The Instigator
sherlockmethod
Pro (for)
Losing
28 Points
The Contender
Ore_Ele
Con (against)
Winning
34 Points

Chess, with additional tournament rules, should be an Olympic sport.

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Started: 2/18/2010 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,924 times Debate No: 11221
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
Votes (16)

 

sherlockmethod

Pro

The game of chess, with a few additional tournament rules, should be an Olympic sport.

Introduction:
Chess is unlike many games played. The element of chance does not exist. No dice rolls, no hidden cards, just the pieces in the same starting position every time. Any lost position is the fault of the player, not a lucky dice roll, or malfunctioning equipment. In addition, no absolute win has been found. The starting player does not have a set of moves that guarantee victory.

Concessions:
1. I fully agree the Olympic committee has rejected "mind games" from contention for Olympic sports. They are mistaken, but I know this has come up in the past. http://www.time.com...

2. I am fully aware that a Chess Olympiad takes place outside of the official Olympic Games. This resolution deals with the official Olympics Games, not the separate Olympiad.

Additional Rules:
1.Once the first piece is moved, neither player may leave the board except for two 15 minute time outs. Leaving your area is a forfeit.
2.The lighting, boards, pieces, clocks must be identical and no player input will be accepted concerning these areas.
3.Players must be able to move their own pieces without the aide of others or mechanical devices.
4.Computer programs cannot compete.
5.No eating, smoking, or drinking at the board. All outside activities must occur in the 15 minute break periods.
6.The time limit will be universal (40 moves in 100 minutes, 20 moves in 50 minutes, 10 minutes for the remainder of the game with an increment of 30 seconds.)
7.Players must play two games in one day. One as black and one a white in a round robin style tournament. Each player plays as white and black against each opponent and draws as black will be awarded more points in the case of a tie.
8.Other rules will be governed by the Olympic Committee, but for this debate the FIDE rules, except when different from the above rules, will be used. http://www.fide.com...

Sport:
a. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
b. A particular form of this activity.
2. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
3. An active pastime; recreation.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Argument:
Chess is governed by a set of rules or customs and is often engaged in competitively. With the additional rules provided, chess can fall within a physical activity. Endurance is a physical trait. Currently, Grand Master games can be postponed and sealed moves kept so players can leave the board and sleep, eat, etc. Under the rules I listed such activities at the board would be eliminated. Players would have to train to maintain mental awareness with physical stamina while at the board and must be able to write down their moves and move their own pieces.

The coordination between thinking about a move and moving the correct piece legally after several hours of play will require endurance and stamina. Chess, under these rules, is a sport.

Differentiating other games:

Bridge – This game has also made a bid for inclusion, but chance plays a role as cards are hidden and shuffled. Chess has no element of chance.

Checkers – This game has been solved. http://spectrum.ieee.org...
Chess, despite countless computer programs has not been solved and humans can beat computers.

Why the Olympics:
The Olympics could help settle controversies surrounding multiple chess champions from competing organizations and the political pull of the Olympics could bring chess to countries that refuse to fund the sport. Also, the level of publicity concerning the Olympics would help bring recognition to the champions of this ancient sport. The mind game Olympics, although a great concept, cannot boast the history and prestige of the Official Olympic Games. Current trends make getting Grand Masters to compete can be washed away with a standardized set of rules in one of the biggest sports extravaganza in the world.

Chess should be an Olympic sport.
Ore_Ele

Con

I thank Sherlock for starting this debate and look forward to giving it my all. I would like to make the assumption that we are taking about making chess an Olympic event in the near future (like for the 2012, 2014, or 2016 games). And so my argument will not be that Chess should never ever ever be an Olympic event, but that chess as it is now should not be part of the current Olympic environment.

What should and should not be an Olympic sport? That is a question that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) must ask itself every year. They also have the task of saying which sports make the cut as "Olympic Sports." [1] Because there are so many sports around the world, the Olympics cannot logistically do them all. So it has to "pick and choose" the ones that will be represented. The Olympic Games do not have a strict set of guidelines (like only the 40 most popular sports in the world, or if the sport has X people), but rather each sport is chosen on case by case basis. This gives the committee the flexibility to add and remove events without having to change their rules. The down side to this is that it means that many decisions may not make total sense.

