Best Nootropics for Chess


To improve your chess, first, improve your brain!

Here are the best nootropics for chess players.

nootropics and chess

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are drugs, supplements, and other substances that are claimed to improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.

Nootropics are often called cognitive enhancers, brain steroids, miracle drugs, and smart drugs. They’re just a way to boost your brain power.

Nootropics are necessary to improve their studies of games in middle and end games where it takes a lot more of the cognitive abilities. This list of cognitive abilities is needed for beginners and grandmasters alike such as:

  • Energy to prevent mental and physical fatigue
  • Heightened and longer duration of focus
  • Memory
  • Spatial Recognition
  • Motivation
  • Anxiety and stress reduction

nootropics in chess

Why take Nootropics?

Nootropics help you to function more efficiently and retain more information by focusing your mind on the task at hand. This helps you to absorb all the information more easily and store it in your brain for you to recall and apply on a task at hand.

With the help of nootropics, it will motivate you to perform during your lazy days. Your normal lazy days will be work with a never-ending cup half-full attitude.

“The principal doping in our profession is the desire to play, to struggle at the chessboard. It gives me strength, because when you don’t feel like playing but have to, you cannot do everything you could. As for food and beverages… in case of a professional approach it can be very promising. I think some stimulating agents could be suitable for chess. Any doping agent should be applied with care because in the event that you use it on a long-term basis, it can result in severe consequences.” – GM Alexander Grischuk

More comments here.

Chess nootropics

By taking nootropics, it will help you continuously play a lot of games when you can’t even play for 6 hours. By playing a series of games, you will learn all your mistakes and store them in your brain then recall if the same line of moves will occur again.

Chess and doping

Have you ever heard about Chess WADA Anti-Doping Policy?

Not all nootropics are legal in the field of chess. It does increase your cognitive functions, but it also destroys the beauty of the game.

Anti nootropics

The most relevant banned substances for chess are:

  • Amphetamines – e.g. Adderall, Ritalin
  • Ephedrine and Methylephedrine – Prohibited by WADA when its concentration in urine is greater than 10 micrograms per milliliter
  • Pseudoephedrine is prohibited when its concentration in urine is greater than 150 micrograms per milliliter
  • Modafinil

Substances not present on the Prohibited List but represented in the Monitoring Program:

  • Caffeine – Included in WADA Monitoring Program and relevant for in-competition testing only. Any urine test reading of fewer than 12 micrograms per milliliter poses no problem.
  • Codeine – A common ingredient in, for example, preparations used to treat coughs and stomach upsets. Any dosage is highly unlikely to be significant when taken in normal therapeutic quantities.

The 2018 WADA Prohibited List and Monitoring Program can be found here.

FIDE believes that cognitive enhancements will destroy the reputation of the game. Its essence and creativeness with sheer head-to-head calculation and creativity of two players on the opposite side of the board. This is the beauty of chess. A battle of wits and preparation, not a battle of who has taken more supplements.

This game is dated back to the 1500s and must stay as before to respect all the contributions from the giants in the past. Caffeine and codeine are not categorized as illegal but under the monitoring program. FIDE believes that a medium dosage of caffeine or codeine will give nonsignificant brain enhancements.

History of Nootropics

Now that we established the rules of the game about doping policy, other nootropics are available and legalized. As seen before in the article, caffeine or codeine are legal as long as taken in medium dosage. Even coffee has also its drawback. Heartburn, poor mineral absorption, and addiction are the disadvantage of using too much coffee. Caffeine tolerance develops very quickly in which the effects of alertness will decrease as consumption increases. Coffee also causes your kidney’s ability to absorb and store the minerals you intake.

player while using nootropics

Nicotine, which in the past is popularly used, is also a nootropic. People are smoking and puffing smoke which is very different in today’s times. It is very rare to find an expert chess player smoking and overweight. Smoking today can cause a distraction to the players and might lose the opposing player’s focus.

There are even cases that a player will smoke when playing in a losing or complicated position. Smoking does alleviate anxiety or nervousness which is why it is categorized as a nootropic. Smoking is not exempted from its drawbacks. It still gives health problems to the user for long-term consumption such as lung cancer, difficulty of breathing, dry lips, etc.

nootropics while playing

When to use Nootropics?

Nootropics can be used for studying your games for leisure. It can also be used during lazy days which needed more motivation. Nootropics are beneficial for coping with stress and anxiety when playing with your long-time rival or disrespecting an opponent online. It will be beneficial for playing long continuous hours just to meet your quota in your daily puzzles and classical games.

It can also help to increase your mental and physical endurance to remain focused. With these, you will be prepared when you already have the experience to play longer hours and more complex lines of moves. Remember to use in moderation and use it in a proper dosage. Be cautious on using different kinds of nootropics and consult a physician when experiencing complications.

nootropics in chess

Best Nootropics for Chess Players 

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro targets a whole wide of range of the brain’s cognitive abilities that you’ll desire as a chess player. It is mixed with ingredients that are natural and legal from the Anti-Doping policy. It enhances focus, increases learning capacity, reduces stress, promotes neurogenesis, and protects the brain from oxidative stress.  The ingredients of Mind Lab Pro are shown in the image below.

nootropics ingredients

This supplement not only helps your brain activities but also helps maintain your brain’s health. The ingredients of the supplement are tested in the UK under FDA-approved labs. As you can see in the image above, the ingredients are not categorized as illegal under the Chess WADA Anti-Doping Policy.

