Chess players do certain things and attract curiosity because it’s an activity that many have some interest in but don’t always know a lot about.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common questions about chess players.
Why Do Chess Players…?
Why Do Chess Players Resign?
Chess players resign when a game is lost.
At that point, it’s basically a waste of time to keep going, knowing the result is inevitable. Very good chess players think several moves ahead.
Even when it’s not obvious to the untrained eye why a position is lost (or even who is winning or losing), grandmasters can tell where something is going before it happens.
At lower levels, resigning is less common because the players are less skilled and an inaccurate move can turn a lost position into one that has much less certitude.
Why Do Chess Players Study Endgames?
Endgames are critical to chess.
The endgame is the last stage of the game when there are only a few pieces left on the board.
Good players spend a lot of time studying endgames because they know that’s where most games are actually decided.
Even if you’re up a queen or rook (or two!), if you don’t know how to properly use your material advantage, you can still lose to someone who knows what they’re doing in the endgame.
Why Do Chess Players Take So Long to Make Their Moves?
In grandmaster-level chess, each player has an allotted amount of time for the entire game.
That time is usually two hours for the first 40 moves in classical chess, but it can be less in some faster-paced formats, such as rapid, blitz, and bullet.
The players have a chess clock that keeps track of their time. Each time a player makes a move, they push a button on the clock, which starts their opponent’s clock.
The game is over when one player runs out of time.
Players take their time because they want to make sure they’re making the best possible move.
At lower levels, where players aren’t as experienced, moves can take less time since there isn’t as much pressure to make the absolute best choice.
Why Do Chess Players Wear Headphones?
Wearing headphones is a personal preference for many chess players when they are allowed.
Some people need complete silence to concentrate, while others prefer to have background noise.
Some chess players also like to listen to music while they play, which can help them focus.
At tournament venues, there are often rules against wearing headphones because it can be considered disruptive or give players an unfair advantage by blocking out external noise.
Why Do Chess Players Play in Tournaments?
Tournaments are a great way for chess players of all levels to test their skills and improve.
Playing in tournaments can also be a lot of fun, especially if you’re playing with friends or fellow club members.
Many chess tournaments are organized by rating, so players of similar skill levels are matched up against each other.
This helps to make the games more fair and interesting, since players are more evenly matched.
Tournaments can also be a good way to meet new people and make friends who share your interests.
Why Do Chess Players Study Openings?
Openings are the first phase of the game where players develop their pieces and establish a plan for the rest of the game.
Players spend a lot of time studying openings because they want to find ways to get an advantage over their opponents from the start.
There are literally thousands of different chess openings, so it’s impossible to know them all.
Instead, players try to learn as many as they can and memorize the most common ones.
That way, they can be prepared for whatever their opponents might play.
How To Learn & Study Chess Openings
Why Do Chess Players Look at the Ceiling?
Some chess players look at the ceiling as a way to think.
When you’re trying to solve a problem, it can help to look up and think about something else for a few minutes.
This can give your brain a break and allow you to come back to the problem with fresh eyes.
It’s also possible that some players just find it more comfortable to look at the ceiling than at the board.
Why Do Chess Players Write Down Their Moves?
Chess players write down their moves as a way to track the game and abide by FIDE competition rules, in particular Article 8.1.
In certain formats and during an informal game of chess it may not require a scoresheet of moves, it’s a requirement for them to write down the moves in their competitions.
Why Do Chess Players Put the Kings in the Middle?
Castling is mostly considered a prudent defensive measure toward the beginning or early midle game.
However, as a game progresses, a king can become a key offensive and defensive piece and will have interest in going up the board and potentially more toward the middle.
Some players may choose to keep their king in the middle during the entire game.
It all depends on the position.
Why Do Chess Players Drink Coffee?
Coffee is a popular drink for chess players because it can help to improve focus and concentration.
It’s also a good way to stay awake during long games or tournaments.
Some chess players even like to add a little bit of caffeine to their pre-game routine to help them get into the zone.
Of course, not everyone likes coffee, so some players prefer other drinks like tea or soda.
Why Do Chess Players Go Crazy?
This is often attributed to American chess grandmaster and former World Champion Bobby Fischer, who had some strange views toward the end of his life.
But this has more to do with Fischer himself and his popularity and public interest and less to do with chess players themselves.
In general, chess players are no more likely to go crazy than anyone else.
Why Did the World’s Best Chess Player Go Insane?
Why Do Chess Players Use a Timer?
Games are timed to ensure that they are completed after a certain amount of time.
This helps to keep players from stalling and makes sure that everyone has a fair chance to finish the game.
Timers are also used in chess tournaments to make sure that rounds are completed on schedule.
Why Do Chess Players Wear Suits?
Some chess players like to dress up for tournaments because it makes them feel more professional.
Others believe that it gives them an advantage over their opponents by making them look more confident and competent.
Still, others just think it looks nice.
Many also wear clothing that has sponsors listed on their jacket or shirt. This helps them support themselves so they can play chess for a living.
Whatever the reason, you’ll often see chess players wearing suits at big tournaments.
Why Do Chess Players Lose Weight?
Chess can be stressful and the brain uses a lot of energy.
Because chess games can last so long and/or because tournament schedules can be so busy, chess players may not take in adequate nutrition, causing them to lose weight.
This is why you’ll often see chess players eating snacks or drinks during their games.
It’s important for chess players to stay hydrated and fueled so they can maintain their focus and energy levels throughout the game.
Why Do Chess Players Burn Calories?
As mentioned before, playing chess is a mentally demanding activity and can be quite stressful.
All of this mental exertion causes the body to burn calories.
In fact, some studies have shown that playing chess can burn almost as many calories as running!
So if you’re looking for a way to burn calories while using your mind, you might want to consider taking up chess.
Why Do Chess Players Get Worse with Age?
It’s not that chess players necessarily get worse with age, it’s just that they tend to peak earlier in their careers.
This is because the game of chess requires a lot of strategic thinking and calculation, which are skills that tend to decline with age.
So while a player may have many years of experience under their belt, their older age may cause them to make more mistakes than younger players.
This is why you’ll often see young chess champions and relatively few older ones.
Moreover, many chess players lose their motivation as they get older.
And while there is a lot more money in chess these days with higher tournament prize funds and streaming opportunities (e.g., see the popularity of Hikaru Nakamura (GMHikaru) on YouTube, GothamChess, and the Botez Sisters), it can be hard for the average International Master (IM) or Grandmaster (GM) to make a lot of money.
While Magnus Carlsen may make millions of dollars per year, most really good chess players will struggle to make money.
The very top of the sport is really where making a good living becomes feasible. Or for online personalities who can successfully monetize their chess passion with web blogs, Twitch streaming, YouTube, chess courses, and so on.
So while there are many talented chess players, many peak at young ages because the financial incentives aren’t there.
Chess players are just like everyone else, but there are some things that make them unique.
From their use of timers to their love of suits, these quirks help to make chess players who they are.
And while some aspects of their lives may seem strange to outsiders, it’s all part of the game.