Chess isn't just a board game: it's THE board game. Chess was invented thousands of years ago, possibly before 200 BC. It is the most recognized board game in existance.
Chess is the one of the most complicated and deep games ever. The 9th most complicated, to be exact. In fact, there are more possible sequence of moves than atoms in the universe (Chess having 10^123 and the universe having 4x10^79 atoms).
Chess has had it's fair share of icons. Boris Spassky, Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Wilhelm Steintz, and the infamous Bobby Fischer. All of whom are well known and have made a living out of this great game.
It isn't hard to pick up chess, And it can significantly boost your life expectancy. Look around your town for a chess club. Look online for directions on how to play. Play on the internet. Play in a tournament or two. Try it. You may just end up enjoying it.