CHESS is a sport (TES, May 7). I teach chess full-time and our players are just as competitive as, say, hockey or athletic teams. But there is no English word for "mind sport" (in German it's denksport). "Game", "pastime", "recreation" - chess is all of these for beginners, but more than 130 countries compete in the Chess Olympiads.
I watched Nicholas Pert win the world U-18 title and know what an intense effort that was. There are no gender, age or disability barriers in chess and it doesn't need expensive equipment.
Graham Lee Oakham school, Rutland