Do Chess Players Burn Calories While in the Game?

Do chess players burn calories while they play a game of chess? This might seem like a strange question because chess is essentially a board game where you sit immobile, frying your brains, trying to come up with the best possible move that will help you win. How can a game in which you are forced to sit still for hours on end make you lose weight? 

However, the answer to the question is yes. Chess players do burn calories and lose weight when playing chess. This is not so apparent in the case of amateur chess players but is common in professional chess players and grandmasters. 

Do Chess Players Burn Calories

And the interesting part is that the amount of calories lost is not insignificant. In fact, chess players can lose up to 80-100 calories per hour on average. Grandmasters lose much more than that at a much faster rate. There have also been instances where chess matches have been canceled due to this fast weight loss in players.

Playing chess can make you lose weight just as much as any physical activity like gardening or walking. Sometimes chess grandmasters lose as much weight as they would by running on the treadmill. Some elite chess players are said to have up to 6000 calories a day during chess tournaments. 

How do Chess Players Lose Weight?

Losing weight while sitting down and playing chess might seem like a shortcut to staying slim. But losing calories through chess is not very healthy or recommended. This is because most of the weight loss comes through stress.

Yes, chess players go through incredible amounts of stress when they play in tournaments. This includes the pressure to win, the pressure to make the right move and to not blunder and keep up the reputation of the country they represent. Stress is a huge factor in the weight loss of chess players. 

Another reason chess players lose weight is due to the brain working hard. The brain is a highly active organ that requires lots of energy to work. When you are involved in a mentally exhausting task, you often tend to feel hungry because the brain burns calories fast. 

Increased brain activity also leads to an increase in the heart rate. This, in turn, speeds up our metabolism. This process also known as Cerebral Metabolism is one of the key reasons why we tend to lose weight even when sedentary. 

Professional chess players also tend to lose weight due to various other reasons, like lack of sleep and a decrease in appetite. Players lose a lot of sleep over the course of a tournament, thinking of strategies and devising new ways to win over their opponents. And they also suffer from a decrease in their appetites due to stress or simply because they don’t give themselves enough time to eat.

So as you see, losing weight through chess is not always healthy. The grandmaster Magnus Carlsen combines physical exercises and an exclusive diet to help keep him fit. Losing weight while playing chess is common, but it’s always best to strike a balance between healthy physical exercises and a strong diet.

When chess players seem to lose weight too fast or too much, the tournament will most likely be canceled. This happened during the 1984 championships in Moscow, in a match between Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. Anatoly Karpov reportedly lost over 22 pounds, which was why the matches were called off.

Do Chess Players Burn Calories? Conclusion

Yes, elite chess players lose an incredible amount of calories and burn as much as 6000 calories per day. On average, a chess player can lose from 80-100 calories an hour. But losing weight too fast while playing chess is not recommended as most of it comes through stress. It is always best to combine physical exercise and a healthy diet with playing chess. 

Also read: How much does playing chess increase IQ?

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