How do I get rid of achess addiction? Both winning and losing just make me play more, and in the end, after many hours of play, I feel miserable.

  • 10
    The main reason of most addictions is the lack of social interaction. Do you have friends, work, school or anything else to spend your time on? If you are unable to join a chess community in order to gain some social interaction in your life, I recommend starting another hobby that includes going outside and meeting people. That is my experience.
    – Habbo
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 19:25
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    I just add that you should not feel to bad about the addiction per se, because nontrivial games, particularly non-chance, perfect information variants such as Chess, are widely regarded to be intelligence building, with the history of Artificial Intelligence as an algorithmic validation of this idea. Even Confucius felt there way value to these games!, and he is still regarded as one of the great sages.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 19:14
  • Let me just put this literally: play less chess. Eventually, you'll feel that you want to play it more. Worked for me.
    – user11939
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 11:00
  • see a shrink. they can help you solve addiction. Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 0:43
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    @Laska it's promoting behaviour that is illegal on many sites and unsportsmanlike.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 7:34

6 Answers 6


You are probably referring to online chess and I know this problem, because I've suffered from online chess adiction at least a year or so. It helped me to realise that those imaginary rating points online are not worth anything and that playing at fast time controls does not improve your chess (too much bullet might even harm it).

Therefore, I suggest, you approach chess a bit more seriously over the board, so you have successes you can be proud of. This means that you don't need the kick of online chess anymore, or at least that was the case for me.

Try finding something that makes you happy when you do it. For me, it is, at least sometimes, to be productive in any kind of way (choose an area of your liking) or to simply relax or hang out with friends. Generally speaking, playing lots of online chess is one of the LEAST PRODUCTIVE things you can do and nothing that will propel your skill in any area. Hanging out with your friends for instance, is a much better way of spending your time. I mean, I could go on about this, but those are my initial thoughts. If you have any specific questions about how I got rid of my online chess addiction, you may as well shoot me a message.

  • What are the list of things to do to get rid of online chess addiction that is just a click away.
    – Srinivasan
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 19:53
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    There is no golden recipe, but it is a good start to acknowledge what a waste of time it is, already by the first game. Another way is to get rid of your mouse. Then your'e too slow and will be so angry about losing on time too often, that you stop playing. Another way might be to install "cold turkey", a program that blocks certain websites for a predetermined period of time. Also, take some of the advice I posted above. Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 19:58
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    Why do you say that "playing chess online is one of the least productive things"? It can be both fun and instructive if you play the right time controls with what you aim to improve. Chess is a hobby and a passion after all, it's not like OP is smoking crack
    – jgadoury
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 20:08
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    @postnubilaphoebus I'm new to the game, but I seriously wonder about the veracity of your claim. A chess game is merely the sequences of moves by opposing players. Why does "online" remove its value at helping one improve skills? Why must we handle physical pieces? If I play with long time controls online, how it is less experience-building than an OTB game?
    – TomServo
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 23:59
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    @TomServo That is a good question! I would say, it depends. Most online chess revolves around playing Blitz or Bullet games and they often resemble the fast-paced environment that is more akin to gaming (the kind that can be addictive, involves losing streaks and tilting). In Blitz or Bullet you just demonstrate the patterns you already know. Only longer games (rapid or long time controls) require you to challenge your assumptions, find a plan, calculate more and play "deeper" moves overall. In essence, long games teach you how to think properly and for instance avoid rumination. Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 12:21

A suggestion would be to delete your account on the website you are playing. It's hard to click "delete", losing all your statistics and games, but after it's done you might feel like going back to the point you were before would take too much time, so you decide to do something else instead.

I had this issue with a particular video game, I decided to delete my character and never played the game again. I had urges, but I felt like it would take too much time to get back where I was and I didn't want to redo the same things I did before. I mean, you can easily rank up in chess with a new account, but the idea is that you might not want to do it.

