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Chess is an eSport? – Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura Stakes Claim

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One of the world’s best chess players Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura  has teamed forces with an eSports firm. Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura joined Team SoloMid (TSM) at the end of August 2020. He has asserted that chess is an eSport. So we’re here to discuss whether chess is an esport or a traditional sport, as some have argued.

TSM is a well-established North American eSports organisation. They have squads in League of Legends, Apex Legends, Valorant, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros, Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and many other eSports.

TSM signed Hikaru Nakamura, one of the biggest chess streamers on Twitch - Polygon

The recent turn of events brings up the question of whether chess is truly an eSport? or if we’ve been fooled into thinking it was all along. The simplest way to answer this issue is to first understand the differences between eSports and sports.

What is Google’s take on the matter?

According to some results Google, eSports are competitive video game contests, particularly among professional gamers. Sports are broadly defined as athletic activities that require skill or physical prowess and are frequently competitive in nature.

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Chess is not even considered a sport based on these definitions. But again It is recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee. One of the arguments advanced in support of the argument is that playing this game requires a considerable deal of mental effort, which presents itself physically. Aside from that, this is a competitive game that demands practicing to build skills.

Why Chess should be considered eSports?

Chess conforms to the basic rule of video games, as stated by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell: “Easy to learn, difficult to master.” Perhaps the most important condition is that chess, by definition, is a competition.

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Checkmate: Is chess an esport? | ESI Digital Spring - YouTube

In other respects, chess and esports bear far too many similarities in terms of revenue and audience engagement. Certainly, the audience for professional chess does not coincide with that of other esports activities, but that is absolutely fine COD fans may not like League of Legends.

Is online chess better than offline?

Although elite Grand Masters from across the world may still prefer a physical competition over an online one. No one can dispute the boost that internet chess has provided this age-old sport. It has strived to be recognized as an Olympic sport throughout the years, and with the drive for e-sports participation in the biannual event at an all-time high, now may be the ideal time for this game to be classified as an e-sport.

What are your thoughts on this? Do let us know in the comments section.

Also Read: What is eSports? – Everything You Need to Know About the Gaming Community That Has Taken the World By Storm