Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Get Chess be Sports

It's your move, to get chess accepted as Sports

The Guardian, Friday 19 March 1999 02.55 GMT

Is it a board game, is it a boring game, or is it a sport? Some of the brightest minds ever to have tackled the intricacies of where to place their knights, rooks or queens are banging their heads together in an attempt to get chess recognised in the same category as football, athletics or rugby.

Chess officials and players claim that chess is probably more mentally and physically challenging than darts and snooker, both of which have been recognised as sports,the aim is to get chess adopted as an Olympic sport and have it firmly established on the world sporting calender given its global popularity.

Grete White, : 'There are 157 countries affiliated to the International Chess Federation, making it second only to football's world governing body in size"

'But we are one of the few countries in the world where chess is not recognised as a sport, and this has affected our funding and the development of chess.'

Chess officials claim that the extra money could help the development of emerging players, particularly those from poor backgrounds, and help set up national chess centre.

The campaign to have chess recognised as a sport, like 'Serious support for a serious sport'.

Ms Atkins said: 'The important issue is national recognition. Chess should be given full official status as a sport. We as a country are very good at chess but it needs extra funding because many young people are not able to realise their full potential.'

Cynics, however, are sure to claim that sitting around a board moving little wooden pieces hardly amounts to sport. But chess officals claim that serious players spend weeks preparing mentally and physically for tournaments, just like athletes and footballers do.

Ms Atkins also claims that given the proven benefits of chess on other aspects of a child's development, extra funding could help introduce chess in more schools and assist the educational development of pupils.

Ms White said: 'Chess is not just a board game. It's a very demanding sport that requires an enormous amount of brain and physical power.

'If you can classify somebody who plays darts as a sportsman, there is no reason why someone who plays chess should not be seen in the same way.'

Mr Banks said: 'We are talking about a big sporting success story in a country that wants sporting success, enjoys that success, and at times feels deprived of it.

'With good will on all sides we can achieve the objectives we have set ourselves to bring this country into line with so many others that recognise the superb game of chess as a real sport.'

How top player's daily fitness gambit pays off

As far as Michael Adams is concerned, as Britain's number one chess player he is as much an athlete as anyone who has ever put on a pair running shoes.

'Chess is not as physical as some sports,' he says, 'But serious chess players spend a lot of time preparing for tournaments, and that is both physical and mental.'

Ranked sixth in the world, Mr Adams has established a firm routine to prepare for matches. Most tournaments last two to four weeks and players can often be at the table for four to seven hours without a break.

'You need a lot of stamina. Being in good physical shape helps to keep you focused mentally. Most of the leading players have a fitness routine as chess can be very draining.'

In the run-up to a big tournament, Mr Adams spends about 40 minutes on a rowing machine, then lifts weights. But much time is spent studying matches and tactics. 'You have to be aware of this because lots of players have systems they use regularly.'

Chess is not recognised as a sport in this country, but it is in most others, and the stakes at some matches are high. The prize money for last year's world championship was $1 million for the winner, with $3 million shared among others reaching the later stages. The experience, some players say, gives them a pulse rate of over 100 at matches. They can also lose a stone in weight.

This article was edited from British experience for the benefit of Malaysian Chess.

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