Is Chess Useless? The Subjectivity of Chess’ Usefulness

The question of whether chess is useless is subjective and depends on one’s perspective.

While some may argue that chess does not contribute to the betterment of humanity and is therefore pointless, others believe that it has value in terms of intellectual development and as a form of entertainment.

Subjectivity of Chess’ Usefulness

Intellectual Development

One argument for the usefulness of chess is that it can teach valuable lessons such as patience, perseverance, and strategic thinking.

Chess requires players to think several moves ahead and anticipate their opponent’s responses, which can help develop problem-solving skills.

Additionally, chess has been shown to improve memory and concentration, which can be beneficial in other areas of life.

Entertainment Value

Another argument for the usefulness of chess is that it is a form of entertainment. Like other games, chess can provide a sense of enjoyment and relaxation.

It can also be a social activity, allowing players to connect with others who share their interest in the game.

Productive Use of Time

Some may argue that chess is a productive use of time, especially when compared to activities like watching TV or playing video games.

While these activities can be enjoyable, they may not provide the same intellectual stimulation or social interaction as chess.


Of course, there are also counterarguments to the usefulness of chess. Some may argue that it is an outdated game that has been surpassed by more modern forms of entertainment. Others may argue that the skills developed through chess are not applicable to real-world situations.

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What are the benefits of playing chess?

Playing chess offers a wide range of benefits, including cognitive, social, and emotional advantages. Some of the key benefits of playing chess include:

  1. Cognitive Skills: Chess can improve cognitive skills such as memory, planning, problem-solving, and attention span
  2. Educational Benefits: It has been shown to improve schoolwork and grades, with studies indicating that children who play chess perform better academically
  3. Emotional and Social Development: Chess teaches important life skills such as sportsmanship, independence, and the ability to win and lose gracefully. It also fosters creativity, imagination, and self-motivation
  4. Mental Health: Playing chess can have mental health benefits, including reducing the onset of mental illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s, and potentially helping with conditions such as ADHD
  5. Focus and Concentration: Chess requires intense focus, which can be beneficial in everyday life when dealing with tasks that require concentration

In conclusion, playing chess offers a multitude of benefits, making it a valuable activity for people of all ages.

How can playing chess improve cognitive abilities?

Playing chess can improve cognitive abilities in several ways, as supported by research. Some of the cognitive benefits of playing chess include:

  1. Memory: Chess involves memorizing numerous combinations of moves and their potential outcomes, which can help improve memory skills
  2. Planning and Problem-Solving: The game requires strategic planning and problem-solving, which can enhance these cognitive abilities over time
  3. Attention Span: Regular practice of chess can improve attention span and overall brain function, leading to increased mental sharpness and alertness
  4. Creativity: Chess requires creativity and imagination to come up with winning strategies, which can help boost these cognitive skills
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While the evidence for the direct impact of chess on cognitive abilities is mixed, studies have shown positive associations between chess and cognitive skills such as memory, planning, and problem-solving. 

What are some famous chess players and their accomplishments

Some of the famous chess players and their accomplishments include:

  1. Garry Kasparov: Regarded as one of the greatest chess players of all time, Kasparov was the World Chess Champion from 1985 to 2000 and is known for his aggressive playing style and numerous tournament victories
  2. Bobby Fischer: Fischer was the 11th World Chess Champion and is celebrated for his victory over Boris Spassky in 1972, which marked the first time an American had won the World Championship. He is also known for his exceptional playing ability and contributions to chess theory
  3. Magnus Carlsen: Carlsen is the current World Chess Champion and is renowned for his strategic and positional playing style. He holds the record for the highest Elo rating in the history of chess
  4. José Raúl Capablanca: Capablanca was the World Chess Champion from 1921 to 1927 and was known for his exceptional endgame skill and positional understanding
  5. Anatoly Karpov: Karpov was a World Chess Champion who held the title from 1975 to 1985. He was known for his solid and positional playing style, as well as his numerous tournament victories

These players have left a lasting impact on the game of chess through their exceptional skills, achievements, and contributions to chess theory and strategy.


Ultimately, whether chess is considered useless or not is a matter of personal opinion and the specific criteria used to evaluate its utility.

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While some may find it to be a valuable activity, others may not see the point. However, it is clear that chess has been enjoyed by millions of people throughout history and continues to be a popular game today.