Here is a list of questions about chess and/or myself I have been asked at least 10 times each. I've got tired answering the same questions over and over again, so I've decided to post this short section on my website.
Q. Do chess players practice at chess or they just learn chess once and play for the rest of their lives?
A. Of course, they do practice! Can you imagine a football or a basketball player that have learned to play the game just once and keep playing for 10 years with no training? I can't. Chess is the same thing.
Q. How do chess players train?
A. Basically chess players train by studying chess openings, going over classical games, solving tactics problems, learning theoretical endgames and playing, playing and playing chess.
Q. Why do chess players need to stay in good physical shape to play good chess? It does not require any running does it?
A. No chess usually does not require running. However, if a player is not in good physical shape it will be almost impossible to stay alert and play best chess possible for 5-6 hours (which is hard even for very fit players). That is why all the top GMs spend hours in gyms and/or playing active sports.
Q. Do you play online chess?
A. Yes, I play online chess; sometimes I can play all day long.
Q. Do you play on ICC?
A. No, I prefer Free Internet Chess Server (FICS).
Q. Do you play against chess computers?
A. Yes, I certainly do, even though I did not have a lot of success against top programs such as Rybka and Fritz, I've beaten master strength programs such as ChessMaster (on 2300 ELO), Parrot (2200 ELO) and some other ones.
Q. Is playing chess hard?
A. Playing chess is not hard, but be good at chess is hard.
Q. What are the most important characteristics one should have to be successful at chess?
A. First of, what was meant by being successful at chess? Play in official USCF/FIDE events? Being a class C player? A Master? A Grandmaster?
I think good memory, quick pattern recognition ability, sharp strategic thinking, passion for the game, ability to survive stress are crucial for chess.
Q. Is playing chess is really as stressful as they say?
A. Playing chess can be stressful. Stress cannot be avoided completely in serious tournament chess. It is one of these factors that distract chess players a lot during the game (especially, when the game is important). The less attention player pays to stress, the better he/she plays.
Q. How is playing online chess different from playing OTB (over the board) chess?
A. Playing over the board chess is usually a lot more competitive, than playing online. There is no such thing as online chess stress, as far as I know.