Chess Addiction – Effects and How to Avoid It

An addiction to chess can be like an addiction to any video game. Rising to the challenge of beating a better player, raising your score or rating, or out-playing your rival on the chess board, expert chess players are often addicted to the game quite quickly. So why is chess so addictive?

If you enjoy playing the game, Chess is addictive because of increased levels of hormones such as dopamine providing a feeling of euphoria and happiness and thus the brain associates that feeling with playing chess. The addiction is the craving for that feeling that playing chess provides.

Usually, players that gain access to bullet chess are much more likely to become addicted than those just playing normal chess. Understanding how people become addicted, how often it happens, what causes people to continue to play despite their addictions, and how to overcome these addictions can be vital.

Addiction to chess may not just be about playing, the passion for the game could run so high as to also find the individual constantly reading chess books, articles, stories, or finding chess films to watch constantly. They may be addicted to entering tournaments requiring travel and expenses. let’s take a look at some of the reasons why some will spend countless hours transfixed with chess.

How often is there an addiction to chess?

Most people that are addicted to chess do not know that they are addicted. There are certainly more people addicted to chess than we, or even&theyrealize.

This is because the definition of addiction is vague, and unlike other addictions, chess can be addictive without causing major issues to health like many addictions, although playing instead of sleeping will have major health effects. Usually, chess addiction will result in interpersonal issues perhaps with family or friends.

This can have an effect on family time, or even problems with work if chess is controlling the time that should be spent working

Chess addictions are prevalent in those that may lack control in other parts of their lives or have other addictions. Chess offers quick and easy access to feeling good and having control.

Fortunately, controlling a chess addiction can be significantly easier than other addictions, with going cold turkey not having extreme adverse effects.

However, if you start purposefully looking for an opponent and playing chess online when you know you have more important things to do, you may find that you are unhealthily addicted.

Who are the people most likely to get addicted to chess?

The most likely people to get addicted to chess are young adults or teenagers, as these are the groups of people that are more likely to fail to recognize the onset of the addicted feeling.

Chess addiction can be seen as a healthy love for the game, which is why it might not be recognized or diagnosed

While chess addiction can cause many problems in those who are playing, missing school work, missing work, or getting angry when constantly losing, it is usually an addiction that is solved on its own.

This is because as people grow, become more mature, or take control of their lives the endorphin rush that chess provides is no longer as effective and the feeling of not having control fades.

How can addiction to chess lead to something bad?

The long-lasting effects of chess addiction were forecast as far back in chess history as 1859 in The Scientific American

I love this section.

As there can be no great proficiency in this intricate game without long-continued practice, which demands a great deal of time, no young man who designs to be useful in the world can prosecute it without danger to his best interests. A young gentleman of our acquaintance, who had become a somewhat skillful player, recently pushed the chest-board from him at the end of the game, declaring, “I have wasted too much time upon it already; I cannot afford to do this any longer; this is mylastgame.” We recommend his resolution to all those who have been foolishly led away by the present chess-excitement, as skill in this game is neither a useful nor graceful accomplishment.

There are two ways that addiction to chess can have long-lasting negative effects on anyone that may have it with the first one being the wasted time as suggested above.

Those that are addicted are unable to control their urge and will happily focus their brains on chess even they know they should be doing something else. Chasing the high from practicing their chess skill rather than working, doing schoolwork, or socializing with friends.

The second way that a chess addiction can negatively affect your life is a lot more serious and will most likely cause issues that cannot be fixed. Because chess requires the entire mind to work consistently hard one can expect mental fatigue to play a part.

As with any activity that requires mental concentration, and chess is certainly one of the most draining, consistently creating mental fatigue beyond mental exercise can not be a good thing, long term.

People mistakenly believe that chess is always healthy and good for brain development, however, an addiction to the game causes the opposite to happen.

People will feel their minds failing because they could not control their addiction, playing chess for hours on end, day in and out, instead of allowing the mind to rest when it most needed it.

Why do people become addicted to chess?

