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Best Nootropics for Chess

Best Nootropics for Chess

“I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.” 
— Marcel Duchamp 

For thousands of years, people have used chess to exercise their minds. Chess's inherent nature necessitates mental acuity, memory, and imagination, among other cognitive abilities. However, while some chess lovers may not possess these abilities, some of the best nootropics for chess can enhance their mental capacity to play even professionally. 

The best nootropics for chess include; organic ashwagandha root extract, organic monnieri bacopa monnieri leaf extract, and n-acetyl l-tyrosine (NALT). These nootropics are contained in Maximum Mind in their cleanest and bioaccumulated forms. Read on to learn their individual benefits to help you improve your chess skills.

Certain brain-boosting nootropics for chess may assist improve critical cognitive functions involved in the game, promoting a peak-performing mental state that can help you win more games.

What Are Nootropics?

“The only difference between the master and the novice is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried.”
―Stephen McCranie

First things first, what are nootropics? Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian neuroscientist, coined the term nootropic (pronounced new-tropic) in 1972. He believed that smart drugs should be invented and made widely available for the purpose of enhancing the general population’s brain health and increasing human intelligence.

According to Dr. Giurgea’s findings, nootropics enhance cognition, memory, alertness, concentration, creativity, and attention. They became known as cognitive enhancers, substances that amplify the way the brain’s many cognitive functions operate and how we process information.

Simply put, cognitive enhancers (or nootropics or smart drugs) are prescription or off-the-counter drugs or supplements that enhance cognition. Some nootropics contribute to brain health, while others can be quite dangerous.

Since Marco’s Grounds only works with safe and natural compounds in their purest forms, we will restrain ourselves to natural nootropics that increase cognition safely for most of our discussions.

What Parts of the Brain Help With Chess?

“The formula of happiness and success is just being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can.”
— Meryl Streep

According to studies in Frontiers in Psychology, persons who play chess have significantly different brains than those who do not [1]. Grandmaster chess players, for example, exhibit increased activity in their frontal and parietal lobes, parts of the brain associated with problem-solving and recognition.

Chess is a model brain game due to the fact that it engages so many different parts of the brain. Chess can help improve memory and overall brain function. Much more than a simple board game or hobby, chess helps our brain in multiple ways. Listed here are a few of the most impressive ways chess benefits our brain.


The fusiform face area (FFA), which is normally allocated for facial identification, was found to be active in chess players while researchers in the Journal of Neuroscience studied a chessboard game. [2] Though both casual and expert players has increased FFA activity, those of the specialists were more active. However, why would a brain section specialized in face recognition be involved in chess?

Brain plasticity demonstrates that our brains are capable of adapting to similar challenges. Because the FFA initiates spatial processing for facial recognition, it readily lends itself to a similar chess process. Certain nootropics, such as Maximum Mind, contribute to brain plasticity.

Prefrontal Cortex

Perception, planning, and self-control are all governed by the prefrontal cortex. Additionally, it is one of the last brain regions to develop. Until this part of the brain matures, which typically occurs late in adolescence, our brains are scientifically immature. While top players have an uncanny ability to recall typical chess positions, how can children learn to play chess so well?

Chess activates the prefrontal cortex and promotes its development in immature players, assisting young players in developing planning, thinking, and perceptive skills earlier than children who do not play chess.

Frontal and Parietal Lobes

The parietal lobe is connected with vision, spatial recognition, and language processing – all of which can be aided by the best natural nootropics. Chess players of all abilities demonstrate enhanced language and reading abilities. The activation of the parietal lobe during a match may account for some of this.

The frontal lobe is home to the majority of the brain’s dopamine receptors, which are involved in regulating attention, short-term memory, planning, and reward. It is triggered when you are engaged in problem-solving activities, such as deciding on your next course of action.

Grandmaster chess players utilize the brain’s frontal cortex more than amateurs, according to a study found in the Journal of Psychophysiology, which experts undertook at the University of Konstanz in Germany. [3]

Medial Temporal Lobe

While grandmasters utilize the frontal lobe more, amateur chess players make greater use of the medial temporal lobe. This region, located between the frontal and parietal lobes, contains the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is primarily important for memory creation, whereas the medial temporal cortex acts as a repository for such memories. They function in tandem to enable us to maintain long-term memories, such as which moves to perform well in particular contexts and which do not.

Left and Right Brain

Chess requires using both the right and left brains to develop a comprehensive strategy that is both creative and rational. The right brain's visual information processing section recognizes patterns, while the analytical left side decides the most logical course of action. The brain combines the two processes, which is how chess moves are created.

