Zenith Experiment 4 – Can a glass of water help a kid beat Chess Grandmaster?

 06 Aug 2015

EXPERIMENT 4 | CAN A GLASS OF WATER HELP A KID BEAT CHESS GRANDMASTER?

It’s all too easy to take water for granted, it’s almost everywhere and it’s free. But new scientific research is suggesting that regularly drinking plain old H20 may give you remarkable powers.

This experiment brings together some implausible elements; a chess Grand Master, a 13-old kid, and heat, to be more precise - a sauna. The Grand Master will be handicapped, having to play the game of chess through a strategically placed hatch. The longer he spends in the room, the more dehydrated he gets, but is that enough to lose a game to a school kid?

In 2010 a group of researchers using an fMRI brain scanner confirmed what many had long suspected, dehydration actually shrinks your brain. That’s not all, they showed that a key area of the brain involved planning and visuo-spatial processing (a.k.a planning and problem solving) had to work a lot harder to maintain normal function. Remarkably, this is the very same area of the brain that is key to playing chess. 

All this means that whilst water can’t make you a chess champion, it certainly might help you beat one, especially if he’s sitting in a sauna. If you don’t believe us, take a look at the science for yourself.

EXPERIMENT 4 | THE SCIENCE BEHIND

 

Scientific reference:
Kempton MJ, Ettinger U, Foster R et al. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents. Human Brain Mapping, 2011 Jan;32(1):71-9

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