Shelby Lyman on Chess: Standing Around
Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sports and games vary across the spectrum in their intensity. Competitive chess, despite its cerebral nature, is one of most intense and demanding. It has virtually no downtime.

From the moment the clock starts, the struggle begins. A single game may last four to six hours.

In sharp contrast is baseball. According to a July 12 Wall Street Journal study: “Fans see 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action over the course of a three-hour game.” Players spend most of their time standing around.

Action in the NFL was even less — 11 minutes for four quarters of football. Given the physical intensity of the sport, this finding seem to contradict common sense. But standing around and shuttling players in and out during various breaks dominates the game’s time.

Downtime need not mean inactivity. It can be a time for evaluation and decision-making, stresses the legendary tennis pro Billie Jean King.

The most successful players, she said, use that time productively

In chess, the struggle always continues. It is rare that both players are away from the board, although most players will take at least an occasional breather when their opponents are on the move.

Two of the most dominant players in history, Emanuel Lasker and Bobby Fischer, rarely got up from their seats during a game.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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