The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Chess is a game of luck

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/13/2015 Category: Games
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 996 times Debate No: 73370
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)




I agree with the statement "chess is a game of luck" and will give reasons why I think this, while Con will argue why chess is a game of skill


Game of skill: A game where the outcome is determined mainly by mental or physical skill, rather than by chance.

Game of luck: Games of chance may have some skill element to it, however, chance plays a greater role in determining the outcome than skill.

Good luck


As a chess player, i accept the debate, and i shall allow pro to go first.
Good Luck.
Debate Round No. 1


A good move by Con.


First let me explain what made me begin thinking that Chess is a game of luck. When I used to play Tron Evolution (xbox 360 game) I found that once I became familiar with the game having made ~10,000 virtual kills (the point where the game began to get boring) I could easily beat newbies. However what really surprised me was that I was just as good as Dark Angel - a player who had ~2 million virtual kills. He had way more losses than me too. Basically he was 200 times more experienced, yet I was able to beat him half of the time!

This of course can be explained by "an ability curve" where it takes a short amount of time to improve at first but later on it gets harder and harder to get just a bit better. It's why if I were to play against a professional chess player right now I'd more than likely lose 99.99% of the time.

Skill is no doubt involved in Chess. However it is possible to read about Chess i.e. become familiar with the game before playing, this can allow your level of skill to be similar to the best human players making it very difficult to distinguish who the better player is. Anyone serious about a game will do their homework.

Human factor

In darts (a game of skill), two players can seem identical for the most part, the match is played over a fixed number of games known as legs so the winner of the "whole game" can be determined through skill. Although Chess and darts are both turn based games, Chess is more like Tron because every decision made is based entirely upon someone else's. Humans are well known to be unpredictable. Con may argue that in this case players require more skill when if anything players require more luck.

If you are competing in a championship and win more games than other players you may conclude you are more skilled, but if you add new players to the arena who have studied moves you haven't but which the others have you may no longer be the champion, even if you have more overall knowledge and deserve to win. Who you play is important.


Many end game scenarios (involving 7 pieces or less left) have been believed by expert chess players to be unwinnable and players normally agree the match is tied, but a computer might prove that checkmate can be forced in perhaps as many as 500 moves. Should a computer tell you when you have won before you know? Or should players continue playing until the other person is exhausted?

I'm not sure exactly what rule applies with ties. There doesn't seem to be a fair rule though for this situation, if both players must agree to tie it means a person who wants to win by exhausting the other can. Is that fair? They would still win by having a greater concentration and focus i.e. mental ability, or do you think a wider range of metal ability should be tested? A game of pure skill requires fair rules.

Final argument

Chess gives players an illusion of control despite there being complex rules; a player who takes many pieces may inadvertently give their opponent an unforeseeable advantage.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to your arguement


A solid opening from by the Affirmation

First i would like to define a few terms in order to clarify a few things.

skill - the ability to do something that comes from training, experience, or practice
luck - the things that happen to a person because of chance : the accidental way things happen without being planned
chance - the possibility that something will happen
probability - a measure of how often a particular event will happen if something (such as tossing a coin) is done repeatedly

Now, if we are to use these definitions we can understand that chess is in fact a game of skill. If chess were in fact a game of luck, there would be a defined ratio of win to loss of exactly one - half. Now, as we have people who we classify as 'masters', these are people who are statically impossible in a game that centered on nothing but luck. As I believe the the Pro would like to counter this point, i shall halt my refutation until the affirmation has a chance. i also would like to request the Affirmation to explain this statement from their argument, "Skill is no doubt involved in Chess".

Thank you, and good luck pro!

Debate Round No. 2


We are debating whether Chess is a game of skill or a game of luck. I'm not sure why you have made additional definitions when I have made perfectly good definitions, but to remind voters, a game of luck is a game which may have SOME SKILL ELEMENT to it, however, CHANCE plays a GREATER role in determining the OUTCOME than skill.

If chess were a game of luck it would not necessarily be like a game of snakes and ladders or any similar game where an equal ratio of win to loss can occur. In Chess the probability of winning cannot be measured because the outcome is not determined by luck alone. A person's skill can affect the outcome, this is why I have said "skill is no doubt involved in chess". Every time I say chess is a game of luck people automatically assume I think it's a game of pure luck, when this is not the case. Luck just plays a greater role in determining the outcome!

