German scientists have found out that the drug Modafinil also known as the central nervous system stimulant of a methylphenidate type available in pharmacies has a positive effect on the cognitive abilities of chess players and influences the number of their victories in games, provided that players are not in a strict time frame.
In previous studies, specialists were convinced that such drugs are able to improve the cognitive performance of any player even if he or she had fatigue. However, it remained unknown how Modafinil, a drug from the class of analeptics and methylphenidate, a stimulant, a non-amphetamine-type stimulant may affect the playing qualities of a player and at his or her top abilities during a match.
During this study, the results of which were published in international reports, a whole team of scientists conducted a randomized trial between players who received:
- placebo drug.
Almost forty participants of the study (all male) were asked to play a set of games for a time, and the level of professionalism for each of the participants was chosen in accordance with the qualifications of these patients. During the four days, participants received various pills or a placebo. In total, more than 3 thousand chess games were subsequently analyzed.
It was found that players who received stimulants took more time to make a move, as a result of which they lost because of the exhaustion of the time limit. Thus, many games were lost. However, as it turned out during the main analysis of those matches that were lost, the medicines positively affected the number of points received by the players. The most serious effect of improving capabilities was recorded for Modafinil, while the main effect of caffeine was very modest.
The results surprised the authors of the experiment. According to them, these drugs did not affect the games’ speed very well but deepened the cognitive processes. The main point of this work was to understand that players had shown improvements if they were under no pressure of time. According to experts, Modafinil was able to give an improvement factor of about 0.05.
If the task is to correct slow players, then the effect will be equal to moving the player from position 5000 to position 3500 in the world top list. If to talk about the single game, taking drugs gives the advantage as if you were playing white figures, the course of which, as is known, is equal to the 5% increases the chances of winning. Such research concerns not only amateurs playing chess: the drug in principle is able to increase the concentration of attention and positively affect any action requiring mental activity. It is possible that the subsequently changed form of Modafinil will become a medicine for increasing productivity in training many activities.