It is often pointed out that chess is science, art and sport combined.
All very interesting of course but with time and often mindless repetition, the statement has become more cliche than an insight into the nature of chess. If we frame our discussion a bit differently the notion grows in significance.
The poets have taught us that truth (science) is beauty (art); chess itself has taught us the game is above all a sport (struggle).
Using this more poetic and vivid vocabulary: (truth, beauty and struggle instead of science, art and sport) the game clearly embodies the most prized essentials of human life itself.
The mathematician, philosopher and world champion of chess Emanuel Lasker persuasively stressed the centrality of the three elements. He especially emphasized that on the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy are ruthlessly exposed.
He had no doubts of course about the aesthetic value of the game: “I believe,” he said, “there is magic in the creative faculty such as great poets and philosophers conspicuously possess and equally the creative chessmaster.”
And course, he never tired of stressing that chess is above all a fight.