The reason behind becoming addicted to chess is the same as any other addiction, whether winning or losing the game. Playing the game gives an intense amount of endorphin release, when completing a game this causes the mind to instantly relax and make you feel better. This feeling of elation, comfort, triumph, and more is what anyone seeks when becoming addicted to almost any substance on earth.

It is for this reason that people do not become addicted to a normal chess game, which can last several hours if there is no time limit. People that are truly addicted to the game of chess will never play long games, preferring to play blitz games that at maximum last 10 minutes.

This is a shift thanks to online chess that has been around since around 2000, in 1859 as we have seen, chess as a whole, and the emergence of the chess club was enough.

More people are becoming addicted to online games of chess than ever before, these online platforms offer games that can be as short as one minute. When you are addicted this is not only a quick and easy way to get a ‘fix’ it is effective in providing a quick release of pleasure.

However, these quick releases and movement of pieces are not enough to provide long-term satisfaction, which leads to more games being played. Yet, each time you are hit with endorphins the more resistant the mind becomes for a short period. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, or

My Favorite Stuff

Here are a few things I personally recommend as great products from chess sets, boards, tables, clocks, and courses. I have purchased and owned each and every one of these items, not all from Amazon I might add, but for convenience, If they appear there, I include them for ease of purchase.

Chess Set

This is a superb Wegiel Handmade European Ambassador Chess Set which is stored inside the board itself. Super high quality, it looks fantastic too

  • Wooden 21 Inch Beech & Birch Board With Felt Base
  • Carved Hornbeam & Sycamore Wood Chess Pieces
  • Compartment Inside The Board To Store Each Piece

Learn Chess

If you are looking to improve your chess game this is a superb and inexpensive chess course currently on offer, that will improve your chess using a whole host of tools to improve your game within 21 days. But it goes far beyond that

  • Openings
  • Positional Play
  • End Games

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Alternatively, you can sign up for a Masterclass with Gary Kasparov for just $16 per month. And get access to all other masterclass courses at the same time, from Movie Making, Music recording, Cooking, and Health & Wellbeing.

What happens if you play chess every day?

Playing chess every day is extremely healthy for your mind and will usually relax you beyond belief, however, it is when you play for several hours each day for weeks on end, that it becomes bad. This can out an extreme mental load on your brain and can cause permanent long-term damage that should be avoided. Usually, even at top schools around the world, you will find that not every day is spent playing chess, with a significant amount only meeting two or three times a week to practice.

Many times, a chess coach will encourage the student to only play chess as they feel the need, with grandmasters being the ones that would play the game a bit more constantly. However, you may find that those with chess careers and especially grandmasters around the world, do not play chess in their free time, instead finding other activities outside of chess to relax and spend spare time.

The importance of not constantly playing the game has become greater and greater as people have learned about all the negative effects that playing constantly will have on you.

Chess as Therapy for Addiction

And in complete contrast to what we have been speaking about, chess can be used as therapy for recovery from other addictions. is this wise given what we know about chess addictions now?

I guess we are all responsible for our own actions and whilst some people certainly do have more addictive natures than others, we have to be mindful that too much of a good thing on the chessboard is not always a good thing.


A chess addiction is not as healthy as you might think and have a good relationship with the game is just as important as having a good relationship with chocolates. Playing the game right means that you are controlling when and how you are playing, ensuring that you are not playing it for so long that you are overwhelmed.

Getting to the very top and becoming a champion in the chess community as a genius, whether as an addict or not, has produced some strange behavior at times. look at these 16 chess champions, their outside practices and probable living, or otherwise influence on the Queens Gambit storyline.

Look after your mind, body and soul, avoid alcohol and drugs and you’ll have a great chance of growing your chess knowledge, playing your strategy, and enjoying all of the pleasures of chess without the threat of addiction and making the mistake many others that have gone before have made.

Having fun while playing chess should always be the top priority for you while winning is great, and losing sucks, you should be addicted to having fun, not just one game!

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