Chess Player’s Tool Box

"The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda."
— John C Maxwell

Chess is a logic and strategy-based game. With multiple possible moves at any time, it's ideal for putting your cognitive abilities to the test. Numerous research has been conducted to determine how chess can enhance various brain functions. The following are some of the most important cognitive tasks you may use to improve your gameplay.


A 2004 study at Michigan State University revealed the critical importance of memory in chess, concluding that "the majority of the differences between great chess players appear to be in the number of game positions they know, rather than in their ability to select a solid move." [4]

Chess appears to be mostly a memory game for the very best players. According to some studies found in Cognitive Science, grandmasters memorize between 10,000 and 300,000 "chunks" of chess pieces. [5]


Without the capacity to dedicate 100% of your attention to each game action, it's challenging to forecast future movements and construct sophisticated plans. Your entire focus must be on the game and only the game.

Having a plan for regaining attention when your mind begins to wander is unquestionably beneficial. Likewise, activating the frontal lobe's attention-focusing dopamine neurons has the same effect.

Pattern recognition

Effective chess players are capable of recognizing and responding to intricate patterns. Indeed, one may argue that chess is a pattern identification game.

While other elements contribute, the capacity to identify patterns and evaluate several correlations concurrently is critical for victory. This is the point at which spatial awareness, planning, creative thinking, and problem-solving all come together.


Throughout a match, several ever-changing combinations are available. When no rational or tried-and-true method appears to be working, being imaginative can help you win the game. At the very least, devising a novel strategy of distracting your opponent - on the board, of course - can allow you some time to formulate a winning plan. Being creative isn’t always simple, even for artists and chess players, but certain nootropics for creativity can help motivate certain brain processes to enhance creativity.

Stress Management

Maintaining composure under duress can make the difference between making an informed, well-considered choice and making a costly error. The top grandmasters maintain a calm and serene demeanor during their games. Some even consult psychiatrists to assist them in managing stress during high-stakes contests such as the Olympiad. Certain nootropics for stress have the potential to improve mental clarity and reduce stress, which is a good management practice for a chess player. 

Beyond Deep Blue: Human Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence in Chess

“There are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure.” 
— Sophia Amoruso

Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion, for the first time in 1997. Although modern computers are superior to human opponents, human brains do have some benefits.

Computers are adept at tactics, but they are incapable of developing new methods, yet.

Human players are unquestionably superior at positional chess.

While the computer operates tactically, people think strategically and have access to cognitive skills that computers lack, such as pattern perception, creative manoeuvring, and even intuition.

Yer, even professionals struggle to defeat chess computers. The greats frequently hone their skills by playing against computers to acquire more moves and add more “chunks” to their memory banks.


“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
— Zig Ziglar

Chess Builds Brain Function in Children

Chess has been demonstrated to improve analytical, critical thinking, and imagery abilities, particularly in second and third graders, when the brain is undergoing fast development. On the other hand, according to studies at The University of Sydney, chess can help children of any age improve their focus, patience, critical thinking, and memory, as well as their creativity and intuition. [6]

Chess Preserves Mental Acuity in Older Adults

Children do not receive all of the benefits. A new study found in The New England Journal of Medicine discovered that persons over the age of 75 who play mental games such as chess are less likely to develop dementia than their non-player friends. [7] Dr. Robert Freidland, the study’s author, discovered that unused brain tissue, like unused muscles, deteriorates. This is yet another reason to play chess at any age.

Chess Brain Benefits Everyone In Between

Anyone can profit from the cognitive benefits of a good chess game at any age. It is never too late or too early to begin learning, and the more you play, the more brain capacity you will accumulate. Whether you’re a novice, a hobbyist, a grandmaster, or somewhere in between, all levels of play improve your brain in unique ways.

Peak Chess-Playing Age

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Chess players often peak in their early to mid-twenties. Chess, in many respects, resembles an extreme sport. To play chess at the highest level, one must have complete mind-body fitness. The majority of people reach their mental and physical zenith in their early to mid-twenties, which has a significant role in chess prowess. The best players demonstrate it:

Magnus Carlsen, the world's No. 1 chess player since 2011, won the 2013 World Championship at the age of 22.

Garry Kasparov, at the age of 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest uncontested World Chess Champion.

Anatoly Karpov became world champion at the age of 24 and retained the title for ten years until he was defeated by Gary Kasparov in 1985.

At the age of 29, Judit Polgár became the first woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament.

