Chess not a Sport

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Neil Graham
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Chess not a Sport

Post by Neil Graham » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:56 pm

The German Chess Federation has lost funding of 130,000 Euros per annum after the Ministry of the Interior ruled "because of lack of intrinsic motor performance" it wasn't a sport.

Read all about it here :- http://www.schachbund.de/foerderung-des ... ports.html

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:28 am

Neil Graham wrote:The German Chess Federation has lost funding of 130,000 Euros per annum after the Ministry of the Interior ruled "because of lack of intrinsic motor performance" it wasn't a sport.
They are falling in line with the Council of Europe definition

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j& ... 7519,d.ZWU

Basically a "sport" involves physical activity (going beyond moving chess pieces), but doesn't require organised competitions. So rambling in the UK at least qualifies as a "sport".

Ironically it was the German Federation who pushed FIDE in the direction of declaring chess a sport. Bans on smoking at the board, for example, were required, initially at least, because of sporting status.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:32 am

Roger >Bans on smoking at the board, for example, were required, initially at least, because of sporting status.<

When I wrote the anti-smoking regulation in the FIDE Rating Regulations in 1984 it had nothing whatsoever to do with chess as a sport. It went through without any problems whatsoever. Campo was even more anti-smoking than me.

I am very surprised at the German decision. Of course you can define 'sport' in different ways. The Oxford English dictionary has several definitions, about half of which include chess as a sport.
The SportEngland definition seems to me to be, 'A sport is recognised as such if it is recognised by SportEngland'. The 1938 act creating the Sports Council had the objective of preparing people physically for the coming war. Thus it made perfect sense for a sport to require physical dexterity and activity. Only when Tony Banks was Sports Minister was there any political will to change this.

Chess is a 'mind sport' and nobody can quarrel with that. Poker would never be recognised by officials in Britain as a sport because of the gambling nature. The English Bridge Union concerns itself only with duplicate bridge because they have convinced the government that it is not a game of chance. Rubber bridge is more like poker and thus a gambling game. It matters for the EBU because they do not need a gaming license and are not subject to stringent gaming regulations.

The prize in England is entry fees not being subject to VAT. This would only affect the ECF as no other body has a high enough turnover. It is ridiculous that a member of the ECF has to pay VAT, but a member of a golf club doesn't. But golf had to fight for that in the EU Courts. It is unlikely that chess, if it was recognised by SportEngland, would get financial support at this time.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:04 am

Thanks Stewart for an authoritative post on this.

Would you be able to add further information about what the ECF might have to sign up to and be bound by if it were accepted into SportEngland. For example, there is this suggestion about NEDs. Would a non playing NED be compulsory?
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Stewart Reuben
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:35 am

I cannot get exercised by the requirements of SportEngland for chess to be recognised as a sport. I started on that saga in about 1981. I would be very surprised if it happens in my lifetime. People so often seem to think ridiculous rules are immutable. They aren't, but sometimes one has to burrow from within.
More realistic would be the resumption of the government grant which used to come from the DCMS. We lost that due to the recession. Dominic Lawson and Malolm Pein might be good people to work on a return of that at an opportune moment.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:40 am

Michael Farthing wrote: For example, there is this suggestion about NEDs. Would a non playing NED be compulsory?
You don't have to go as far as Sport England. The voluntary code of the Sport and Recreation Alliance also appears to have this. There's a potential conflict with Company Law as the ECF voting membership could reject any non-playing ED or even the notion of a protected position which barred chess players from standing.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:53 am

Roger >The voluntary code of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.<
But that is voluntary and the ECF could seek to have it changed. What counts as being a chessplayer? It is complete nonsense in terms of our particular discipline. The SRA is a relatively new organisation. It came from the Central Council for Physical Recreation. The BCF and WCU were members in good standing of that body. They recognised we had common interests.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:11 pm

"Bans on smoking at the board, for example, were required, initially at least, because of sporting status."

I seem to remember watching golf on TV and seeing some professionals carefully put their cigarette on the ground before playing their shot, and then picking up the cigarette and resume smoking it.

"The SportEngland definition seems to me to be, 'A sport is recognised as such if it is recognised by SportEngland'."

This seems an admirably clear statement.

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:37 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:I am very surprised at the German decision.
I suspect it has more to do with the status of the German economy and their public spending budget than with a principled discussion about the definition of sport.

Lewis Martin
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Lewis Martin » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:53 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote: I seem to remember watching golf on TV and seeing some professionals carefully put their cigarette on the ground before playing their shot, and then picking up the cigarette and resume smoking it.
I certainly remember Miguel Angel Jimenez smoking his cigars. Though he just leaves it in his mouth, as he plays the shot.

How long ago was that?! Times have changed of course. Darren Clarke was partial to it too, though I don't remember seeing him smoke as he is playing golf at the same time.

Neil Graham
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Re: Chess not a Sport

Post by Neil Graham » Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:47 pm


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