“Critical thinking is the most important factor in chess. As it is in life, you need to think before you make decisions.”

Hikaru Nakamura, Chess Player

Pros and Cons of Chess

advantages and disadvantages of chess

You are interested in playing chess but are not entirely sure whether this is the right sport for you or not?

Great! Then this article is exactly for you since I show you all the pros and cons of playing chess in the following chapters.

Advantages of Playing Chess

  1. You can train your mind with chess
  2. There will always be room to improve
  3. You can play against many different opponents
  4. Chess has become quite popular over the past years
  5. You can play online
  6. Chess is a sport that is carried out indoors
  7. You can play with your kids
  8. There are many free training videos for chess
  9. You don’t need physical strength to become a good chess player
  10. You don’t necessarily need a second person to play chess
  11. World-class chess players make good money
  12. You may become famous as a chess player
  13. You can start a side hustle around chess
  14. You can share your strategies and thoughts in mastermind groups and forums
  15. Chess allows you to take part in tournaments
  16. You can compete against the best in your field
  17. Huge global chess community in general

You can train your mind with chess

One important advantage of playing chess is that you can train your mind on a regular basis. Chess is quite demanding and you need to focus on the game quite a lot if you really want to become better over time. This also means that you should also analyze your game afterward so that you can spot your mistakes and can make better decisions in the future.

This also implies that your mind will always be active and will seek ways to improve your game even on a subconscious level. Consequently, chances are that you will stay mentally fit in the long run and that you will do much better once you get older compared to other people who just haven’t trained their minds as well as you did.

There will always be room to improve

You should also never expect to be perfect at chess. In fact, even the best players constantly improve their games and nobody comes near to playing perfectly. This also means that you will always have room to improve your game and that you can optimize your game for a lifetime.

Chess is a continuous process of small improvements and even grandmasters often make silly mistakes they regret later on.

Hence, chances are that you will also never get bored with chess since there are always things you can learn.

You can play against many different opponents

Another upside to chess is that you can play against many different opponents. This can not only be great since you can talk with them about chess and how they improve their strategies, but it can also be great since you can make some really good friends during your chess career and chances are that you will also stay connected with those people long after you have finished your active career.

Therefore, starting to play chess can also help you to make some new friends and to get more social contacts in general.

Chess has become quite popular over the past years

The way how chess is perceived in society has also dramatically changed over the past decades. While chess players had been rather unpopular and nerdy in the past, they have gained lots of popularity and the best chess players are well known to society right now.

Consequently, you also don’t have to be ashamed to play chess anymore and your friends will likely no longer make fun of you if you start to play chess.

This can give you more confidence to actually go for it and to make this sport even more popular in the future.

You can play online

Another benefit of playing chess is that you can do it from wherever you want whenever you want as long as you have a working internet connection. Thanks to our modern technology and the internet, it is now possible to play against chess players from all around the world without even having to leave your home.

You can just get up in the morning and play chess games in your pajama or you can wake up in the middle of the night. It doesn’t really matter since there are chess platforms out there where you can play 24/7 against different opponents from many foreign countries.

Consequently, you will also be quite flexible when it comes to playing chess and you will not necessarily have to meet up with other people in person.

Chess is a sport that is carried out indoors

You are also rather independent from outdoors conditions as a chess player. While other sports like soccer are carried out outdoors without any protection from adverse weather conditions, you can play chess from inside your four walls or in tournament halls.

Thus, while people who play other sports often have to play in the cold, you will be able to play your game in pretty comfortable environments instead.

You can play with your kids

Another advantage of learning chess is that you can also play with your kids. While your kids may not be that interested in chess at first, they often get really excited once they understand the rules and often can’t get enough from playing with you over the board.

Teaching your kids how to play chess can also be really beneficial for their overall development since they can train their minds and will naturally become better with analytical tasks which can greatly benefit them in various other parts of their lives in the future.

There are many free training videos for chess

It has also become pretty easy to learn chess since there are just many different free training videos out there. In fact, top grandmasters analyze chess games on YouTube on a regular basis and there are even streams where you can watch live games that are commentated by other famous chess players for free.

In turn, you can learn quite a lot and will soon realize how you can improve your game in an efficient manner. Hence, you also don’t need lots of money or a chess trainer for learning chess.