  • Good suggestion but -1 because I don't want people do this. Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 9:22
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    @HighlyRadioactive can you expand a bit on this? Why wouldn't you want people to delete their account? Does it have an impact on you?
    – jgadoury
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 20:44
  • For some people it may not work, it will haunt them for an entire life instead. I know this because I once did. Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 0:43

"How do I get rid of chess addiction? Both winning and losing just make me play more, and in the end, after many hours of play, I feel miserable."

You have a very solvable problem. 'many hours of play' is the real culprit.

Limit yourself to a set timeframe. I won't play more than an hour or so in a day, which for me, would be 2 games at a time control of G15 (15 minutes per side for entire game). I find it gives me enough time to play reasonably, and the games are enjoyable.

With the following time controls, in 1 hour you can play:

G3 - 10 games

G5 - 6 games

G10 - 3 games

G15 - 2 games

G30 - 1 game

An important aspect of this is that with G10 and slower, you should always review your games. Spend any additional time after playing on this and learn something.

Chess is to be played and enjoyed.


If you are playing online, one thing you can do is to make a password like "dontplaytoomuch" or something. It sounds silly, but having this sort of password (I mix it up with numbers, for any hackers watching) is a small but nice nudge. There are studies showing these small things can add up, which is fortunate, because so often small things can send us into a time wasting spiral.

Addictive behavior in general is tricky to deal with, and it's important to recognize when you are just playing out of inertia. Often this becomes obvious if you make a really dumb mistake. There's a double benefit to this: you save rating points. Maybe you can even step back and look to improve your game.

But regardless of how your addictive behavior invades your life, there are ways around it. For instance, I caught myself playing FreeCell to put off things I needed to do, so I

  • deleted the Windows Freecell.exe app
  • installed a SiteBlock extension for my various web browsers to avoid a certain freecell site. I googled "add-on to restrict time on a website" and found some nice ones. Now, you can use a password to re-enter a site, but the point is, it's deliberately intrusive and difficult.
  • Finally, I wrote a FreeCell game in Python, to learn something. You may not want to take the drastic step of writing a chess engine, but I know I played chess out of inertia a lot, forgetting the main reason I played it was that I could learn and enjoy trying new things. So maybe you need to evaluate something you really want to learn that might give you the same happiness you used to get from chess.

Other points: - this may seem paradoxical, but set aside a half-hour per day for playing games. If you can stick to it, this will help you feel you aren't totally missing out. - I don't know if you have options to set up a profile, but even typing "I like to play chess, but sometimes I lose track of time play too much. If I've been on for an hour, and I challenge you, can you poke me to get back to work?" may help. This is true without beating yourself up, and maybe it will help other people get back to stuff you need to do. - Write a program to kick yourself out after an hour, or you might even ask on various channels if someone has written a time-management program that allows you an hour per day. You probably aren't the first to ask about this!

There are many tools out there to help you. But as @postnubilaphoebus says, and @Habbo commented, it's important to recognize there are better ways to spend your time. Playing chess has definite diminishing returns to scale.

Having goals outside chess helps. Maybe it is just getting through a book before it is due at the library, or working out, or connecting with old friends, or making new ones. If you're worried you might not be good at it, well, you're not alone in getting sucked into online life.

The main thing I've found with addictive behaviors is framing it as "I want to give myself a reason to do something cooler" works a lot better than "I have to stop doing this."

Good luck! I think all of us chess players can be prone to going into a chess-playing shell, so don't be too ashamed of getting in a rut even if it's lasted a while. I hope you get lots of other suggestions on this topic, because moving on from habits that aren't quite as fun any more isn't as easy as it seems it should be. And some things work much better for some people than for others.


I gave the password of my online chess account to a best friend. She controls when I can have access to my online chess app. I can create a new account, however, I don't because I want to play with my existing account, which has a long history. It worked. I ask her for it during the weekend and in the evening. It was the last measure I had to do after everything else failed. Online chess can be very addictive.


Here's a search engine trick that may help. You can block and unblock websites, so maybe you can block the chess site you're on, take a rest for a few days, and then unblock and start playing again. You don't have to delete your account.

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