Use of Biotechnological Devices in the Quantification of Psychophysiological Workload of Professional Chess Players

  • Juan P. Fuentes
  • Santos Villafaina
  • Daniel Collado-Mateo
  • Ricardo de la Vega
  • Narcis Gusi
  • Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez
Education & Training
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Emergent Visualization Systems in Biomedical Sciences (TEEM 2017)


Psychophysiological requirements of chess players are poorly understood, and periodization of training is often made without any empirical basis. For this reason, the aim of the present study was to investigate the psychophysiological response and quantify the player internal load during, and after playing a chess game. The participant was an elite 33 year-old male chess player ranked among the 300 best chess players in the world. Thus, cortical arousal by critical flicker fusion threshold, electroencephalogram by the theta Fz/alpha Pz ratio and autonomic modulation by heart rate variability were analyzed. Data revealed that cortical arousal by critical flicker fusion threshold and theta Fz/alpha Pz ratio increased and heart rate variability decreased during chess game. All these changes indicated that internal load increased during the chess game. In addition, pre-activation was detected in pre-game measure, suggesting that the prefrontal cortex might be preparatory activated. For these reasons, electroencephalogram, critical flicker fusion threshold and heart rate variability analysis may be highly applicable tools to control and monitor workload in chess player.


Chess game EEG Critical cliker fusion Elite chess player HRV Mental load 



In the framework of Spanish National R + D + i Plan, the current study has been cofunded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness with the reference DEP2015-70356. Also, the author DCM is supported by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (FPU14/01283) and the author SV is supported by a grant from regional department of economy and infrastructure of the Government of Extremadura and European Social Fund (PD16008). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Sport ScienceUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  2. 2.Facultad de EducaciónUniversidad Autónoma de ChileTalcaChile
  3. 3.Department of Physical Education, Sport & Human MovementAutonomous University of MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.Applied Psychophysiological Research Group, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Department of Sport ScienceEuropean University of MadridMadridSpain
  5. 5.Grupo de Investigación en Cultura, Educación y SociedadUniversidad de la CostaBarranquillaColombia

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