Health benefits of brain games

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Mick Norris
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:03 pm

Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:11 pm

Having had cause to look at that website for a few other things, it really is incredibly objective, balanced and sensible about things.

David Robertson
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by David Robertson » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:00 pm

Most of the dementia-garbage in the Press is simply clickbait. It trades on 'news' as fact; that is; a false optimism based on a presumably trusted source. Alas, as with much else, it retains a grip on beleaguered folk. "Bananas help arthritis"; "a poem a day keeps constipation at bay"; "Brexit means taking back control". I made that lot up - in case you wondered.

And in case you wondered, playing chess doesn't improve your cognitive ability; it doesn't even improve your chess-playing ability.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:13 pm

David Robertson wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:00 pm
And in case you wondered, playing chess doesn't improve your cognitive ability; it doesn't even improve your chess-playing ability.
Its not guaranteed to, but it can help :wink:
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:46 pm

Only if you've not played it before I'd hazard :)

For people who've already played chess a chunk I'd think the evidence that merely playing the game doesn't produce an improvement has to rate as pretty overwhelming!

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:07 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:46 pm
For people who've already played chess a chunk I'd think the evidence that merely playing the game doesn't produce an improvement has to rate as pretty overwhelming!
It is most likely that the reasons for improving or not improving have little to do with the act of playing chess. But those who are able to improve, generally have to play chess to improve. I have heard anecdotally that some people get very good by playing a lot. It is difficult to tell if they would have improved to the same level if they had taken a different approach.

Maybe a suitable experiment would be to take someone who is familiar with the game, and see if an improvement can be produced by intensive study that doesn't involve actually playing chess. Surely, though, to learn the lessons of what you are studying, you have to play games of chess to put the theory into practice, as the saying goes.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:37 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:07 pm
It is most likely that the reasons for improving or not improving have little to do with the act of playing chess. But those who are able to improve, generally have to play chess to improve.
I’m quite sure that for "getting good at chess" playing a lot is necessary but not sufficient in and of itself. Depends partly on how you define "getting good", of course.

The reason why most of us don’t get better after playing for years is that we don’t play enough and don’t do the right things in between games. Equally, if we went to the gym for a 3 hour session 20-30 times a year (if that) and did nothing else we probably wouldn’t lose weight either.



With regard to the brain games and dementia research, there was an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday
https://www.theguardian.com/science/bra ... s-that-bad

which begins by asking "why do myths continue to trump science?" and ends

... these beliefs need to be understood – and if necessary confronted – in the way that all magical thinking should be: as an expression of desire and the need for consolation.


Rather apropos, I would say.

When I first began writing about spurious claims made about chess and dementia I found it rather surprising that chess players seemed to be just as vulnerable to this sort of claptrap as everybody else. We’re supposed to be logical thinkers, after all.

Later I came to realise that actually as a group we’re *more* likely to tolerate bull**it than the general population. The culture of deference to elo rating on matters off the board as well as on means that bullshitters, self-promoters and the generally dim tend to be given a free ride.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:12 pm

"https://www.theguardian.com/science/bra ... s-that-bad"

Yes, that's rather good.

Apart from chess players, scientists can be credulous as well. I recall watching Uri Geller's appearance on Panorama years ago, and a trained scientist was saying how amazing it was when Geller did what many thought was an obvious bit of sleight of hand and misdirection. ("Restarting" a broken watch.) This scientist had also studied stage magic...

Bill Porter
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Bill Porter » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:28 pm

David Robertson wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:00 pm
Most of the dementia-garbage in the Press is simply clickbait. It trades on 'news' as fact; that is; a false optimism based on a presumably trusted source. Alas, as with much else, it retains a grip on beleaguered folk. "Bananas help arthritis"; "a poem a day keeps constipation at bay"; "Brexit means taking back control". I made that lot up - in case you wondered.

And in case you wondered, playing chess doesn't improve your cognitive ability; it doesn't even improve your chess-playing ability.
"I made that lot up" is a rather unwise claim in this thread. :)

https://www.livestrong.com/article/4701 ... arthritis/

Good for depression too.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/1646 ... epression/

David Robertson
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by David Robertson » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:06 pm

Bill Porter wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:28 pm
David Robertson wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:00 pm
Most of the dementia-garbage in the Press is simply clickbait. It trades on 'news' as fact; that is; a false optimism based on a presumably trusted source. Alas, as with much else, it retains a grip on beleaguered folk. "Bananas help arthritis"; "a poem a day keeps constipation at bay"; "Brexit means taking back control". I made that lot up - in case you wondered.

And in case you wondered, playing chess doesn't improve your cognitive ability; it doesn't even improve your chess-playing ability.
"I made that lot up" is a rather unwise claim in this thread. :)

https://www.livestrong.com/article/4701 ... arthritis/
Good heavens! That's a remarkable 'find'! Now get busy with the poetry :)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:43 pm

An old work colleague eagerly ate a banana every morning. He now suffers from arthritis, so I am not convinced... It would be very unfair if it didn't work for him.

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John Clarke
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by John Clarke » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:11 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:43 pm
An old work colleague eagerly ate a banana every morning. He now suffers from arthritis, so I am not convinced... It would be very unfair if it didn't work for him.
I have one most days. No arthritis yet (even though my grandma had it something chronic).
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

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JustinHorton
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:12 am

"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Mick Norris
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:42 am

John Foley's not got a good track record, has he? You'd think the ECF would have realised this by now, but we might not live long enough to get to that point
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Health benefits of brain games

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:02 pm

I groaned as well. I suspect that having a long history of doing "brain games" might (maybe, possibly) be some use. A professional footballer breaks a leg and recovers more quickly than an ordinary person. Similarly, a life-long chess player, or cruciverbalist or sudokoist (OK I invented that one) might recover better from a stroke or keep dementia at bay. (However, that didn't apply to a relative who was always mentally very active.) But suddenly starting chess etc at age 80 probably won't help, same as suddenly playing football at age 80 probably won't help you if you break a leg!

The rest of the "chess is sport" article said other strange things as well, but that need not detain us here.

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