We can see from my opponent's link [2], that the committee does say yes to some and no to others that seem like they are similar sports. So it is far to say that the IOC does not hold "precedence" as justification for any sport (the "you let them in, so you should let me in" argument). The IOC has also stated that "mind games" are not for the Olympics.

This basically means that the IOC will not accept anything that is not a physical activity. Even though Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said that curling is chess on ice, however curling does require a physical skill to do (precision and accuracy).

My opponent does list a set of rules which makes the game of chess more physically demanding, however those rules don't actually make the game of chess require physical exertion or skill as the ability to sit through a game of chess is hardly a physical task. And adding physical tasks to chess, just to try to get it in, makes the "physical version of chess" a different game then the "standard version" (which I will address as P-chess and S-chess) and not popular enough to qualify, since all the popularity is still with P-chess and will be for a long time.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.time.com...
Debate Round No. 1
sherlockmethod

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response. After reviewing the contentions, I still support the resolution. My opponent makes the assumption that we are discussing chess as an Olympic sport in the near future and this assumption is correct. I would advocate the sport for the next, or the very latest, two summer Olympics in the future 2012, 2016.

Physical Chess vs. Standard Chess
My opponent makes a solid argument and one that bears heavily on my Olympic proposal. Am I ruining the game just to get into the Olympics? If I submitted boxing chess then he would be correct, but I am not adding new elements, only exaggerating ones already present and codifying them in the Olympic rules. Currently, Chess tournaments can be grueling for a competitor, but the physical aspect leaves us at the highest level of competition. Top Grand Masters have become the prima donnas of the chess world. Bobby Fischer was one of the worst. Special lighting, time tables, certain types of mineral water, pieces, etc. The physical aspect is lost when all the comforts a player needs are provided.

Lower levels of play, such as local and state tournaments, do not succumb to the needs of all involved. The tournaments are usually over shorter time spans so they require one to be physically ready. In addition, physical requirements have hurt prior chess masters. Mikhail Tal was such a person. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Many at the time felt if Tal would have taken better care of his physical body he would have been unstoppable. I agree. Speaking of Tal, he was known for a stare that shook his opponents (so was Lasker). Pal Benko once wore sunglasses to avoid his stare. The physical presence was there and was an advantage. The physical elements are there and under these rules, it will play a factor. The Olympic rules I propose bring the physical element back to the highest levels of play. The goal of the sport is still the same – checkmate. If my opponent can show that my new rules bastardize the sport, then I will respectfully concede.

I see no need to call this physical chess, just Olympic chess. Much like we have Olympic boxing and professional boxing – they are not the same and yet both maintain the overall aspects of the sport. Olympic chess will be no different.

The IOC
My opponent is correct that the IOC does have to cap the number of sports and cannot allow all of them in, but their decisions are not arbitrary. They have a mission statement that guides them, and is listed on the wiki my opponent linked. http://en.wikipedia.org...
I submit that due to its violence, MMA would not make it as an Olympic sport although it is arguably one of the most physical sports in the world. Also, golf does not make it but mainly because of the burden building an 18 hole course. Countries are having trouble accommodating more and more. How does chess fare here? Very well, I think. The tournament could be held in a ball room or could be played in many local arenas; I see no need to build a stadium to house the event. Civic centers will do just fine and can have ample room for geeks like me to watch and listen to the commentators argue over the validity of Evan's Gambit. This sport is easy to accommodate.
How well does supporting chess as an Olympic sport fare with the IOC's mission (edited some out due to space, and my opponent need not refute all. Picking three or so will be fine if he wishes to rebut them):

1.Encourage and support the promotion of ethics in sport as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned;

Check. No more penny ante nonsense from the grandmasters, all rules stay the same for all players.

2.Encourage and support the organization, development and coordination of sport and sports competitions;

Check. The Olympic committee could setup the outlines for Olympic chess and such tournaments could be held worldwide with the new rules.

3.Cooperate with the competent public or private organizations and authorities in the endeavor to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace;

Olympic chess is a mixture of mental strength, physical stamina, and no one is killed in the process. No submission holds, or bloody faces.

