Alberto Chueca, FIDE Trainer & International Master 
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The meaning of Chess Personality (you probably use the term wrong)

Chess players have interesting characteristics, people who play chess develop skills that improve critical thinking. The “chess personality” for chess beginners is what some people call those people that love chess, just as you do.

I’m not trying to say chess players have a deeper or better understanding than anyone. It is true that probably they have some useful techniques to analyze and probably solve problems.

But don’t get me wrong, chess actively trains skills that other sciences do, like mathematics, for example.

“hey, that guy likes chess… He must be a genius, right?” of course that’s not a reason. As a chess coach, I’ve seen many parents boasting about their kids getting 5 extra ELO points in their ratings.

Quick disclaimer: Playing chess does not make you more intelligent, nor wiser, this is why I think the “chess personality” term is being used wrongly.

Playing chess can probably give you more awareness, and help you with common sense. However, some people think that they were enlightened just because they learn how to checkmate.

Nevertheless, It is true that many of the great chess players in history sure had an interesting chess personality. Players like Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Tal, really were some of those people that would be right to call mad scientists.

Let’s explain what exactly happens in your brain when you play chess and what the term “chess personality” really means (in my opinion).

The profile of the chess player

chess personality chessboard

For the nature of the chess game, chess players usually tend to have a certain behavior, in some cases, it can even affect their personality. Of course, personality is something that has to go beyond just a game, but it can be part of it.

Chess players tend to want to calculate everything, usually are very aware of things, and remember tasks easily. Chess is a game that makes you improve in all these areas because actively trains the mind to avoid these problems.

Even some of the called “nerds” are just people that are always trying to imagine all the possibilities in every action they take. Overthinking can be an issue that you might want to solve, but having a little bit of awareness is definitely healthy.

If you train at a good level, you will know that there are very interesting aspects in chess apart from chess knowledge. Chess is also a psychological game, we can see this at the highest level of play.

An interesting example of this is Anatoly Karpov’s games, in which he would refuse to take any material, but restrain his opponent and make him suffer.

This is, in my opinion, how the personality and attitude of a person affect his chess.

The Chess personalities of great chess players

There have been many chess champions and masters with interesting histories to tell. Researching about the life of the masters that made the history of chess is super exciting!

Masters like the previously mentioned Karpov, Bobby Fischer, Max Euwe, Jose Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, and many others, would be exciting to meet. Unfortunately, they are not here anymore, but they left a path for us to follow and take a look at their incredible stories.

bobby fischer and max euwe
Bobby Fischer and Max Euwe

For example, Bobby Fischer was the world chess champion in 1972, the great talent and skills of this player were not to be compared by the time. He abandoned high-school at the age of 16 to fully dedicate himself to chess, and his mother abandoned him when he was 17 years old.

Sure, a little sad and interesting origin for a world champion. About his “chess personality” he was always referred to as asocial and a little narcissist yet very intelligent.

But this is not the case for every chess world champion in the world, let’s take a look at Max Euwe now.

Max Euwe was a Dutch mathematics teacher in different universities, and chess was not his main occupation. He was a very studied and prepared man who loved maths, chess, and computer programming.

He did very interesting studies about different matters, he even published deep research analyzing chess from the math’s point of view. But, actually, he was known as a charismatic and relaxed guy who had organized priorities in his life.

There is not a definitive chess personality for any player, chess champions are also humans, and any human can be a chess player or not.

Myths about the “chess personality”

Some people can probably think that chess players are like machines that play chess sixteen hours a day. Some can argue that all chess players are arrogant and selfish people that think they are superior.

Actually, this could be the case of some chess players, in that case, they would definitely have a chess personality (more like a chess problem). But definitely, not everyone, professional or amateurs chess players are just like you.

Normal people with normal lives just play chess often.

It is very interesting to see the different chess personalities of great players.

What is my chess personality?

chess personality king

Now we have clarified what the chess personality is not, let’s look at what people think about when they hear the term.

The chess personality is something that is much related to the way the person plays his chess. So I would not call it “chess personality” because what the people mean by saying this already had a name and is “chess playstyle”

Every player has a chess playstyle and it is very interesting to analyze how different players with different playstyles approach chess, how they gain the advantage, and how they exploit it.

You can take an online test and find out what your chess playstyle is, click here to take the test right now.

But once again, the correct name for this is chess playstyle, not personality, just keep that in mind.

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