Monday, March 17, 2014

Effect of Lack of Sleep in Chess


Chess is a game that requires focus. Player’s attention to the game should always be at a hundred percent (100%). Any slip of focus can be fatal. A winning position can be lost in any moment due to a few seconds of distracted attention.

I think the need for focus and attention in the game of chess cannot be overemphasized.  It is said that in chess, just like in life, opportunity knocks but once. When the opportunity for gaining an advantage appears on the chessboard, a player has to pounce on it immediately. Strike while the iron is hot. Otherwise, the opportunity is lost and it would take another moon for it to reappear.

The ability to render quick and precise judgment is necessary to be successful in a chess game. With the chess clock ticking, the player has to swim through an endless cacophony of variations and choose the best move. Strategy and tactics have to be employed under time pressure. Given these consequences, it is necessary that focus and judgment be not compromised.

While some players deny it, lack or insufficient sleep takes a toll in their ability to play chess.  The lack of sleep according to a study affects judgment and the ability to retain information.  Thus, a chess player’s performance on the chessboard is naturally affected by lack or inadequate sleep. Judgment and recall of prior information is affected.

“In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.”

It is therefore advisable for chess players, specially those competing in tournaments, to have a complete sleep before engaging in a tiresome battle on the board. A chess tournament usually has at least six (6) to seven (7) grueling rounds. Every round is test of the player’s stamina.  With inadequate or lack of sleep, a player will not be in complete form during the round. Worse, a player may not last to finish the tournament.

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