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Shelby Lyman on Chess: It’s Hardly a Cakewalk
Sunday, September 13, 2015
(Published in print: Sunday, September 13, 2015)

Few of us will question that life is synonymous with struggle. The humanly contrived competition that we call “sports” raises struggle to supernormal levels.

This is obvious in large-muscle endeavors such as football, boxing, rugby and tennis.

But chess?

Are we kidding?

How much effort can be involved in moving a diminutive pawn a few inches, or an opponent raising a skeptical eyebrow in response?

The not-so-obvious truth is that a tournament chess game is typically a draining experience. Heart rates and breathing can accelerate to levels experienced in football and boxing according to a 1970s Temple University study.

By the end of a long game, it can become difficult to think clearly.

In an average game of 40 or 50 moves and four or five hours of play, there are dozens of stressful moments in which the outcome of the game hangs in the balance.

In a recent tournament, the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, succumbed after 66 moves and seven hours of play.

In contrast, during a typical game, the average football player is on the field for less than 11 minutes of active play.

Chess is not so easy — hardly a cakewalk, even for the best chess player in the world.

Full article here.

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