Taking Mind Lab Pro® during competition, I’ve noticed that my concentration has improved. I’m able to concentrate for longer periods of time. Mind Lab Pro®…is a godsend. I will be recommending it to some of my friends and colleagues, but I will not be recommending it to my closest competitors.” – GM Nigel Short

Mind Lab Pro enhances a lot of cognitive abilities which is why it is the best supplement for chess players, amateur and grandmaster alike. This helps a lot with memory, long-term focus, mental and physical stamina, and mood.

Maybe it will not guarantee a win for your opponents at your level but it sure does give you an edge against them. This is not only used for chess players but in other high-performing fields such as programming, esports player, Olympic athletes, officials, and CEOs.

best nootropics

The only thing that will hinder you from buying this is its price and results will vary with people. I recommend consulting a physician before taking the said nootropic. You can also use this for your studies on your games or playing long hours of chess.

You can use this during your low-performing days or your unmotivated episodes in your life. There is a lot of ways you can use the supplement. Think about the potential when using the supplement. The days that you can’t function well because of stress or too much distraction in your life or procrastination and the pressure set from your boss or fans or colleagues can be solved using this supplement.


  • FDA approved facilities
  • Data-driven and statistically analyzed
  • Formula free from illegal ingredients categorized by Chess WADA Ant-Doping Policy


  • Price
  • Allergic reaction depending on your body

Only buy direct from their website to make sure that you get the real thing.

Performance Lab® Organic MCT Oil

Performance Lab supplement is comprised of non-illegal ingredients as categorized by the WADA Anti-doping policy. This also has effects that target some of the desired benefits that are mentioned. The ingredients help you to alleviate your mood, increase alertness, energy, and memory. The image below shows you the ingredients and their nutrition facts.

nootropics ingredient

MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil are fats that are digested more easily and can found in coconut oil. This goes to your liver and is broken down to ketones. Ketones are used in the citric acid cycle to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). Just like after exercise, it will alleviate your mood and increase alertness.

MCT oil could also help weight loss because of its satiating properties compared to coconut oil. MCTs are fats that are used in your liver as a source of energy. These fats then are converted to ketones which are used as a source of energy for your brain. This is healthy for daily use and the MCT are triple-filtered and calibrated to 60% C8 and 40% C10.

nootropics for brain

Performance lab is the combination of the benefits from coconut oil and MCTs which is best than taking coconut oil or MCTs individually. This is also suitable for vegans because it contains no soy, egg, etc.


  • Organic ingredients derived from non-GMO organic coconuts.
  • Suitable for vegans
  • Healthy for daily use
  • Affects mood, alertness, energy, and memory
  • Maintains the health of your brain


  • Price
  • Not standardized for all individual

Still, MCT has its downside because of its process that might harm the individual’s body. MCT may foster ketogenesis or metabolic acidosis, people with diabetes or liver problems should avoid MCT (Berger P. Axona, 2012)

Performance Lab® Omega-3

Omega-3 different from the 2nd supplement because of its ingredient. This supplement consists of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s benefits are mainly from ELA and DHA. These can also be found in fatty fish.

This helps not only for a chess player but for a normal living being. It helps prevent cardiovascular diseases, protects against bad cholesterol, boosts brain activity, and alleviates your mood, and improves eye health. Omega-3 is also used for ADHD and depressed individuals.

nootropics formula

Warning: DO NOT use if pregnant, nursing, or under the age of 18. Consult with your doctor before taking this or any supplement if you have or suspect a medical condition and are taking any medication. If you experience any adverse reactions from taking this product discontinue immediately and contact your doctor.

Similar to the 2nd supplement, this is also suitable for vegans. Omega-3 is backed with a lot of research from the past until this day and continues to be used for its benefits. As I said before, omega-3s can also be taken from fatty fish. The drawbacks of eating fishes are its price and polluted environment the fish is growing.

Fortunately, omega-3s can also be taken from algae just like the supplement. Algae is the best source because it can be controlled, clean, safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly. The supplement is produced in the USA with state-of-the-art facilities using proprietary fermentation.

benefits for nootropics

To compare this to other products like fish oil or fatty fish, this supplement gives no fishy taste and odor. This is pure, clean, and high shelf-life. This is supplied in NurtiGels®, 100% natural and made from tapioca.


  • Derived from 100% natural ingredients
  • Backed with scientific evidence that can benefit all individuals
  • Targets all the desired effects for the chess players
  • Proven and tested with good reviews


  • Price
  • Not suitable for every individual such as pregnant people.

nootropics for players


Nootropics have come a long way. From nicotine, coffee, and teas to scientifically researched pills or supplements. Taking nootropics or a good night’s sleep does not guarantee a win just as elite players said.

All they want is to play chess consistently and motivate themselves from stressful or distractive days. This does not mean that we’ll ignore the benefits of using nootropics but be wary of the side effects and the Anti-doping policy.

These can be used in your studying times or tournaments. There is nothing that beats preparation, study, and be optimistic if win or lose. Remember to consult a physician before taking a nootropic. I’ve researched a lot for this article but that doesn’t mean I am already an expert. Good luck with your chess career.


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  2. The 2018 WADA Prohibited List and Monitoring Program can be found at:
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