Is Chess a Waste of Time? Here are the Facts

Guides / By Andrew Hercules
is chess a waste of time

The answer to this question is subjective and a matter of opinion. To some, playing chess is a waste of time as there are more important things to do in life than playing a game.

To others, playing chess is not a waste of time because of the skills a player develops as they master the game. The answer to this question depends on which side of the fence you sit on.

Is chess a waste of time

When one views all of the positive aspects that come from the game, the clear answer is that no, playing this game is not a waste of time. If one is receiving constructive benefits and skills that can be used in other areas of their lives, then their time playing the game is not wasted.

Albert Einstein is credited with describing the game as a waste of time. But it seems that he was not labeling the game as a complete waste of time but an activity that he did when he needed a break from his work.

Given his other quirks, this statement could be marked down as something he thought when it came to his use of time and not a comment about other people playing the game.

The benefits of playing chess

To determine if the game of chess is a waste of time, one has to examine all the aspects of the game and weigh them in the balance. One of those aspects is the purpose behind playing.

If two people have some time to kill and they do not know how to play the game right nor are wanting to learn how to play chess correctly, then their time playing it would be considered a waste.

However, if they are looking to master the game and use some of the following benefits in their other activities, then their time is being put to good use. The following benefits are attributed to Benjamin Franklin:

  1. The game teaches foresight– to play the game one must look in advance as to how their move will play out. Then they have to use that knowledge to make a wise decision. The same applies to many of life situations.
  2. The game teaches circumspection– when making a move, a player must consider all the possible options and the end results of the decision they go with. The same applies to life as there are many decisions that need to be examined from all possible angles before it is made.
  3. Chess teaches caution– this game develops a sense in players of not moving too fast and as they say haste makes waste, a hasty decision in chess or in life can bring bad results.
  4. Chess teaches how to overcome– not just one’s opponent but how to overcome discouragement, how to overcome the temptation to quit, and how to overcome disappointment. All of these lessons help develop the right attitude in & prepare people when they are faced with life’s challenges.

Can’t these life lessons be taught elsewhere

All of these lessons can be taught through different means but chess is one of the safest places to learn those lessons. Experience is a good teacher but the cost is often a lot heavier when the wrong decisions are made in real life than they would be if the same mistakes were made in the game of chess.

This element of life shows that chess is not really a waste of time but a great teaching tool for parents to use. This game helps parents to prepare their kids for when they grow up and go out on their own.

The parents get ample opportunity to teach their children the right lessons so that their children can survive a lot better in the real world and during the times the children can’t be with their parents.

Turning chess into a hobby

Person moving a piece in chess

To make chess an even less waste of time, the game can be turned into a hobby. There are a lot of benefits that come from having a hobby. Not every kid can build models, sew, or do other hobbies that require great skill but they may be able to learn how to play chess and reap those benefits.

  1. Learn how to take a break- a hobby helps people slow down and take life a little slower
  2. Build confidence- once a person discovers they can play the game, they can build their confidence by overcoming chess challenges. other hobbies do the same thing
  3. Develop a positive social circle- finding others who like chess helps the mind relax and builds a constructive social circle where one can get encouragement, support, and more
  4. Release the stress- playing a good game of chess helps let off steam and lose any stress one may be feeling
  5. Keeps a person from losing touch with reality- that is what hobbies do and chess can accomplish the same thing
  6. Keeps one healthy- chess, like other hobbies, can lower the blood pressure and bring other health benefits. It also helps the mind stay sharp as one builds concentration skills and cognitive functions
  7. Gives a person something to look forward to- life is not always exciting and playing chess can alleviate the boredom or give a break to the problems life brings.

Some final words

When weighed in the balance, chess is not a waste of time. When used properly, there are far too many positive and constructive benefits that are come from the game. When used as a hobby it can bring health benefits, both physical and mental, as well as provide a confidence-building outlet when the world seems to be against you.

The arguments supporting the side that say chess is a waste of time are without merit and may be developed out of a pre-determined bias against fun and games. Playing chess is an activity that will help you in all areas of your life and the lessons learned from playing it will last forever.

Andrew Hercules

Hercules Chess, launched in 2020, is a website that teaches you about chess. We started as a chess blog and became a chess training platform in early 2022.

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