Top 5 Nootropics for Serious Chess Players in 2024

Updated on January 26, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Enhancing strategic chess thinking through nootropics.

Are you struggling to keep up with your chess game and feeling like there’s something missing?

Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, the right supplement may be just what you need to improve your chess skills. Enter nootropics: supplements designed to seriously enhance cognitive function and improve mental clarity.

With so many options available, we’ve narrowed down the top five nootropics that chess players can benefit from. Incorporating these into your routine can improve your chess strategy, memory, and focus. Get ready to improve your gameplay with these serious nootropics.

Nootropics Most Optimal for Chess

  • Feedamind — Best supplement for critical thinking and mental sharpness
  • Mind Lab Pro — Best for enhancing various brain functions
  • Modafinil — Great for enhancing pattern recognition and spatial perception
  • Caffeine — Best to achieve peak-performing mental state
  • Ashwagandha — Great for boosting language and reading skills

How to Choose a Nootropic to Help Improve Your Chess Game?

Selecting the a nootropic requires understanding the specific cognitive demands of the game and how various supplements can support enhanced mental performance.

FactorDescriptionWhy It’s Important
Ingredient QualityHigh-quality, well-researched ingredients should be used in the formulation.Ensures effectiveness and safety.
Cognitive TargetsThe nootropic should target cognitive functions relevant to chess, such as focus, memory, and stress.Directly impacts chess playing ability.
Side Effect ProfilePotential side effects and their severities should be minimal.Promotes sustained use and health.
Scientific BackingSupplements should have scientific studies supporting their use.Verifies claims and expected outcomes.
CompatibilityThe nootropic should align with the user’s health status and other medications.Prevents adverse interactions.
  • Ingredient Quality: A nootropic’s efficacy largely depends on the quality of its ingredients. Premium ingredients that are pure and properly sourced can enhance the brain’s performance without causing harm.
  • Cognitive Targets: Chess requires strategic thinking and endurance. Nootropics that improve memory, focus, and stress resilience can help maintain a competitive edge during long, intense matches.
  • Side Effect Profile: The ideal nootropic for chess should have minimal to no side effects, allowing for consistent use without compromising the player’s health or performance.
  • Scientific Backing: Reputable nootropics are backed by scientific research, providing evidence for their effectiveness in enhancing cognitive functions critical to chess.
  • Compatibility: Each individual’s health profile is unique. It’s crucial that the nootropic chosen does not interfere with existing medical conditions or medications, ensuring safe usage.

The Top Nootropics of 2024

According to our in-depth testing and research, these smart drugs are the top performers for this mentally demanding game.

1. Feedamind

One of the top nootropics for chess is Feedamind. Feedamind is a natural and legal supplement that targets a wide range of cognitive abilities that chess players desire. It contains ingredients that are tested and approved under the Chess WADA Anti-Doping Policy, ensuring its safety for use during competitions. This supplement enhances focus, increases learning capacity, reduces stress, promotes neurogenesis, and protects the brain from oxidative stress.

The ingredients in Feedamind have been carefully selected to not only improve brain function but also maintain the overall health of the brain. It is mixed with natural and legal ingredients, making it a safe choice for both amateur and grandmaster chess players. One of the key benefits of Feedamind is its ability to improve memory and long-term focus. Chess is largely a game of memory among the best players, and having a supplement that enhances cognitive function can be extremely helpful in remembering tactics, opening theory, and pattern recognition.

Another great advantage of Feedamind is its ability to increase mental and physical stamina. Chess players often need to play long continuous hours to meet their practice goals or compete in tournaments. Feedamind helps players remain focused and perform at their best, even during long and mentally challenging games.


  • Helps improve memory and attention
  • Supports mental focus and concentration
  • Enhances learning and information retention
  • Boosts brain energy and productivity


  • May not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions
  • May not provide instant or immediate effects

It is important to note that while nootropics like Feedamind provides cognitive enhancements, they should be used responsibly and in moderation. It is always recommended to consult with a physician before starting any new supplement or medication. With its natural and legal ingredients, Feedamind is a great choice for chess players looking to boost their cognitive abilities and enhance their chess skills.

2. Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is a nootropic supplement that is specifically designed to enhance cognitive function and support brain health. It contains a combination of natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to improve memory, focus, and mental clarity. One of the key ingredients in this supplement is Citicoline, an adaptogen that helps to reduce stress and enhance mood.(1) By soothing the sympatho-adrenal system, Phosphatidylserine helps chess players stay calm and focused during high-pressure situations.(2) Another important ingredient is Bacopa Monnieri, which not only boosts memory and cognitive function but also speeds up visual information processing.(3) This allows chess players to make more accurate and strategic moves. Additionally, Mind Lab Pro contains N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT), an amino acid that regulates neurotransmitters in the brain and helps to counteract the effects of stress on memory and decision-making.(4)


  • Enhances cognitive performance and mental clarity
  • Improves memory and learning abilities
  • Supports overall brain health and function
  • Increases attention span and focus


  • Results may vary and may not be experienced by everyone
  • May take time to show noticeable improvements
  • Possible side effects may occur such as headaches or sleep disturbances

With the help of these natural ingredients, Mind Lab Pro can give chess players a competitive edge by improving their mental performance and overall brain health. However, it is important to consult a physician before taking any nootropic supplement to ensure it is safe and suitable for your specific needs.

