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How physical activity can help you play chess better?

“Training your brain is just as important as training your body….It’s just like a muscle—if you’re not using it, you can lose it.” Magnus Carlsen

Lots of people who are not so familiar with chess, the first thing that they think is that chess is a non-active sport and needs no physical activities. Those who think in that way are in a big bewilderment and today we are going to find it out.

Chess players live  sedentary lifestyle

The recent study by Agnieszka Fornal-Urban and Anna Kęska revealed a new theory which is important for all the chess players to follow. The study was supported by the University of Physical Education in Warsaw, the European Chess Union, and the Polish Chess Federation, in 2009. 

During their research, participated  73 persons (aged 8-19), 47.9% of which were girls(35) and  52.1% of the group were boys (38). Among the members were the pupils of Polish Chess Academy, different medallist of the European and World Junior Championships and other representatives of the national junior team. The members were divided into four groups, and each group was given special fitness tests.

According to the two scientists, being physically fit is good for chess, that is physical activity make an important place in the routine of every professional chess players. That’s why, the chess prodigies like Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Alexander Alekhine, Bobby Fischer never missed an opportunity to train only their mind but also the body. 

The researchers came up to the decision that 

  • Parents and chess coaches, and the players should be aware of the significance of fitness preparation before chess match.
  • During chess tournaments, organizers should provide attractive and active forms of recreation in players' free time.
  • to make parents and coaches aware of the significance of the regular physical exercises for the health and high sports achievements.
  • During training of the chess players, more attention should be paid to their physical preparation, particularly in the exercises developing their strength.

This is also a warning to all parents, chess coaches, and chess players; sedentary lifestyle can raise the risk of overweight and obesity. 

It’s important to realize that for being able to sit in front of the chess board so many hours, one needs a good physical shape. Just because mental work requires more physical strength than the opposite one. So if the players play tense long-lasting tournament under the pressure, they often start to make lots of mistakes, eventually losing the game just because they weren’t physically prepared for the game.

In this manner, many chess players confirm that physical activities help them to win more games because then they are more endurable.

So again a big warning to all chess players that before tournaments they should prepare not only mentally but physically, of course, if they want to win the match. 

If you know well famous chess players, you probably know that they are actively training their bodies too. For example, the N.1 in the world, Magnus Carlsen is a big fan of football and if you are subscribed to his any social accounts you will see that this man doesn’t live sedentary life at all. Besides that, he is good at Volleyball. Don’t believe? Watch.

And also good at Basketball

Alexandra Kosteniuk a Russian chess grandmaster and Women's World Chess Champion from 2008-2010, is a fan of running. 

Alexandra Kosteniuk

The 14th World Chess Champion and the 7th (2817) rated player of all the time Vladimir Kramnik, likes running and tennis, but as he can’t do both of them he goes to swimming pool. He says “I swim about 1½ to two kilometers a day. In order to keep yourself fit you have to do sports, but unfortunately many things that I like, like tennis, for instance, my doctors recommend me to avoid. So I have to swim. The problem is that it is pretty boring, very monotonous, so I am trying to solve studies while I am swimming, just to keep my mind busy.”

Vladimir Kramnik

An Indian pride, the 15th World Chess Champion and chess prodigy Viswanathan Anand, has his own secret of being in the top of the tournaments. During one of his interview, to the question what does he do to stay physically fit, he answered so.

Viswanathan Anand

Being healthy is very important especially in sports. In chess, since we have to prepare for about 7 – 8 hours a day, physical fitness is as essential as mental fitness.

Harry Sneider a friend of Bobby Fischer, fitness trainer and world champion weightlifter  once said:

Bobby Fischer and other sports

“He loved power (training) with weights, he swam 45 minutes a day and he was a ‘world champion’ walker. He takes enormous strides and can do that for 31/2 hours. He also liked playing tennis.”

Bobby Ficher loved swimming

“Because professional chess is sedentary — very sedentary, in fact — physical conditioning is essential.” Shelby Lyman chess amateur 

The example of these shining stars showed that physical well-being is the essential part of playing chess. So if you want to become a professional chess player and be in the top, don’t forget about your body and mind. 



Published on : 10 Jul 2018

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  • josue josuechess
    josue josuechess
    4 months ago
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