If you are willing to work hard on your skills, you will find all necessary free information online to get started.

You don’t need physical strength to become a good chess player

It is also not necessary that you go to the gym or work out hard in various different ways for playing chess. Chess doesn’t require any physical strengths. Instead, you have to develop strong analytical skills.

Sure, it can help to stay fit since our body and our brain work together and if you are not fit at all, chances are that also your mental capacities will not be optimized.

Yet, you don’t need to build up muscles and all the good stuff that comes along with playing other sports like American football.

You don’t necessarily need a second person to play chess

If you want to play chess, you also don’t need a second person to do so. While you could play live with your friend or online, you can also play chess with a computer that will often be stronger than many other opponents.

Thus, you will also not have to rely on other humans to play with you. You will just have all the flexibility in the world to play against chess engines in case your friends or other people don’t want to play with you at the moment.

World-class chess players make good money

Another advantage of chess is that the best players in the world are able to make really good money out of what they are doing. If you become world-class at chess, you can definitely make a fortune during your career.

Of course, most chess players will never get to that level and you should always have a backup plan in case your dream of becoming a full-time chess player doesn’t work out.

Yet, if you are willing to work hard on yourself and also have a natural talent, chances are that you can get pretty far as a chess player.

You may become famous as a chess player

You may also have the chance to become famous as a chess player. If you are among the top players in the world, many people will recognize you on the street and will love to take photos with you.

You also don’t necessarily have to be among the best players. You can also start your own YouTube channel and analyze chess games.

If you do it in an entertaining way, chances are that you will be able to get many subscribers and your fanbase will likely also remember you once they meet you in public.

Hence, starting your chess career can also be great in case you are the type of extroverted person who wants to be in the spotlight and who wants to become famous sooner or later.

You can start a side hustle around chess

If you understand online marketing, chances are that you will also be able to start a side hustle around chess. You can either start a YouTube channel or a blog. Either way, chances are that you will attract many people to your site or your channel in the long run and you can monetize those people later on.

There are even chess enthusiasts out there on social media who have built a strong personal brand and are now able to make much more money than they would ever have been able to make from a corporate career.

Hence, you may also get to this point one day where you might be able to quit your day job and make your chess side hustle your main source of income.

You can share your strategies and thoughts in mastermind groups and forums

You will also not be alone when it comes to learning about chess. In fact, there are many forums and mastermind groups out there where you can discuss your strategies and where you can also ask for help if you are stuck right now and don’t know how to solve certain positions.

Those groups can also be really valuable since they will make you keep going. Other people can help you out and instead of quitting your chess career, you can really learn a lot and keep going with this interesting sport.

Chess allows you to take part in tournaments

As a chess player, you can also take part in many different tournaments over the year. It doesn’t matter whether it is online or live, there will be big chess tournaments throughout the year and some of them pay really good money for the top ranks.

You can compete against the best in your field

If you play chess and are serious about it, you will also be able to play against the best chess players sooner or later. You can either challenge them online or you might even have to play them in top-level tournaments. While this can be intimidating, it can also be really exciting to play against your idols.

Huge global chess community in general

Since chess has become pretty popular over the past decades, there is just a huge chess community all around the world. This means that you will also never feel alone as a chess player since you will have many different people to talk to and can also bring your game to the next level by following the advice of more experienced chess players.

Now that we talked about all the positives things related to playing chess, it’s time to also talk about the downsides that come along with this sport.

Disadvantages of Playing Chess

  1. Chess takes some time to learn
  2. It will be overwhelming at first
  3. You will make many mistakes along the way
  4. Lack of physical exercise related to chess
  5. Overweight and obesity may become a problem
  6. Many people give up quite soon
  7. Chess is not as glamorous as other sports
  8. Only few people are able to make a real living out of playing chess
  9. Many people have unrealistic expectations
  10. Chess can drive you mad
  11. Chess is not as exciting as other sports to many people

Chess takes some time to learn

One disadvantage of chess is that it will take quite a long time to learn. Chess is not easy and it is one of the most complex games on the planet. This means that you will have to invest lots of time in it as a beginner and that you may even struggle to understand the rules first.