4.Take action in order to strengthen the unity and to protect the independence of the Olympic Movement;

No problems here and chess needs such a movement as politics have taken over the highest levels.

5.Act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement;

With Olympic chess, all countries can be represented, no problems here.

6.Encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women;

I see no need to separate men/women in Olympic chess as the physical aspects can be outweighed with mental fortitude. Men and women could play together and each would bring different mental/physical traits to the game.
7.Lead the fight against doping in sport;

The article listed in Time shows a complete agreement from chess organizers to submit to drug testing for players.
8.Encourage and support measures protecting the health of athletes;

Athletes will be given breaks, but part of the competition will be physical stamina. The level needed would be much lower than other sports so I see no issues here.

9.Oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes;
10.Encourage and support the efforts of sports organizations and public authorities to provide for the social and professional future of athletes;
11.Encourage and support the development of sport for all;

9,10,11: Chess is in bad need for all three and the IOC could help provide the tools. Chess is an ancient sport and one that is still viable today. The IOC could bring it back to its prior standing and encourage new players world wide. Basketball is a great example.

12.Encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education;

I can think of no sport that would be better suited to blend culture and education. Chess is life for some and the skills needed translate well in the academic world and can help bridge gaps between cultures. All one needs is a board and the pieces to try. Chess speaks across language barriers and its beauty is seen by all that understand the game.
For the above mentioned reasons, and in light of my learned opponent's contentions, chess should be chosen as an Olympic sport by the IOC. This is the one "mind game" with the applicable physical aspects to represent the prowess of the human mind in connection with physical stamina.

Thank you,
Sherlockmethod.
Ore_Ele

Con

I thank my opponent for his response and will see what I can do against it.

Pro has agreed that we are talking about the possibility of chess in the near future (within the next few Olympics). He has also agreed that any radical changes (such as boxing chess, might be fun) would cause a divide in the sport that would make it entirely different from the original, and so not popular enough to qualify it as an olympic sport.

What the debate really comes down to, is if the current model of chess is 1) physical enough as is to be an olympic sport or 2) can be altered to be physical enough to be an olympic sport without becoming something entirely different (such as boxing chess) to where it loses too many followers to count.

1) Currently, chess (at the common level, not the Grandmaster level with all their rules for them) is no more physical then watching a movie (a few hours of sitting there). While that does take a certain level of stamina, it is certainly not an olympic level of stamina. On that point, one could argue that it does take some physical capabilities to play, it does not take enough physical capabilities to merit a spot in the olympics.

2) I, personally, cannot see any potential changes that could make chess much more physical, to an olympic level, that will not cause it to split from classical chess and form a new branch that does not have the large backing.

"I submit that due to its violence, MMA would not make it as an Olympic sport although it is arguably one of the most physical sports in the world. Also, golf does not make it but mainly because of the burden building an 18 hole course. Countries are having trouble accommodating more and more."

We can see that many sports do not make it to the olympics even though they are very physical indeed, Nascar could be added to that list, or drag racing, even though the precision skill of driving is extremely difficult. But I would like us to remember golf in particular. Golf is another sport that technically meets all the points of the IOC's missions, yet it is not chosen, simply because of its economical and logistical issues. This shows, that by simply meeting the IOC's mission points, is not enough to merit any activity from getting into the olympics. It is completely up to the IOC and their preferences.
Debate Round No. 2
sherlockmethod

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and his arguments. I will conclude in this round and offer no new arguments. Chess does have a physical aspect and I grant that it would be on the low end for Olympic sports, but it is still present. The rules I applied would test competitors in areas of mental fortitude and stamina as the competitors must do more than sit at the board for several hours. The players would have to maintain their chess abilities with the onset of exhaustion bound to occur by playing at the highest levels of competition twice daily. Having been in chess tournaments, I have seen exhaustion destroy players in later rounds.

I have shown chess has a physical aspect and showed how the sport fits with all the criteria set by the OIC mission statement. In addition, the sport is easy to accommodate and is in need of a consistent ruling body so as to help promote chess worldwide in a showcase with other sports.

