‘Our activity, playing chess, is not work in the proper sense. Restoril It creates no value, it produces nothing. Remarkably, it is barely a means of providing work for others. Whoever hopes to make money out of us, condemns himself to a depressed trade . . .


We, chess players have chosen to play chess in order not to have to work. That in doing so we are only letting ourselves in for far greater problems than if we had just gone and found a job, is the paradox of laziness. The paradox of nothing, actually.’

 J.H. Donner

Schaakbulletin 188, July 1983, reproduced in The King: Chess Pieces  (New In Chess, 2008, pp.378-9)

More Donner wisdom

Photo of Donner in 1978 by Bert Verhoeff

1 Comment

  1. Carlton Bradbury says:

    Do we count the innumerable hustlers of the chess board in Washington Square Park. Venice Beach et al, playing 5 minute blitz St 5 dollars a game as chess professionals? Just a thought……..

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