Since I have had nothing to debate so far, I will just try to cover any holes in my debate

Chess is not simply an idle amusement, it does teach people to be cautious (not make moves too quickly), teaches foresight (consider consequences), and can help people to see how pieces can work together etc. The game can help develop mental ability. The extent to which you can use it to change an outcome in chess however is limited.

In case Con mentions Martial Arts, or any similar interactive sport where more skill than luck is required, I will say that Chess is completely different to those because everyone who plays chess should read about the game to be somewhat equally familiar before playing. Nobody can expect to perfect their skill in karate by reading books about it, but reading books about chess can make you a good chess player, and will allow the forces of luck to play a greater role in determine the outcome.

Chess Masters follow chess theory in the opening stage, and wild positions can result causing them to need to make positional considerations above other considerations. They are free from errors (on their own) only in the middle game where they will be in a position they have not freely chosen and may be in a situation where tactical (when a piece threatens one of yours) tactics take precedence over strategy. Players can't wisely ignore the tactical side and carry on with their strategy, they will choose to lose mobility to save pieces which can win or cost them the game. Often, masters will have a "feeling" about a position and follow this. When chances remain equal, the game often ends in a draw [1]. I've already said how chance enters Chess in ties and how this affects the outcome.




Ah, now i understand where your arguments come from. To the inexperienced chess player, much of the game is considered luck, and it is based on the phenomenon known as hope chess. This is where the players hope for their opponents to mess up so they may win by sheer luck.

Now on the the points made by the affirmation, " Often, masters will have a "feeling" about a position and follow this. " This is absolutely correct. and this is known as intuition, which is developed by skill, that is, when masters play for such a long time, they tend to find and use patterns, and when they go with a gut feeling, that is merely because they encountered a similar scenario previously and they therefore knew how to deal with it.

If it helps think of a game of chess like a multiple choice math test with 20 questions. While you may be lucky with a guess, it is in no way a substitute for skill and understanding.

I would like to thank the affirmation for providing such strong arguments, and I would also like to urge the Voters to vote in favor of whichever side they felt performed better. Thank you!
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
>Reported vote: Lmoney // Moderator action: Removed<

Voted for Con (choose winner). Reasons for voting decision: Chess is a skill game

[*Reason for removal*] This merely states the judge's own personal view, without citing arguments made in the debate and explaining why they were more persuasive than Pro's arguments.
Posted by mostlogical 3 years ago

I get it now
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 3 years ago

its interesting that you did a rematch of this debate, do you still think chess is a game of luck after this match?

btw if you want the person to know you responded to them, do @theirname
Posted by mostlogical 3 years ago
I've not actually played any of those games but I've played board games like Hero Quest and Frustration where dice and strategy are used so I think I know what you are saying. Correct me if I'm wrong but think you're basically saying that if a game is 60% luck and 40% skill then it's a game of luck.

It's easy to say Chess involves no, or almost no luck at all because we only need to watch a master play against an amateur to realize the importance of skill in winning, and may from this conclude that skill always determines the outcome to a greater extent. Though player's pieces are the same, and they can play an equal number of times as white or black it doesn't necessarily mean it is a perfectly fair game. In a fair game even if someone is slightly more skilful they will still win when enough games are played. There is no fair rule that can be applied for ties, and think about how many times this occurs.

When two players are pretty evenly matched through reading books, the slightest amount of luck can make a bigger difference than skill. The peak of human understanding of the game is unclear. There will be a point where it might be beneficial to follow your feelings than to follow what you have read. How can anyone know which to follow? Masters can get things wrong, they don't know everything. Guessing doesn't sound like a skill to me, but it will ultimately decide who wins or loses.
Posted by Cryptidhunter13 3 years ago
See, luck really can't have a greater role in chess due to the fact that there are no non-player controlled elements of chess. The only 'luck' that could ever be involved is if you are playing an opponent chose by some kind of random lottery. An example of a luck-based game that has some strategy elements are Tabletop-RPG's like World of Darkness, Shadowrun, or Dungeons & Dragons/Pathfinder.

The player's character has bonuses to certain attributes/skills, and these numbers are combined as needed to determine a dice pool (or in D&D/PF's case a bonus) to the roll. There's still a randomized roll involved, and you can get to a point where it's incredibly likely to fail... but there's usually still some chance for failure. Even if your character is a 10-year veteran in the Neverwinter Army, sometimes he fails to hit the goblin. But by making choices in combat to do things your character is more likely to succeed in, you can strategically angle yourself towards victory.

Chess, on the other hand, has no such dice. There is no mechanical ability for chance/randomness, and as such it cannot be a game of chance.
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