Sunday, 11 September 2011

Alternative approaches to better chess results

The traditional methods of improving at chess (hard work, study, lots of play) can be time consuming, with no guarantee that they will actually work.  While trawling through a list of academic papers on chess I realised there may be a couple of other approaches to improving your results.

The first paper I cam across hinted that it was all in the eyes. The better you visual span, the stronger you were. The abstract to the paper is here
The second approach is to develop better neural networks in the brain. I'm not sure how you would actually do this, but this paper at least discusses the topic.
The third, and possibly most promising, is a study that showed the higher your testosterone levels, the better your results. It wasn't that testosterone was only responsible for better physical performance (as previous studies had shown), but that when the physicality was removed, as in chess, it still resulted in better performance.  A preview of the article is at although the full article has to be purchased to be read.


Anonymous said...

Testosterone levels? Good lord ! Balderdash !

Max Illingworth said...

This blog post reminds me of something I posted on Chesschat:

'The four determinants of your results in chess are chess knowledge, innate chess talent, health/reserves of energy and purposefulness/will-power/competitive character.'


The book 'Joys of Chess' by Christan Hesse has a section with a study proving that during a competitive chess game, testosterone levels are as high as they are during extreme sports such as bungee jumping.

Anonymous said...

The testosterone thing might explain why Kasparov was so good for so long. He seems to have great reserves of it.

Anonymous said...

How about this idea? Make better moves and you win the game . Eh ?

Anonymous said...

does this explain why women are statistically worse at chess?