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20 Reasons Why Chess Is So Popular and Loved (Why Is It So Special?)

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

Chess is, without a doubt, one of the most popular games in the world. It would be challenging to go out and find a person who has never heard of this game. There are many reasons why chess is so popular and loved.

Chess is extremely popular and loved for many reasons; it is readily available, timeless, easy to learn, and a great way to pass the time. Chess is also inexpensive, stimulating, emotionally rewarding, featured in popular media, social, not repetitive, and suitable for logical and creative thinkers.

Chess has existed for over millennia. People from various backgrounds have enjoyed playing this game, and the game’s popularity is always growing. So, why is chess so loved and popular in this day and age? 

These are 20 reasons why chess is so popular and loved:

1. Chess Is Popular Because Of Its Readily Available

Chess is more readily available than ever before. Even people who do not own a chess set can still play chess on various electronic devices. Before the Digital Revolution, though chess was already popular, people could not play it whenever they wanted.

2. Playing Chess Is A Good Way To Pass The Time

It may be difficult for the younger generations to understand, but electronic devices with games have not always been around. Before this technological boom, people had to find ways to pass the time. A game of chess (or several) was the perfect way for colleagues, friends, families, and even strangers to pass the time enjoyably. 

3. Chess Is Easy To Learn And Play 

Overall, chess is easy to learn. It takes a few minutes to learn the basic rules, though it can take more than a lifetime to master some of the strategies. 

4. Chess Has Stood The Test Of Time

As mentioned, chess is an incredibly old game, and the fact that it is still around today without having undergone drastic rule changes shows how much people love it. Its timelessness can be partly attributed to its simplicity and accessibility. 

5. Chess Is An Inexpensive Board Game 

All you need to play chess is a checkered board and thirty-two pieces. Unless you are looking for a fancy championship chess set, chess sets are generally cheap and affordable for most people. Even those who cannot afford to spend the money can get creative and make their own set using cheap materials.

6. Chess Provides The Right Kind Of Challenge

People enjoy having some competition in their lives. Chess gives amateur players a healthy dose of competition they may crave daily. 

7. Chess Helps People Come Together 

Before the internet, chess was (and still is) a great tool for socializing with one’s peers. In major and small cities alike, people enjoy going to the park or local chess club not just because they like chess but also because they love meeting new people. 

8. Playing A Game Of Chess Is A Great Way To Escape Reality

Players can be so immersed in a game of chess that they forget about the reality they live in. For many people, the idea of being so involved and immersed in a task to the point where everything around them does not matter anymore is appealing. 

9. Chess Is Featured In Popular Media

With the rise of new media forms, such as films and television shows, chess’s feature in those mediums has contributed to its popularity. The television show centered around chess, “The Queen’s Gambit,” was a huge contributor to chess’s popularity boom in 2020.

10. People Can Make Money Playing Chess

Money tends to be a great motivation for people to dedicate themselves to something. Like in many other sports, most of the players do not make much money compared to the elite, yet the prize money for many events draws in players.

11. Chess Is About Skill And Little Luck

When asked why they enjoy playing chess, elite and amateur players both state that they enjoy chess because it is a game that is about skill rather than luck. Ultimately, a player’s skill is the deciding factor. The winner can be happy to have bested their opponent in strategic thinking without questioning their luck.

12. Each Chess Game Is Different To The Last

People tend to love chess because it is not repetitive. Each game is different from the last. In truth, the number of possible chess games exceeds the amount of atoms in the observable universe, so players can always expect to face a new trial in each game. 

13. Chess Can Be Played Anywhere And Anytime

One of the primary reasons chess is so popular is that you can play it anytime and anywhere. A chess game is only a few clicks away now the internet exists, but even before then, people could play chess in the park, in their homes, on the train, and even on the side of the street. 

14. Chess Is Popular Because Anyone Is Free To Play

One of the true beauties of a board game like chess is that most people on this earth can play the game. Those interested in chess, whether young children or people with various disabilities, can participate.

15. People Love Chess Because It Boosts Their Confidence

Chess requires its players to put in a lot of mental effort. You must consistently be ahead of your opponent by calculating their possible moves and your own. Players who beat their opponents feel great fulfillment after playing a good game. 

16. The Internet Helped Grow Chess’s Popularity

The creation of the internet signified a great boom in chess popularity. Thanks to the internet, humanity was given a tool where people could play chess with anyone worldwide. Interestingly, chess was the first game to be played online.

17. World Champions Helped Grow The Love For Chess

People who excel in something, especially sports, can become a great source of inspiration for many people. Chess World champions like Viswanathan Anand, Bobby Fisher, and Magnus Carlson have inspired many to take up chess.

18. People Love Chess Because It Is Stimulating

Though it does not require physical effort, chess is a great mental stimulator. Humans hate boredom, so we constantly tend to seek stimulation. Over the many years of its existence, chess has helped people escape boredom through mental stimulation. 

19. Chess Is For Both Logical And Creative Thinkers

Chess is a game that requires creativity yet operates under strict rules and boundaries. Some people have attributed chess’s dominance in popularity over other board games to the fact that the game perfectly balances logical and creative thinking, making it fun for many people.

20. Love Of Chess Grew Because Of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic 

The global COVID-19 pandemic played a big part in building chess’s popularity to the point that chess became an esport. People worldwide were confined to their homes and had to find ways to occupy themselves. Thus, many people took out their forgotten chess sets and happily played the game during these few months.

In Closing

There are many reasons why chess has been popular and loved for so long. People enjoy the mental stimulation, the combination of creative and logical thinking without reliance on luck, and the game’s ease and accessibility.

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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.