Air Quality may have an Effect on Cognition as Seen by How well Chess Players Perform


eMediNexus    03 February 2023

According to a study published in the journal Management Science, when there is more fine particulate matter in the air, chess players perform objectively worse and make more unfavorable moves. In the report, which was co-authored by a researcher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it was revealed that the researchers evaluated and measured the chess players′ movements through a computer analysis of their games. To be more precise, the likelihood that chess players will make a mistake increased by 2.1%, and the severity of those mistakes increased by 10.8%, with a small rise in fine particulate matter.


For the study, the researchers measured carbon dioxide, PM2.5 concentrations, and temperature within the tournament venue using three web-connected sensors, all of which can be impacted by outdoor circumstances even in an enclosed space. Each tournament lasted eight weeks, making it possible to investigate the relationship between variations in air quality and variations in player performance.


The researchers used data from 20 years′ worth of games from the top division of the German Chess League in a replication exercise and discovered the same effects of air pollution on some of the greatest chess players in history. The researchers also employed software that analyzed each move performed in a chess game, identified the best moves, and highlighted critical mistakes to measure player performance. 


According to the findings of the study, PM2.5 exposure levels at the tournaments varied from 14 to 70 micrograms per cubic meter of air, which are exposure levels that are typical of US cities and other urban areas. The regulations of the competition required 40 moves to be completed in 110 minutes, for moves 31–40 in all matches. The findings showed that an increase in air pollution of 10 micrograms per cubic meter resulted in a rise in the likelihood of error of 3.2% and an increase in the magnitude of those errors of 17.3%. 


(Source: https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/health/chess-players-performance-affected-by-air-quality-suggesting-impact-on-cognition-study-475937 )

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