Chess Analytics: Training with a Grandmaster

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Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 3 of 3. Author Grivas, Efstratios. Other Authors Zysk, Robert.


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Physical Description p. Subjects Chess -- Rules.

Chess Analytics: Training with a Grandmaster - Efstratios Grivas - Google книги

Chess -- Collections of games. Chess problems. Notes Includes bibliographical references and index. It all combines to produce an average weight loss of 2 pounds a day, or about pounds over the course of a day tournament in which each grandmaster might play five or six times. The effect can be off-putting to the players themselves, even if it's expected.

Caruana, whose base weight is pounds, drops to to pounds. But there is literally nothing for Caruana to fear but fear itself. Stress and anxiety, in fact, are the greatest drivers of the phenomenon. Here's how it works:.

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Grandmasters in competition are subjected to a constant torrent of mental stress. That stress, in turn, causes their heart rates to increase, which, in turn, forces their bodies to produce more energy to, in turn, produce more oxygen. Louis, and Philip Cryer, a metabolism expert at the school, a vicious, destructive cycle.

Meanwhile, players also eat less during tournaments, simply because they don't have the time or the appetite. McNay, assistant professor of psychology in the behavioral neuroscience program at the University of Albany. Stress also leads to altered -- and disturbed -- sleep patterns, which in turn cause more fatigue -- and can lead to more weight loss. A brain operating on less sleep, even by just one hour, Kasimdzhanov notes, requires more energy to stay awake during the chess game.

Some grandmasters report dreaming about chess, agonizing over what they could have done differently for hours in their sleep, and waking up exhausted. To combat it all, today's players have begun to incorporate strict food and fitness regimens to increase oxygen supply to the brain during tournaments, prevent sugar-related crashes and sustain their energy.

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In the s and '90s, smoking, drinking and late-night parties were common on the chess circuit -- that's right, chess had a "Boogie Nights" phase -- but that scene has all but disappeared. According to Ashley, India's first grandmaster, Viswanathan Anand, does two hours of cardio each night to tire himself out so he doesn't dream about chess; Kasimdzhanov drinks tea only during tournaments and plays tennis and basketball every day. Chirila does at least an hour of cardio and an hour of weights to build muscle mass before tournaments.

But not one of these grandmasters has perfected his fitness routine like the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen. The reigning world No. He was still winning most tournaments, but his matches were lasting longer, the victories seemingly less assured. He was beginning to wane in the last hour of games. He noticed younger players catching up to him. So it was that Carlsen visited the Olympic training center in Oslo, Norway, with his father, Henrik, seeking advice from performance specialists.


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Their suggestion was deceptively simple: "You need to cut back on the orange juice you drink during tournaments. Carlsen had relied on a mix of half orange juice, half water for an energy boost since he was a child. But now, in his late 20s, his body was no longer breaking down the sugar as quickly, leading to sugar crashes.

The nutritionists suggested that he instead drink a mixture of chocolate milk and plain milk, which contained far lower levels of sugar but would also supplement his body with calcium, potassium and protein. But that was merely the beginning of Carlsen's makeover: Since then he has trained his body for chess, down to the very last detail.

Before tournaments, he works out for hours -- running on the treadmill, perfecting asanas on his yoga mat, playing soccer with his friends. Before the world championship last year, he went skiing every day and tweeted that it strengthened his legs and his willpower to get to the finish line.

He hired a personal chef, Magnus Forssell, who travels with him to ensure he's eating the right combination of proteins, carbs and calcium.

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Says Forssell: "Before tournaments, you need a lot of energy, so I am trying to trick him to eat some pasta so he gets some reserve energy. These days, during tournaments, Carlsen focuses on relaxing and conserving energy instead of training. Caruana spends at least three hours before a match prepping his moves, but Carlsen does only 15 to 30 minutes of prep. His reasoning: Last-minute preparations are an unnecessary use of energy. There's more: Carlsen chews gum during games to try to increase brain function without losing energy; he taps his legs rhythmically to keep his brain and body alert between moves.

He has even managed to optimize That's right. Carlsen claims that many chess players crane their necks too far forward, which can lead to a 30 percent loss of lung capacity, according to studies in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science. And, according to Keith Overland, former president of the American Chiropractic Association, leaning 30 degrees forward increases stress on the neck by nearly 60 pounds, which in turn requires the back and neck muscles to work harder, ultimately resulting in headaches, irregular breathing and reduced oxygen to the brain. Olympic Training Center.

Not Carlsen. The Norwegian rests his lower back against the chair so it retains a natural curve, his knees slightly apart at the edge of the seat, feet firmly on the ground, and leans forward at about a degree angle. In this position, which he arrived at through reading studies and trial and error, he's not too far forward to lose alertness and not too far back to use extra energy.

Chess Analytics: Training with a Grandmaster

Since he became a world champion in , Carlsen has even practiced a strategy familiar to fans of Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James: load management. Although the average elite player will play 12 to 14 events a year to maintain his ranking and earn money, Carlsen has typically reduced his schedule to six to eight tournaments, taking months off to recuperate after each one. Caruana is especially careful after screenshots of openings he'd planned to use against Carlsen leaked before last year's world championship.

It's only paranoia if they're not out to get you. Afterward, he looks exhausted, his glasses askew. Still, he grabs a handful of nuts and heads out for a final hour of tennis before dinner. Kasimdzhanov and Chirila, after a dinner of salad, boiled shrimp, beef stew and mashed potatoes, walk into the kitchen for a serving of chocolate pudding pie. Caruana does not join them.