chapter  10
9 Pages

Costs of Playing Chess

ByFernand Gobet

This chapter addresses the non-psychiatric problems and psychiatric problems, with a focus on professional players. A first obvious cost, which will actually be exacted for any activity in which one wants to excel, is the huge investment of time that is required. Although rich in excitement, competitive arousal and fun, a professional chess player's life is also very stressful. The 2011 documentary Bobby Fischer against the World played with the themes of chess, madness and genius. Reuben Fine takes Paul Charles Morphy's refusal to consider chess as a profession as an impossibility to accept reality and his extreme confidence in his chess abilities as a sign of exhibitionism. According to Fine, the idiosyncrasies support the hypothesis that Morphy suffered from paranoia. In general, when considering the leading grandmasters – say the top 100 players – there is little, if any, sign of psychiatric illness.