already bloated, and even baseball failing to get re-admitted, what realistic chance has chess got?  Is it just a hopeless pipe dream?

For those with time on their hands, the official report into the seven sports recently considered for entry (Baseball, Golf, Karate, Roller Skating, Rugby, Softball and Squash) is here (pdf doc).

19682 reads 94 comments
4 votes


  • 15 months ago


    Chess should be in the olympics. Period. We should get as many chess masters as possible to talk to the olympic organizers and have all of the world's chess fans support them.

  • 4 years ago


    This was written in '09 and now I'm finding a lot of stuff online saying that chess will be in the Olympics in 2016!?

    Are those people just messing with us or is there some truth to it??

    What do you think David? 

  • 4 years ago


    Chess should be in the olympics because it needs the publicity. Also, I think watchers of the olympics would be fascinated by chess IF we used speed chess. If chess was a sport in the olympics, it would need to be speed chess or else spectators would get bored. Then, we could still have the chess olympiad because the olympiad is not speed chess, so it would not be made obsolete. Now, I think that chess needs to get back on tv and the mainstream media, and chess as an olmpic sport would certainly help that. Also, people that say chess is not athletic and the olympics is and athletic event, I have something for you. Shotgun shooting is not as physical as speed chess, and I know this because I participate in shotgun shooting as well as chess. So chess would not be the least athletic event, it would gain popularity, AND we could even keep the olympiad if they add speed chess as an olympic sport. Now, is there any reason to disagree with that?

  • 4 years ago


    Chess shud have itz own olympics. Cool

  • 5 years ago


    I think chess should be an Olympic sport!!!!

  • 6 years ago


    No. Chess doesn't need to be in the Olympics. It has an Olympiad of its own. That's what makes the game unique.

  • 7 years ago


    Just because chess is not an athletic sport doesn't mean it's not a sport.  Sometimes I wonder why "sports" are referred to as athletic rather than strategic - should it be both, or just one?  Should Track, swimming, etc. be sports?  If people are so worried about long games, could blitz work?  How about trying both?  Apparently the Olympics commitee should think about what should define a sport.

  • 7 years ago


    The real issue has nothing to do with wether chess is considered a sport or not. There are many sporting events which are not now an olympic event...reason?

    Money...they do not have the mass following that translates into gate revenue, sponsorships, advertising dollars, and profitability....

    ....it's all about the benjamins...

  • 7 years ago


    WTF????????? chess should not of bean rejected

  • 7 years ago


    Its hard to state my opinion on this article. It would be great if they included chess but 1. I cant really think of any mental sports in the olympics at the moment (or maybe thats just my lack of true intrest in the olympics). And 2. Chess games as you may know can take hours. Who wants to watch two men sitting around moving some small pieces of wood around a board for 2 and a half hours. It is engaging to play but boring to watch. Finnaly 3. Believe it or not some people dont know how to play chess and it would be difficult for this large group to understand what it is exactly there trying to do. Its not a watch and play kind of game. The non chess viewers would be so confused. As much as I hate to say it now I think the cons outway the pros.

  • 7 years ago


    What about the fact that we have the mind sports olympiad?

  • 7 years ago


    It is a hopeless pipe dream. While I would watch, most tv viewers would skip it.

  • 7 years ago


    now thats a thought... hehe..

  • 7 years ago


    Are we sure it's safe for chess in the Olympic games, I mean when professionals in sport that can kill people attack the ref you can't rule out somebody chucking a pawn at somebody.Laughing

  • 7 years ago


    I say, scrap water polo and all the other sissy games, and include Chess !!!!

  • 7 years ago


    What sport gear? head band, comrades!

  • 7 years ago


    I love chess chess but it's not a sport, it's an activity and or a game.  I don't think chess should be in the oylmpics because the oylmpics are lame and chess is not.  There are only five real sports in this world basketball, baseball, football, hockey, and boxing.  Just because something is in the Olympics doesn't make it a real sport is anyone really going to try to argue that shotput is a real sport?

  • 7 years ago


    Yes, there are a lot of demands placed on a player during a tournament or match, not the least of which are the mental demands; having been there myself, I will say that chess can drain a person physical in such circumstances. However, when I think of athletics, I see bodies in motion. And once again, chess is a board game. It is not a game played on a field, in a court, on a rink, within a gymnasium, upon a track, or in a pool. 

  • 7 years ago


    I wonder how much the sorry state of FIDE hurts chess?  I for one think chess is TOO good for the olympics.  Let them have their curling and rhythmic gymnastics . . .

  • 7 years ago


    Very sorry to hear and kudos for a great attempt!

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