For the above mentioned reasons, the OIC should adopt the sport of Chess for the 2012 or 2016 Summer Olympics.

Thank you,
Sherlockmethod

P.S. Just for fun, I mentioned the "Game of the Century" when discussing this topic. Here is the game. http://en.wikipedia.org...(chess)
Fischer was a kid when he played this one and from the start he offered material to Byrne. Several sacrificial offers were rejected by the experienced player, but on move 17, Fischer makes an offer to big to refuse, his queen. Byrne takes the queen but Bobby takes us on one of the most memorable mating sequences in chess. The white king is marched down the board to mate while his queen sits by and watches the story unfold. Great game.
Ore_Ele

Con

I must also thank Pro for starting this debate on a unique and thought provoking topic.

While there is a "physical" aspect to chess (even which my opponent agrees "I grant that it would be on the low end for Olympic sports, but it is still present.") there has been nothing shown that chess would need anything more then a basic stamina. That a player with with excellent stamina would have any advantage over a player with decent stamina. The true game lies within the players mental abilities and in all most every match.

While chess is a great game and I am proud to be a co-founder of the chess team at my high school (which became #2 in the state in our 4th year, after I had graduated) and have the utmost respect for it. I must acknowledge that the game is not one for the Olympics, as much Beethoven doesn't belong in the Rock and Roll hall of fame, even though his music was truly great.

P.S. My personal favorite is the Deep Blue matches.
Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sherlockmethod 4 years ago
sherlockmethod
Nice, folks are still voting. This was a fun debate. OreEle put up a fine case.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Nah, it's a game not a sport. Maybe if the pieces weighed a *lot* more ...
Posted by feverish 4 years ago
feverish
Posted by CrappyDebater 4 years ago
CrappyDebater
Forgot to mention, I also think this because White always goes first.
Posted by CrappyDebater 4 years ago
CrappyDebater
@Sherlock -My thoughts are that chess cannot be solved-

I imagine with enough computing power, eventually.... chess will be solved. There is, or seems to be a mathematical end.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
Yeah, chess isn't going to be solved any-time soon. No computer can determine the best possible move in any situation - there are just too many possibilities.
Posted by sherlockmethod 4 years ago
sherlockmethod
kinesis may be right, I don't know. Current home computer chess games can hold their own with Grand Masters. My thoughts are that chess cannot be solved so humans will always have a chance, but his thoughts on this are very valid.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
'First of all, there is no proof to base your claim'

In the 70's, computers could only play at a mediocre level; in the 80's they could go toe-to-toe with international masters; in the 90's they could go toe-to-toe with world champions. Now, they can, and have beat world champions. It's not a stretch of the imagination to claim that computers will convincingly surpass the greatest human players in time - it's a certainty.

'Second of all, if that were true, that computers were "unbeatable", then chess would no longer be a indefinite game, and it is likely this debate wouldn't exist'

What a bizarre line of reasoning. First of all, I said that in the future computers were likely to become unbeatable, not that they were now, and secondly, this debate doesn't concern computer vs human matches, but human-human matches. Checkers tournaments still exist even though the game has been solved by computer programs.

'It's not so much physical as mental. Why NOT chess, then?'

What are you talking about? I never took sides on the debate; I haven't decided who I agree with yet.
Posted by Itsallovernow 4 years ago
Itsallovernow
I certainly hope OreEle does this debate justice. After I reread my comment, I said, "Hey, there is nothing beyond my skill level, as long as I actually WORK for it for once."

All that aside, I was going to put my best in this, and I hope OreEle does.
Posted by Itsallovernow 4 years ago
Itsallovernow
First thing's first, this is a wonderfully meticulous debate. If I were more skilled, or perhaps not in agreement with you, I would accept this. In many of my debates, I do not research. Therefore, I am normally Con, and quite well at it.

Kenisis:

First of all, there is no proof to base your claim. Second of all, if that were true, that computers were "unbeatable", then chess would no longer be a indefinite game, and it is likely this debate wouldn't exist. Reguardless, chess is a game of skill, just like the other sports in the Olympics (Winter). For example, the game Curling in the Winter Olympics. It's not so much physical as mental. Why NOT chess, then?
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