Friday, May 5, 2017

The effect of drugs on chess

The Olympic has a strict policy to ban doping athletes. The organizer considers that drug users violate the spirit of sports. But how is it in the brain sports?

Recent studies suggest that modafinil and methylphenidate are potentially beneficial to the human in improving some kind of thinking ability. They are commonly used in patients with ADHD, a mental disorder with attention deficit. But their effect seems not limited to particular patients.

The effect of the stimulants is not to enhance cognitive skills. Users of stimulants tended to think slower, according to the study. The researchers hypothesized that they make the users think deeply rather than intuitively. In other words, they became willing to think deeper.

The Atlantic: On Cognitive Doping in Chess (and Life)

In recent years, it was said that the human thought is categorized into two patterns fast and intuitive thought and slow and penetrating thought. They are complementary to each other.

The World Chess Federation introduced drug testing in 1999 because of the possibility that chess would be admitted as an event of Olympic games. I think it is rational if such a drugs can change human mind. But there is room for reconsideration for people with ADHD getting prescribed a stimulant.

Furthermore, the WCF took into consideration to add caffeine to the list of banned drugs. It is excessive, I think. Caffeine use is not so harmful to human body unless an extraordinary amount is taken. One of the goals of the regulation is to protect the body of athletes. In this sense, banning tobacco should be prioritized because tobacco is more harmful than caffeine, and it has an effect on the cognitive function.

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