At the age of 25, Vladimir Kramnik won the Classical World Championship.

Maximum Mind as the Best Nootropics for Chess

“Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
— Napoleon Hill

Organic Ashwagandha Root Extract

Ashwagandha, often known as "Indian Ginseng," is a popular Rasayana, or medicinal plant, in Ayurvedic medicine (tonic). Rasayana is a supplement that has been shown to help high achievers, such as chess players, improve their physical and mental well-being.

As one of the best nootropics for chess, ashwagandha can help reduce stress and anxiety in chess players by lowering cortisol, the key stress hormone.

According to the Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines, ashwagandha improves cognition and memory and the ability to execute complex and simple tasks, such as playing chess [8].

Note: there’s an effective dose of organic ashwagandha full-spectrum root extract, standardized at 10% withanolides, and less than 1% withaferin A in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about ashwagandha on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or dig deeper into the benefits of ashwagandha here.

Organic Monnieri Bacopa Monnieri Leaf Extract

Bacopa is another adaptogen that might help you maintain your composure under duress. Also, it is a general memory booster that can aid in learning and memory retention, allowing you to construct new chunks of chess memory more quickly and retain them longer.

Included in Maximum Mind, bacopa monnieri may accelerate visual information processing, allowing you to make more precise decisions about your next moves. It stimulates the dopaminergic pathway in the frontal lobe too, but more importantly, it aids in brain transmission.

One study found in The New York Review of Books explains that chess and bacopa monnieri are believed to accelerate the formation of nerve terminals in the nervous system called dendrites. [9]

Note: there’s an effective dose of organic bacopa monnieri leaf extract at 50% minimum bacosides, in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more on bacopa on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or find out more about the benefits of bacopa here.

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)

NALT is a naturally occurring amino acid in the brain that modulates neurotransmitters such as dopamine. These neurotransmitters affect mood, memory, and cognitive processes such as pattern recognition and spatial perception.  NALT can decrease significantly in times of stress, impairing memory and decision-making.

L-Tyrosine has been shown in studies found in the Journal of Psychiatric Research to prevent the effects of NALT depletion while thinking under stress, hence preserving good cognitive function when it is most needed. [10]

Note: there’s an effective dose of L-tyrosine as N-acetyl L-tyrosine in in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about tyrosine on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or dig deeper into the benefits of tyrosine here.


“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” 
— Mario Andretti

In conclusion, we have covered how chess can help improve our cognitive levels at any age. We have also learned about the various brain parts involved in chess playing. The best nootropics for stress, such as Maximum Mind, can help you promote a winning mindset by enhancing strategy, memory, and stress tolerance.

You do not have to be a grandmaster to gain from chess's cognitive benefits. With Maximum Mind, you can get even higher cognitive benefits and chess success — winning more while promoting a more balanced brain.

Why not benefit from the best nootropics for chess in their purest form along with other clinically studied compounds for increasing brain and physical performance and health with Maximum Mind?


  1. Sala, G., Foley, J. P., & Gobet, F. (2017). The Effects of Chess Instruction on Pupils’ Cognitive and Academic Skills: State of the Art and Theoretical Challenges. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. 
  2. Bilalić M, Langner R, Ulrich R, Grodd W. Many faces of expertise: fusiform face area in chess experts and novices. J Neurosci. 2011 Jul 13;31(28):10206-14.
  3. Amidzic O, Riehle H, Elbert T. Toward a Psychophysiology of Expertise Focal Magnetic Gamma Bursts as a Signature of Memory Chunks and the Aptitude of Chess Players. Journal of Psychophysiology. 20, 2006, 4, pp.253-258.  
  4. Burns BD. The Effects of Speed on Skilled Chess Performance. Michigan State University. 2004.
  5. Fauconnier G, Turner, M. Conceptual Integration Networks. Cognitive Science, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 133-187, April-June 1998
  6. Dauverne P. The case for chess as a tool to develop our children's minds. The University of Sydney. Jul 2000.
  7. Verghese, J., Lipton, R. B., Katz, M. J., Hall, C. B., Derby, C. A., Kuslansky, G., Ambrose, A. F., Sliwinski, M., & Buschke, H. (2003). Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly. New England Journal of Medicine, 348(25), 2508–2516.
  8. Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An overview of Ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 8(5S).
  9. Kasparov G. The chess master and the computer. The New York Review of Books. 2010 Feb 11;57(2):16-
  10. Jongkees BJ, et al. Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands--A review. J Psychiatr Res. 2015 Nov;70:50-7.
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