Once told me that he would gladly buy any opponent a huge steak dinner before a game because the blood would rush from the eater’s brain to his stomach, leaving the poor guy unable to play up to his true strength.
Don’t think a large meal should ever be eaten before a game is played. However, you do need to keep your energy up and your blood sugar level, but the best way to do this is dependent on each person’s individual physiology. Sip on apple juice throughout a game, or eat chocolate (This sounds like fun, but it would leave me in a sugar coma!), and sucked on a ginseng root.
While what you eat before and during a game is of great importance, what you eat afterwards doesn’t really matter unless you have a game the next day. Personally, after an event finished I would eat two whole chickens, guzzle a few bottles of wine, and wash it all down with several whole cheesecakes. Then I would pass out and awaken the next day without having any memory at all of how I did in the tournament (finding money in my bank account would usually be an indication of a successful tournament, while discovering that my phone had been disconnected would suggest a poor result).
Chess is a very complex sport requiring a player to be in great mental and physical shape in order to perform well in rough competition. Many factors influence player's performance, but food intake before and during the competition plays significant role in any chess event. Food intake before and during chess tournament significantly affects player's performance. In particular, nutrition impacts player's psychological state, alertness, memory recall and overall brain performance - the most crucial characteristics for chess. Therefore, chess players should develop individual diet to fit their needs.
Food intake before the chess game is absolutely crucial factor of a competition. All food consumed approximately two hours before the round kicks off will affect how well player feels and performs during the game. Eating too much, too little or simply a wrong type of food can significantly low down player’s position in tournament standing. Nearly all nutrition professionals agree that food rich with fish oil is especially beneficial for chess player’s brain.
It’s believed that Japanese have higher IQs because of regular seafood consumption, rich with food oils.Healthy food expert, recommends a high protein and high carbonate meals before the chess competition begins. “The carbs will help sustain the focus, while the protein will add to the needed nutrients for brain connections”, In order to get enough carbohydrates it’s suggested to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, potatoes and rice. Food like eggs, chicken, nuts, milk and soy are high on proteins and recommended as a part of chess diet by many nutrition professionals.
From my personal experience consuming foods like pork, beef, hamburgers and French fries is not recommended before any intensive mental or physical task. Digesting of these foods takes up a lot of energy making it almost impossible to concentrate and stay focused for long periods of time. After eating these foods a player would be more likely to take a nap, than to play a tough game. As a rule of thumb, consuming too much of any food before a chess game isn’t a good idea because player’s stomach will do all the work and not his brain.
Not eating enough is also a bad practice. Don’t remain Hungry before the game. There should be a compromise between how much food is too much and how much is not enough in order to play best possible chess. This balance is individual thing which needs to be developed by the player himself or with a help of qualified nutritionist.
There are plenty of options for during a game snacks: nuts, cheese sticks, sandwiches and tuna are all high on protein.
vitamins B1, B6 and B12 are essential for high accuracy sports
Since playing golf and playing chess require similar rate of concentration vitamins play important role in brain activity. It is a good idea to take a big apple or a banana on game with you.
Carbohydrates and proteins are also suggested as a part of chess diet. In order to get enough protein it’s suggested to eat eggs, chicken, nuts, milk and soy. Carbohydrates are present in foods such as fruits and vegetables, potatoes and rice.
During the tournament it is very important to drink plenty of water or another drink like caffeine free iced tea in order to be properly hydrated. Sports drinks and caffeine drinks must be consumed with caution due to possibility of “double effect”. It’s a good practice to take a big apple or a banana to a game with you. Over the board snacks may include nuts, cheese sticks, sandwiches and tuna. Well balanced chess diet will not make a bad chess player – a good one instantaneously, but it’s something that will give any player a slight edge over the competition.
The most preferred solid food by Grandmasters included chocolate (80.5%), fruits (14.6%) and cereal bars (9.8%). Regarding types of fluid, main preferences were water (72.1%), coffee (42.6%), tea (29.5%) and fruit juice (23.6%).
The physical activity done on a regular basis, specially aerobic, may help the chess player in many ways: it makes body posture better, improves resistance and endorphins production (substances produced by the body that have a positive effect on the emotional state, causing a sense of comfort) and can reduce anxiety, depression, tension and stress, and can slightly improve the cognitive performance (memory, intelligence, creativity), vigor, and keep mental clearness. It also contributes to manage and keep an ideal weight and reduce body fat, it reduces the concentration of lipids in the blood, raises the HDL cholesterol level (“good cholesterol”), it is one of the basis for the treatment of mellitus diabetes, and strengthens bone mass, among others.
