Why is water the best drinking ally for chess?

By | 28 septembre 2017

Have you ever noticed that chess players tend to drink little sips of water quite often while playing?

The reason behind it is quite simple: our brain needs adequate hydration to function properly and at optimum levels. While many drinks out there can be used as permanent boosters, none of them can replace water for constant energy levels during a game.

Among all the benefits of water, let’s review its advantageous effects for chess players and how you can adapt your water consumption to maximize its energy output.

Benefits of drinking water for a chess player

What you drink profoundly affects how much energy you have. Your brain being a 73% composition of water, drinking enough water throughout the game will serve as fuel you will need to operate at your best.

Research confirms that inadequate water consumption will impair performance in tasks that require attention and immediate memory skills. And the more dehydrated you are, the more symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness and headaches could appear, all of which could negatively affect your game.

Considering these facts, let’s see how much water you need in your everyday life.

How much water should I drink?

This paper, which concentrated on water requirements, recommends 2,2 liters to 4,5 liters of water consumption a day, depending on your gender and the physical activity you generally practice. Here is a summarized table with the exact figures:

  Sedentary, Temperate Environment Physically Active and/or Increased Temperature 
Female Adult  2.2 liters 4.5 liters
Male Adult  2.9 liters 4.5 liters

As with most things, the exact volume depends on the individual and there are many factors (both internal and external) that will ultimately affect your need for water. So, the best solution is probably to try different volumes within these ranges and then define what works best for you.

How to consume water for maximum brain performance?

A dry mouth or simply being thirsty are the first indicators of the start of dehydration. But most chess grandmasters know very well you don’t need to wait for these signs to take action. Here are 3 rules you can follow to ensure your daily water intake is sufficient:

  • Begin each day with a full glass of water. It will fire up your metabolism and help you wake up.
  • Keep your water bottle by your side at all times – and drink it of course.
  • Develop a routine. Set timers or use apps to help you get into the water consumption habit at regular intervals.

Water boost

Before my experiment, I was not a fervent water drinker. I was simply drinking a glass from time to time. When I developed the water habit, I started seeing clear differences in my overall attentiveness the days when I drink enough water (yes it is still not perfect!).

By writing this article and reflecting on these results, I have decided to test another experiment and drink exclusively water during the month of September, to see if I can get even better results. The tournament taking place in 3 months now, it is time to jumps start my good resolutions. I will give you details of this experiment soon, as well as a complete feedback after my tournament.

Until then, don’t hesitate to follow the above recommendations and see by yourself why water is your best drinking ally for chess.