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17 Reasons Why Chess Is So Overrated and Boring (in My Humble Opinion)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Is it just me, or does anyone else find chess boring and somewhat overrated? Initially, I put my disinterest down to psychological trauma from forced chess lessons when I was a kid. Then, as a junior school teacher, I even offered to teach chess as an extracurricular activity to try to spark my own interest. But, nope. I still find it uninteresting, and I’d rather spend my time on something else.

Chess can be incredibly boring and seem overrated to many people. It is more about your ability to memorize patterns than your ability to outwit your opponent. Playing chess doesn’t truly make you more intelligent or improve your IQ. In fact, it is best played with lowered expectations.

Chess, for some reason, gets more glory than it should. Perhaps it’s because rich or famous people with servants used to play it in the old days. It’s often associated with intelligence levels that society deems important. It all seems a bit inflated and discriminatory when you think that those are the associations with playing chess. But what about the people who find chess simply boring?

These are 17 reasons why chess is so overrated and boring:

1. Chess Can Make You Crazy

True story. Look up how many chess World Champions lost the plot and see for yourself. Chess became an obsession for them that interfered with their daily lives and health. We’re talking lack of personal hygiene, forgetting to eat, and using alcohol and hardcore drugs to continue obsessing over the game. These world champs even went crazy or lost their homes, families, and friends.

2. Chess Is Time Consuming

“The ability to play chess signifies a gentleman. The ability to play chess well signifies a wasted life.” Paul Morphy said it, not me. Classical chess is a lot more time-consuming than the faster versions of chess. Some games can take hours while opponents figure out their next move. Who’s got time for that? Are you allowed to go for a coffee or a jog between moves?

3. Chess Isn’t as Important as People Say it Is

While it is true that chess can teach you some skills or earn you some money if you’re really good at it, it’s not a life-changing experience for most of us. You can learn necessary tactical and practical skills in other games, sports, or real-life situations that are much more enjoyable or noteworthy. 

4. I Don’t See the Beauty in Chess

People will find different things beautiful according to their interests, and I’ve heard that chess is beautiful. If I thought it was beautiful, I might not consider it boring. The chess board might have an ornately designed border, and the chess pieces could be little works of art. Maybe the memorized chess moves are viewed as a beautifully choreographed dance. I still don’t see it.

5. Being a Chess Player Doesn’t Mean You’re Clever

I’m not good at chess. I can’t even remember how each piece is allowed to move (it’s a mental block, I tell you). But I know I’m not stupid. I have a few college degrees and a relatively high IQ, apparently. So, it boils down to your ability to play chess is not a sign of your intelligence. Instead, it may highlight your interests and dislikes, and possibly even some PTSD.

6. Creativity is Lost in Chess with Rote Memorization

Being able to memorize things is a valuable skill that could save your life, earn you some money, or win you a certificate at a local poetry competition. For example, excellent chess players memorize loads of moves and strategies for their chess games. So instead of creative problem-solving on the spot, chess players have a chess database in their heads. What a nice processor you have there.

7. Chess Has Simple Rules But Can Be Too Complex 

The rules of chess are pretty straightforward. Young kids can even play the game. However, when opponents start thinking a few steps ahead, it can become challenging to keep up. A more advanced player capable of complex moves might feel bored playing against a player with a lower rating and vice versa.

8. Online Chess Is Overrated – Like Most Things Online

You can play chess online against an opponent on the other side of the world, or you can play against AI. You can even watch a live chess game with a chess engine evaluating the players’ moves. Like many things online, they are often hyped up and overrated, so things are not always what they seem. It’s best to take online chess results and braggers with a pinch of salt.

9. Chess Is More About Social Image

As mentioned earlier, chess started as a game for royalty and famous people. The chances are they were given an education too. Education is often synonymous with intelligence, although this is not true. Today, chess is still associated with ‘higher intelligence’ and the “superiority” that goes with it. Your child plays chess? Oh, what cultured and intelligent people you must be!

10. You Don’t Gain a Lot From Chess

Don’t get me wrong, you can gain some skills from chess. Long-suffering – I mean patience – comes to mind. Chess can also teach you problem-solving, foresight, hope, and the ability to read your opponent, but only if you want to learn these things. You can pick up these skills in other games and in everyday life.

11. Chess Bores People with Short Attention Spans

Since chess can be such a long-winded game that requires strategy and memorization, people with short attention spans will probably not see a game through to the end. Now we live in a world where we don’t have to memorize much or know how to process information without technology. This means a hefty amount of the world’s population would probably find chess mercilessly boring.

12. Chess Does Not Provide Instant Gratification

The modern world is one of instant gratification. The waiting time between wanting and getting something is much shorter than it used to be. Additionally, if you don’t like something, you get rid of it or delete it. So, you can imagine how a game requiring patience would not appeal to the masses.

13. You Need to Play a Lot of Chess to be Good at It

A few ‘wunderkinds’ have observed chess casually and become Grand Masters at the game. But most people need to play a lot of chess to be good at it. Playing games at a high level requires a lot of preparation too. You must memorize moves, research your opponent’s playing technique (if possible), and study chess engine analysis. That takes a lot of time.

14. Chess Doesn’t Really Help You with Problem-Solving

Historically, chess might have taught players some problem-solving techniques. Maybe the problem was the opponent’s halitosis or nervous tic. Regarding chess and problem-solving today, it’s probably more about how to fit your chess into a balanced lifestyle.

15. Chess Is Almost Impossible To Master

Yes, there are chess Grand Masters who seem to have figured out chess. But for ordinary people, it’s easier to master logic and strategy in other games – and more fulfilling.

16. Understanding Chess Doesn’t Mean You’ll Appreciate It

Even if you know how chess works and play it at a high level, it does not mean you’ll appreciate it. If you’re doing it for the money or the social image, you probably appreciate those aspects more than the game of chess. Even Magnus Carlson, who held the world champion title for multiple years, decided against defending his title. Why? Because he found chess boring and without gain.

17. You Should Lower Your Expectations When Playing Chess

If you want to enjoy (endure) a chess game, it’s probably better to lower your expectations. Chess isn’t a game of good luck, and you can’t truly rely on your intellectual prowess to help you win. Instead, you might just be humbled. It’s a good idea to not take yourself, your opponent, or chess too seriously if you must play it.

All in All

I think chess is boring for a variety of reasons. There will be those who agree with me and those who don’t. The popularity of chess fluctuates. It’s often overrated as it is seen as a game for intellectuals with good social standing. This is not the case – high school dropouts can beat seasoned players in an upset. If you love the game – good for you. If you don’t, let’s do something else.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.