Performance Enhancing Drugs for Chess

I read an article recently on the chessbase website about how some chess players are improving their focus and concentration with the help of certain performance enhancing drugs. In particular, it described prescription medication such as Adderall. The article basically showed a study that proved these types of “brain drugs” can improve chess results by 15%! Even caffeine was proven to increase results by 9%. On top of that, college students are taking these drugs to help get through exams and long study sessions.

Needless to say, I was quite intrigued by this, so I started doing some research into the affects of Adderall and modafinil. Adderall is prescribed for those who have ADHD. Modafinil is prescribed for those who have sleep disorders.

The problem is both of these “brain drugs” have some potentially severe side effects. Each person is different, but the side effects for healthy people (ie, who do not have ADHD or sleep disorders) can range from minor headaches to death! For me, that was enough to convince me not to try these.

I decided that until I did more research, I would at least give caffeine a try during my tournament games. Up to this point in my life, I had not been a coffee drinker. Didn’t like the taste, didn’t think I needed the extra caffeine that comes with coffee. I tried it during my first games and it definitely helped with keeping me focused. I was impressed.

So now I had a benchmark. If caffeine could increase my focus and concentration, I began to imagine what other supplements could do for me. I continued my research and found out about nootropics.


Nootropics are all natural supplements designed to enhance brain focus, concentration, and short term memory. And the best part is you get this without the nasty side effects of Adderall or modafinil. I also read that nootropics are all the rage in Silicon Valley, where everyone from lawyers to business owners to scientists to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are using them on a daily basis. Sounds right up the alley for a chess player who has come this close to reaching his goal of reaching a rating of 2000. A little help staying focus during study sessions. A little help staying focused during the actual games. Count me in!

Turns out that there are already a TON of nootropics on the market. Choosing the right one was not going to be easy. I went with a brand that had one of the highest ratings in the market.


My package arrived just under a week ago. I felt the difference the first day I tried them. Understand that it supposedly takes about 40 days to feel the full effect of the nootropics. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like night and day or anything outrageous like that. But I did notice the increased focus I had when at work that day. When studying at night, I am able to concentrate better than I have in years (remember I have two young daughters at home now). Putting together this website and writing all of the content has become much easier also.


As with everything, there are negatives about nootropics. The biggest one for me is the cost. A 30 day supply runs about $60. You save about $10 a month by setting up a monthly recurrence order.

One other thing that is even more important. Like Adderall and modafinil, nootropics are not meant for healthy people under the age of 21. The reason is their brain hasn’t yet fully developed and these supplements may cause irreparable damage. Most nootropic manufacturers are actively working on making a product for those under the age of 21. For now, keep these away from your children!


It’s a little too early to tell just how big of a benefit nootropics will have on me, but I will be sure to let you know once I get to the 40 day mark. However, the first 5 days have been worth it. Once I get to the 40 day mark, I will create a product review of the nootropic that I am using (whether good or bad). I need to be convinced that the benefits will truly be worth the relatively high costs.

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any experience with either prescription meds or with nootropics. I’m definitely curious to know!


4 thoughts on “Performance Enhancing Drugs for Chess

  1. Wow what an insightful article!…For years friends have been telling me i should take adderall before a chess tournament because they believed my focus would be unbreakable. One friend even saying “you wouldnt lose a game”. Me knowing most drugs are addicting and just integrity reasons, I’ve never given Adderall a try. Safe to say, i never will….For years coffee has be known to have health benefits so its no surprise to me that it can potentially boost focus on the chess board. My only problem with coffee is after you get out of the opening and into the MiddleGame, the coffee is cold lol. Also makes your breath smell like a leather boot!!…As for your discover of NooTropics, i have never heard of it. I will now do my own research and maybe i will be an advocate as well… Good luck on the Chess Board, and Cheers on this cool Blog!!!…….


    1. I appreciate the comment. You mentioned one thing I forgot to put in my post – the addictive nature of Adderall and modafinil. Very true and another reason I decided to avoid.

      Also, you are right about the cold coffee! An hour into the games and I’m wishing the tournament was at Tim Horton’s. 🙂 Lucky for me, when I’m drecting tournaments for the Grosse Pointe Chess Club, we play at either Biggby’s or McDonalds.

  2. Hi there! Interesting article! As a recovering addict myself I definitely do not suggest Adderall which is basically prescription meth 🙂 and I don’t think meth is a good idea either! haha! For obvious reasons. 🙂
    I have wondered about nootropics though. I look forward to hearing about your end results!

    1. I appreciate your courage for sharing! I have a friend who uses Adderall for his ADHD and I’ve had the chance to see him on it. I had to ask him not to take them when he does construction jobs for me. He is dangerous on them. And I’m fortunate to say I’ve never knowingly met anyone on meth. I am anxiously waiting to tell the world about the nootropics. Still wont be for a couple of months though in order to give them time to reach their peak performance.

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