I suppose that participation in international open tournaments has a positive mental effect on most amateur players. As for the professionals involved, if they have other sources of income and also don't suffer from untreated issues then I can't see any mental health risk. Concerning international closed tournaments, there players have already been preselected both by their coaches and the organisers, thus I assume most of them should be well-adjusted.

  • I think you are touching an interesting topic, but perhaps with the wrong entry point. I think stress and anxiety can occur in many different situations and are as far as I know normal reactions. I see no direct link to mental health issues in such reactions. To expand on this, do you mean that chess can gradually lead to mental health issues? Do you have any examples? Perhaps the question can be better formulated and lead to better answers. Jan 13, 2021 at 20:59
  • While an interesting question, I'm not convinced this is the right place for it. This exchange tends to be frequented by chess experts, to answer your question would require a mental health expert, which is a completely different field
    – Darren H
    Jan 14, 2021 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


if there are certain talented players who should not become competitively active cause of their mental health status

On the contrary, there are many chess players, successful and otherwise, who get relief from their mental problems by playing chess. Fischer and Bloodgood are probably at the extreme end of mental disturbance but there are many at all the levels below that.

Victor Kortchnoi, in his famous world championship match with Karpov, is another famous example at a lower level of mental disturbance.

others who could become successful only under the supervision of a mental health practitioner

Again, I think you have it the wrong way round. Without their mental health problems many strong GMs wouldn't be that strong.

  • 5
    Do you have any references to substantiate the claim that "without their mental health problems, many strong GMs wouldn't be that strong"? The "tortured genius" is quite a trope, and I am immediately suspicious at attempts to glamorize mental health. Jan 13, 2021 at 14:33
  • While it is common thought that Fischer had mental health problems, at least some professionals in the field disagree, including some who knew him. They say that he generally exhibited normal behavior within the context of someone who subscribed to a variety of conspiracy theories (alas, not unlike a lot of other people nowadays).
    – GreenMatt
    Jan 13, 2021 at 20:08
  • 2
    This is one of the few answers I am actually considering to downvote. It is one thing to say that some chess players suffer from mental health problems. It is another thing to say that mental health problems somehow make someone better at chess. Jan 13, 2021 at 20:54

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