One question about tobacco consumption was included in the survey, for the well-known negative effect of this habit on health condition. Smoking is an important cardiovascular risk illness factor, it predisposes to cancer of the lung, larynx, pharynx and mouth cavity; may cause emphysema; etc. And also this habit affects nutrients negatively. Tobacco nicotine reduces the possibility for the body to make use of calcium leading to osteoporosis, and smokers suffer from vitamins (and precursors) deficiency, like B1, B12, C and ß-carotene, among others.
Conclusions and recommendations
The results of this research provide information about sport and nutritional habits of the active International Grandmasters, but it is necessary to take into account that more investigations on these topics are needed.
Regarding these results, author carries out some practical recommendations about healthy habits to athletes, which could help to improve a sport performance too.
• Chess players should try to have breakfast daily.
• Avoiding “heavy foods” or foods of difficult digestion before games must be adopted as a regular habit for chess players. The last “main” meal before a game has to be had at least three hours in advance. If a player wishes to have something to eat nearer the time of the beginning of a competition (one or two hours before, e.g.) he/she should choose among fruits (whole ones, fruit salad or juices, raisins), cereal bars, pretzels, cookies, low fat yogurt with fruit or cereals, sports drinks.
• During the games, it is recommended fluid ingestion, and, if the chess player wants it (or when the game becomes long), solid foods. Mineral water, fruit juices, tea, coffee, sports drinks, cereal bars, fruits, raisins, dry fruits (almonds, e.g.), chocolate, cereal cookies, can be chosen. In all cases, moderate quantities should be taken.
• The best strategy to hydration is to drink small quantities at regular intervals, instead of greater quantities at a few intervals, and avoid being thirsty. The same indication should be followed during board training and physical activity. It is also important to begin the activity properly hydrated.
• It would be good for chess players “to train” the quantity of fluid to be drunk while playing training games in situations similar to the tournament’s; in order to determine if the options and quantities are well tolerated (and to become familiarized with them) and then, avoid drinking quantities during an important game which may result in concentration loss. The same routine should be taken into account for solid foods.
• Some characteristics of the urine can show the state of hydration, which gives players a very good reference. If at any moment of the day the color of the urine is dark yellow, it is small in volume and has a strong smell, then all these signs could be showing that the chess player might not be properly hydrated and, consequently, should drink plenty of water or fluids containing water in considerable proportion.
• It would be advisable for the elite chess players to count on scientific nutritional consultancy in order to cope with all the requirements that top-level chess entails, because nutrition plays a significant role in the sport performance.
• The improper use of dietary supplements, mainly under self-supervision or non-professional supervision, can cause health problems and may result in a positive anti-doping control. It is advisable that chess players take dietary supplements only if these are prescribed by a medical doctor after a complete general check, and, in the case of top players, only those ones which are not on the list of the banned substances and methods for chess. The players must be informed about the current World Anti-Doping Regulations.
• Physical activities should be considered as an important component of the chess player training. It is necessary to attend clinical- cardiologic tests before starting doing this type of activity and this program must be designed by a doctor or a physical trainer.
Before A Tournament
Eating well is no nutritional novelty.
He explained that these fatty acids replace the bad fat in your body with more necessary and leaner fat, resulting in more useful fuel for the body and perhaps some weight loss, and that omega-3 is crucial for helping people deal with the highs and lows of competition. He also pushed Ginkgo biloba supplements for enhanced memory.
A high-protein and high-carbohydrate meal with at least a 30- minute before a round. “The carbs will help sustain the focus, while the protein will add to the needed nutrients for brain connections,”
Foods to eat before a long haul would be carbohydrates (veggies, grains, fruits, rice or potatoes) along with some protein—eggs, peanut butter, chicken, nuts, soy and yogurts are good examples.
Diet For Chess Players
MORNING : Methi(70g) +Ajwain(30g) – Take 5g with the juice given below.
Juice – 1-spoon Jeera(whole),
2- piece- Gola Mirch,
1- spoon Cinnamon,
3- pieces Tejpatra,
BOIL in water(500ml) FOR 20 MINS AND STRAIN
Juice – 25g Pudina Patra +25g Dhania Patra
(Make a juice and pour it in the above juice and drink empty stomach)
After ½ -1 hour take your breakfast.
AFTER 2- HOURS
AFTER 2-3 HOURS TAKE LUNCH
Mushrooms (50-60g 3-times a week)
AFTER 2-3 HOURS
30 Mins before event
HEAVY MEALS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN
Foods with Vitamin D :
As explained above, UV rays - artificial or natural, helps to make Vitamin D in the body. Apart from it, inclusion of the below listed foods with Vitamin D is very beneficial.
POINT TO BE REMEMBERED
The above diet schedule is a Generalized one. Consult your nutritionist or coach and modify according to your body’s requirement.
By : Jisu(Bisweswar Kar)
National Discus and Shot Thrower