There are different views on playing chess and hence you can find both positive and negative answers for it. However, as regards to the games in which dice is used are unanimously prohibited by all scholars.
Many scholars – including Imam Abu Haneefah, Imam Shafi and Ibn Qayyim – said that chess is haram. Imam Malik was of the view that it is makrooh.
Yahya said that he heard Malik say: There is no good in chess, and he disapproved of it. Yahya said: I heard him disapprove of playing it and other worthless games.
In his well-known book, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi explains that the Prophet’s Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) also had different opinions:
Ibn Umar said that it is worse than backgammon and Ali regarded it as gambling (perhaps meaning when it is played for money), while some others merely expressed disapproval of it.
However, some Companions and some of the second generation scholars allowed it. Among these were Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Ibn Sirin, Hisham bin Umrah and Said bin al-Musayyib. We agree with those great jurists, since the original principle is the permissibility of acts and no text is to be found prohibiting it.
An analysis of the hadiths used as proof for prohibiting chess shows that they are not authentic. Because of this, scholars like Ibn Hazm have taken the stance that chess is not prohibited, especially since there are benefits in playing this game.
Chess is also a mental exercise which requires thought and planning. In this respect it is the opposite of backgammon, for while backgammon is a game of chance and therefore comparable to divining with arrows, chess is a game of skill and strategy, which may be compared to archery,
Of course, playing chess would be considered haram if it involved gambling or any of the items listed below under ‘General prohibitions’.
It should also be noted that the following is a mistranslation: “He who played chess is like one who dyed his hand with the flesh and blood of swine.” (Sahih Muslim)
The word mentioned in this hadith is nard, which means backgammon; the Arabic word for chess is shatranj. A more authentic translation is: “He who plays with dice will be deemed as a person thrusting his hands in pig’s blood.” (Sahih Muslim)
Games that are played with dice are generally ruled to be makrooh because they involve an element of chance. They are regarded as haram if played as a means of gambling, because of this hadith, which was explained in detail in the chapter on gambling:
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “He who plays with dice has disobeyed Allah and His Apostle.” (Abu Dawood, Bayhaqi, Hakim, Ibn Majah and Malik)”