Chess Players: The Need To Feed The Brain During Tournaments

In a game of chess, since the brain is the main organ that is used, it must of course also be “fed” with oxygen and energy. A professional or just a novice taking online chess lessons for beginners, chess players should be aware that the brain needs energy to properly function. No wonder many players suffer from lack of concentration as soon as there is too little oxygen in the room or as soon as their energy starts to burn out. In this post, let’s take a look at the energy needs of the brain in order to function well in tournaments.

Game of chess – The brain in action needs carbohydrates for energy

A nutritionist said it was nothing more than glucose, which the brain needs to work at full speed. Glucose (blood sugar), colloquially known as dextrose, is absorbed through food (especially carbohydrate-rich). The hormone insulin regulates the glucose balance, but only on the side. Accordingly, it makes sense that many players treat themselves to a piece of cake or fruit (contains fructose) during a game. The body converts these sugars into glucose.

The brain is responsible for the fact that during a game of chess we get stressed (some more, others less), the heart rate increases and the metabolic rate can multiply. Energy is released, so sugar, and we learn here that dextrose can be a good thing during chess to balance energy needs. But this is only a short-term measure during the game, as the effect quickly dissipates and the body immediately requests new energy. So it is not surprising that the world champion avoids direct sugar intake and prefers more protein-rich energy.

How much glucose or sugary food should a chess player consume during a game to keep the brain’s high energy demands constant?

A game of chess lasts several hours, not to mention the tournaments in which you play double rounds. Chess players have found that it becomes very difficult to concentrate on the game from the fourth hour at the latest because it needs more energy which one can get from carbohydrates.

From a chemical point of view, carbohydrates are just chains of sugar molecules. Above all, they supply our muscles with the necessary energy. In the muscle cells, certain enzymes combine sugar with oxygen. It is “burned” to a certain extent and energy is thus generated. The body first accesses the sugar circulating in the blood, and later, with greater exertion, the sugar stores in the muscles or liver.

Chess players are not ultra runners and the physical exertion during a single game is relatively manageable. But in a longer tournament or at the end of a game, the brain also takes its toll. If you lose concentration, a (half) banana, trail mix (nuts, raisins), and/or a juice spritzer will help.

Carbohydrates can be taken in a little more before a competition and also in sugar form for a short time to combat lack of concentration. The body can use the following carbohydrate sources well because they slowly pass through the intestines into the blood: Legumes, potatoes, brown rice, and wholemeal bread.

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After the explanations, it could be concluded that chess players should try taking glucose regularly during the game. Chess players may consume a few packs of “Dextro Energy”. Carbohydrate-rich food is needed between the games, i.e. pasta, potatoes, etc. The same applies to breakfast: muesli, jam, something sweet like Nutella, etc. Since the performance of the brain during a chess game is immensely high and not comparable to everyday activity, the energy intake must also be much higher than in everyday life.