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Chess is enjoyed by millions of people every day, and some doctors now believe it can be used to prevent dementia.

Dr. Ivan Vega of Spain, writing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2019, estimated there were 45 million people worldwide suffering from dementia. He listed 12 reasons to support the use of chess in the prevention of dementia, including research showing chess can delay normal cognitive aging.

“Interventions that postpone dementia onset by even two years would cut projected dementia prevalence in 2047 by 22 percent,” he said.

The Nova Scotia Department of Seniors believes in the benefits of chess as well, and is a major supporter of a Halifax-based festival called Pawn Wise. While the festival offers tournaments for all ages, two of the showcase events are restricted to players above 50 and above 65.

Each of those sections already has three international masters registered, including former Canadian champion Jean Hebert. Tournament organizer Roger Langen says that in addition to the chess competition, University of Texas professor Jack de la Torre will deliver a keynote address called “Putting a check to Alzheimer’s: cognitive stimulus for the aging brain.”

The festival runs July 29-Aug. 2. See chessns.ca for details.

Bobby Fischer v Viktor Korchnoi, Curacao, 1962

Handout

Korchnoi played competitively into his 80s. As Black, how does he quickly win?

After 33. … Qxg3 34. Nxg3 a2 Black will Queen his Pawn and be a Rook ahead. 33. … Bxg3 is also possible, since 34. Nd4 Qe3 prevents White from delivering perpetual check.