Be the first to like.

Share

The World Chess Federation (WCF) routinely performs drug tests. That’s not because it seems likely that chess players are enhancing their play with drugs, but to help the sport’s bid to be a part of the 2020 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee mandates that each sport has such a program in place.

But Olympics or not, the WCF’s drug tests are probably a good idea. A randomized-controlled trial has shown that two commonly prescribed prescription drugs—modafinil and ritalin—can be used to enhance performance in chess games. Modafinil is a stimulant used to treat sleep disorders, while ritalin is often used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Both drugs are commonly used off-label as so-called “smart drugs” to improve cognitive function.

A group of researchers in Germany and Sweden recruited 39 competitive male chess players, who had an average IQ of 127 and an average chess Elo rating of about 1700 (an above-average rating in the system used to determine serious players’ skill level). They divided the group to test their performance after consuming either 200 mg of modafinil, 20 mg of ritalin, 200 mg of caffeine, or a placebo. Each participant then played 20 games against the computer which adjusted to their skill level. In each game, the participant had 15 minutes to make their moves.

… Read More

Image: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=927885

Be the first to like.

Share
Quartz

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply