There’s no doubt in my mind that internet chess can become addictive. Although it doesn’t exist as an official condition it seems very similar to many other impulse control disorders. Another condition that is not officially a condition is video game addiction. Thus far there has not been enough evidence to classify either officially.
What are the signs that you might be addicted to internet chess? Adapting the list given here you should watch out for the following:
- Lowered interest in other things.
- Feelings of frustration when you can’t get online.
- Making excuses about the time spent online.
- Sleep problems.
- Decreased personal hygiene.
- Skipping meals.
- Playing through the night.
- Inability to stop for a few days.
What about a cure? There are several avenues suggested here of which wilderness therapy is probably the most effective. There again I do wonder how many chess players would physically survive in the wilderness!
Will breaking this addiction help you improve your chess? I’m sure it will because high quality and mindful play is far better practice than the driven, compulsive variety. A good plan is to schedule a fixed number of games and then stop when you’re done. And if you can’t do this there might be a problem.