The Blues defender asked for chess books for Christmas to sharpen his game
Ben Chilwell has revealed that he and Chelsea team-mate Reece James have been bitten by the chess bug.
England defender Chilwell has admitted things are extremely tough at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic restricting people’s movements and interactions, and impacting on their daily lives.
He admits to being in a fortunate position as his job as a professional footballer allows him to go to training every day and interact with friends and team-mates.
While footballers are in a fortunate position, they too are living under Covid-19 restrictions and Chilwell says he is doing different things to ensure his mind remains stimulated.
Chess is one activity that has captured Chilwell’s imagination. While the standard is unlikely to be on a par with Beth Harmon of The Queen’s Gambit, it appears the defender and fellow Chelsea star James take it pretty seriously.
"Obviously it's a very tough time at the moment," Chilwell told the Premier League's website. "I'm in a very fortunate position where I am able to come into work and see my friends and do what I enjoy, but there are a lot of people not in that position and are stuck at home with nothing to do.
"There are a few things I've found to keep myself busy [after training] ... activities that are really going to challenge your brain and keep you interested through very tough times.
"Me and Reece James play online chess against each other quite a lot. He wins a few, I win a few. We played a game on the way back from Russia in the Champions League. I think it was one game, but it took four hours - the whole flight!
"I actually asked my mum for some chess books and a chess board for Christmas! That has obviously helped me."
While there isn’t another trip to Russia on the horizon for James and Chilwell to sharpen their chess games, Chelsea do travel to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on February 23 - which should hand them the opportunity to play.
The focus this week for the pair is a trip to Premier League title contenders Leicester on Tuesday.