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Checkmate: Data from Last 125 Years Reveals Chess Players Peak in Their 30s, Plan Your Next Move Now

Chess board (Reuters Photo: Representation).

Chess board (Reuters Photo: Representation).

The analysis of as many as 24,000 games was done. These games were played between 1890 to 2014 by 4,000 players, including 20 world champions in the game of chess.

A new study, conducted with the help of data collected over a period of 125 years, reveals that the ability to play chess peaks around our 30’s.

Although our muscle mass starts to deteriorate after the age of 30 at a rate of 3 to 8 percent, it looks like the brain starts to get sharper in our 30s, as reported by Science Alert.

Based on the data, scientists have prepared a graph that takes into account the age of the player with their share of optimal moves, showing the peak performance age pattern of chess players between the years 1890 to 2014.

For the new study, analysis of 1.6 million individual moves was done using a computerised chess engine which ascertained the most optimal move. The analysis of as many as 24,000 games was done. These games were played between 1890 to 2014 by 4,000 players, including 20 world champions in the game of chess.

The findings also established that after hitting their peak in chess somewhere in their 30s, the players maintained it for around a decade, after which the performance started to decline.

Another graph was plotted that was about the experience of a chess player. The findings of this analysis were that a player can hit their peak at different time, depending on their experience. It can also be seen that in 1990s, when players got access to computerised chess gaming, their performance improved.

This implies that professional chess players today, who are accessing more knowledge at a younger age, can be expected to hit their cognitive peak sooner.

This new research adds to the knowledge on the subject of human cognition, exploring when we can expect to hit our cognitive peak.

It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America on October 19.

As per the report, in 2006, another study had found that unlike other physical activities, chess performance starts to decline at a much slower rate.

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