COULD we soon be checkmating Alzheimer’s? There is a growing body of medical evidence that playing board games such as chess to keep the mind sharp is an effective way of reducing the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other mental illnesses.
A couple of years ago, we highlighted in this column research published in The Lancet from the University of California on the benefits of playing chess in old age as it helps in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s and other deterioration of mental faculties. Now a new study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in America, also shows that people over 75 who engaged in leisure activities such as chess are two and a half times less likely to have the debilitating illness.
The study’s main author, Dr Robert Freidland, claims people who don’t exercise their grey matter stand a chance of losing cognitive power. While solving crossword and sudoko puzzles are beneficial, they appear less effective than chess. Doctors may soon be recommending a game of chess in addition to a healthy diet and physical exercise for older patients.
Meanwhile. at the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece, Gata Kamsky outplayed Rustam Kasimdzhanov to now join Fabiano Caruana in the lead at the top, with both on 5/7.
Standings: 1-2. Kamsky, Caruana, 5/7; 3. Dominguez, 4.5; 4-5. Ponomariov, Grischuk, 4; 6-7. Topalov, Morozevich, 3.5; 8-9. Nakamura, Kasimdzhanov, 3; 10-11. Bacrot, Svidler, 2.5; 12. Ivanchuk, 1.5.
R Kasimdzhanov - G Kamsky
Thessaloniki Grand Prix, (7)
1 d4 f5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 g3 g6 4 Bg2 Bg7 5 0–0 0–0 6 c4 d6 7 Nc3 c6 8 b3 a5 9 Bb2 Na6 10 d5 Bd7 11 Nd4 cxd5 12 Nxd5 Nc5 13 Rb1 Nfe4 14 e3 Rc8 15 h4 Rf7 16 Ba1 h6 17 a4 g5 18 hxg5 hxg5 19 g4 e6 20 Nc3 Nxc3 21 Bxc3 f4 22 Re1 b6 23 Rc1 Qf8 24 Nf3 Bxc3 25 Rxc3 Qg7 26 Rc1 Bc6 27 exf4 gxf4 28 g5 e5! 29 Qxd6 e4 30 Ne5 Qxg5 31 Nxf7 Kxf7 0–1