A while ago I attended a chess friends barbecue, and unsurprisingly enough chess was the main topic of conversation.
I talked to his wife at length about the addictive qualities of chess, she told me that when he (chess friend) has a day off work its spent playing chess on the net or reading chess books, when she has the day off its spent tidying around the house and keeping the place in order!
His daughters refer to his chess colleagues as "the phone people" never seen, only heard at the end of a telephone.
She said "you've known each other for years, but you'll have sat silently across the table from each other not uttering a word!" She asked me what we talked about when we're playing chess, once (and only once!) She was 'dragged' to a tournament and "they all sat in silence" and it was "bloody weird!"
I replied with, well, what we actually do is empty all the of the pieces on the table, get naked, and throw them as hard as we can at each other, we then make a funeral pyre from the corpses of pawns and set it ablaze after midnight, dancing around the smouldering pieces trying to evoke the chess spirits!
She laughed out loud, only pausing briefly to give me a questioning look, because I may have been telling the truth, after all we're chess players and we're chuffing crazy!
Its true to say that when 'chess addiction' gets a hold you quickly succumb, I've known guys who have awoke from their slumber at 3 or 4am to look at a variation that might have saved or won them a game! When you wake in the middle of the night thinking about chess, it may be time to seek medical attention, at the very least admit you have a problem.
How do you know when you're a 'chess addict'?
When you own considerably more chess books in your library than all the other topics combined, when you own more than 15 chess sets of various sizes (just in case)
When, never a day passes without looking at a board or thinking about it.
Other games hold the attention only briefly, they're just a fleeting distraction from the 'real' joy, awe, pleasure, pain, and sheer amazement that chess never ceases to bring.
Every week we meet up at our club and every week (without fail) throws up a new and unique position to 'solve' and delight. Its why I love the game, there's always something new and refreshing.
Is there a cure?
Smokers use patches, starting on a high dose then decreasing the amount of nicotine, perhaps the 'Chess Addict' could start with a king taped to the arm, slowly working down to a pawn.
Like any addiction the 'user' has to want to stop, but as we all know chess is terminal, once you're hooked that's it!