It takes quite a lot of work and ambition to start out in chess and you should really make sure that you are willing to have this level of drive since you will likely have to push through many difficult times during your chess career.

It will be overwhelming at first

Many people also feel overwhelmed with all the different possibilities in chess first. In fact, opportunities are almost endless and there are millions or even billions of different possible positions in chess. This also means that no game will look the same and that you will always have to find new and innovative solutions.

Especially for beginners, it is often hard to evaluate positions properly and chances are that you will just not come to the right conclusions pretty often.

You will make many mistakes along the way

You should also keep in mind that you will also make many mistakes during your journey as a chess player. While this is not necessarily a bad thing since you can learn a lot from your mistakes, it can still cause plenty of frustration and you should make sure that you are the type of person who is really willing to work hard on yourself before you decide for learning chess.

Lack of physical exercise related to chess

Another disadvantage of being a chess player is that you will likely also suffer from a lack of physical exercise. Since you will just sit on a chair when you play chess for an extended period of time, you will not get the same level of exercise as in many other sports.

A lack of exercise can lead to serious health issues in the long run and you should therefore make sure that you do some other sport to compensate for the lack of exercise from chess.

Overweight and obesity may become a problem

Due to the lack of exercise related to chess, some chess players also suffer from overweight or even obesity. This is quite logical. If you eat a lot and also don’t work out that much in a physical manner, chances are that your calory intake exceeds your calory demand and this will lead to a state where you just gain some weight.

Many people give up quite soon

Since chess is not easy to learn and requires lots of mental work, many people also just quit their chess career quite soon. In fact, if you don’t have the stomach to deal with all the mistakes you will make along the way and if you are not willing to work hard on yourself, chances are that you will never become a successful chess player and that you might be better off with playing a different sport instead.

Chess is not as glamorous as other sports

You should also not expect that being a chess player is that glamorous. Sure, chess has become more popular over the past decades. Yet, it is not on the same level as soccer or other top sports out there.

Hence, also don’t expect the same high social standing as athletes who play one of those other more popular sports.

Only few people are able to make a real living out of playing chess

You should also not expect to make a living from your chess career. Especially if you start out playing chess as an adult, you will already be far behind compared to chess players who started their careers when they were young.

In fact, most chess players don’t even come near to the level that would be necessary to make real money and you should therefore rather consider playing chess as a hobby instead of a serious career path.

Many people have unrealistic expectations

Another problem with playing chess is that many people also don’t have unrealistic expectations when it comes to their skill level and how far they will make it. While hard work will be a factor when it comes to success in chess, you also need lots of talent.

Most people who think they will be good at chess just don’t have this level of talent that is needed to become world-class and you should therefore take an honest look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you are really good enough to compete on this level.

Chess can drive you mad

There also had been chess players in the past who had just become mad. While it is unclear whether they had already been mad before they learned chess or not, this sport can definitely drive you crazy since there is just so much to consider on each move.

Chess is not as exciting as other sports to many people

You should also not expect the same level of excitement from chess that comes along with many other sports.

Chess is a rather slow game and you will just not have all the ups and downs like in many other sports.

Top 10 Chess Pros & Cons – Summary List

Chess ProsChess Cons
Chess helps you train your mindChess is hard to learn
You can always improve in chessYou have to invest lots of time
You can make many new friendsYou will make many mistakes
Top chess players make good moneyMany chess players quit sooner or later
Chess can be played onlineChess can drive you mad
Many free training videos out thereOnly the best make a full-time income
You can build a chess side hustleUnrealistic expectations are a problem
You can participate in tournamentsYou need natural talent
Chess has become quite popularChess is not as glamorous as other sports
You can play indoorsLack of physical exercise related to chess

Should You Learn Chess?

As you can see, there are definitely many advantages and disadvantages to playing chess. Now that you know all of them, it is time to make your own decision in this regard.

If you come to the conclusion that learning chess will not be the right way to go for you, you may also want to check out the advantages and disadvantages of playing soccer instead.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess

https://www.chess.com/learn-how-to-play-chess

https://www.chesscentral.com/pages/learn-chess-play-better/chess-strategy-for-chess-openings-and-chess-principles.html

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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