3. Modafinil

Modafinil is a widely known nootropic that has gained popularity among chess players. With its ability to enhance cognitive function, it has become a popular choice for those looking to boost their chess skills. Modafinil works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, which helps to improve focus and alertness.(5) This can be particularly beneficial during long chess matches where concentration is key.

One of the main advantages of Modafinil is its ability to promote wakefulness and reduce fatigue. This is crucial for chess players who often have to spend hours analyzing positions and making strategic moves. With the help of Modafinil, players can stay mentally sharp and focused for extended periods of time, giving them a competitive edge.

However, it is important to note that Modafinil is a prescription medication and should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional. It may cause some minor side effects or may interact with other medications. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a doctor before considering the use of Modafinil.


  • Increases wakefulness and promotes alertness
  • Enhances concentration and focus
  • Effective in treating sleep disorders such as narcolepsy
  • Enhances productivity and performance levels


  • May disrupt sleep patterns and cause insomnia
  • Potential for dependency or abuse, especially when misused
  • Not recommended for individuals with certain medical conditions or psychiatric disorders

In conclusion, Modafinil can be a valuable tool for chess players looking to improve their performance. Its ability to enhance focus, alertness, and cognitive function makes it an attractive choice for those seeking an edge in the game. However, it is important to use it responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure safety and efficacy.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine is a popular and widely consumed nootropic that provides a natural boost to your chess skills. It is found in coffee, tea, and other beverages, making it easily accessible to anyone looking to improve their cognitive function. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system, increasing alertness, and reducing fatigue.(6) This is quite beneficial during long chess matches where mental stamina is key.

In addition to its stimulating effects, caffeine has also been shown to enhance memory and focus, which are crucial skills for chess players. It helps you stay more focused on the game and improve your ability to recall previous moves and strategies. However, it’s important to use caffeine in moderation as excessive consumption may lead to jitters, anxiety, and disrupted sleep patterns.

One of the advantages of caffeine is that it is legal and widely accepted in the chess community. It is not categorized as an illegal substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and is under the monitoring program. Many chess players rely on a cup of coffee or tea before a match to enhance their alertness and mental clarity.


  • Increases alertness and mental focus
  • Boosts energy and reduces fatigue
  • Enhances physical performance and endurance
  • Improves mood and overall well-being


  • Overconsumption may cause jitters, restlessness, or anxiety
  • May disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia
  • Can increase heart rate and blood pressure

It’s important to note that while caffeine provides temporary benefits, it is not a substitute for proper training and technique. It should be used in conjunction with other strategies and techniques to improve your chess skills. As with any supplement or nootropic, it’s always best to consult with a physician before incorporating caffeine into your routine.

5. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogen that provides a natural way to boost your chess skills. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and is known for its ability to promote mental and physical well-being. As one of the best and oldest nootropics for your brain, ashwagandha helps reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to stay calm and focused during intense chess matches.

In addition, ashwagandha is an all-around memory booster. It enhances cognition and improves memory and learning abilities, making it easier for you to remember your opponent’s moves and develop strategic plans. By supporting brain health and function, ashwagandha helps you improve your overall chess performance.

What sets ashwagandha apart is its natural and safe composition. It is derived from the root of the Withania somnifera plant and has been shown to have minimal side effects. It is also available in various forms such as capsules, powder, and liquid extracts, making it convenient and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Keep in mind that while ashwagandha can provide valuable support for your chess skills, it is always important to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any supplement to your routine. They can provide personalized advice and ensure that it is safe for you to use.


  • Supports stress reduction and relaxation
  • Improves mood and overall well-being
  • Boosts energy levels without causing jitters
  • Has anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects
  • Supports a healthy immune system


  • Some individuals may experience allergic reactions
  • May interact with certain medications and substances
  • Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women

Overall, ashwagandha is a natural and beneficial nootropic for chess players looking to enhance their mental capacity and improve their chess skills. Give it a try and see how it can positively impact your gameplay.

How Do These Specific Nootropics Work?

Nootropics are a class of substances known for their ability to enhance cognitive function. When it comes to chess or esports players, these brain-boosting supplements can offer several benefits. One way nootropics work is by providing the brain with the necessary nutrients and compounds to optimize its performance. They enhance memory and mental processing, which are crucial skills for chess players. By improving memory, players can remember complex tactics and opening theory more effectively. Nootropics also improve focus and attention, allowing players to concentrate for longer periods of time without mental fatigue. Additionally, they help reduce anxiety and stress, promoting a calm and focused mindset during gameplay.

Different nootropic substances affect different sections of the brain, providing benefits in various domains of the gameplay. While grandmasters get more out of the frontal lobe, amateur chess players use the medial temporal lobe more. This area sits below both the frontal and parietal lobes and includes the hippocampus. Some specific nootropics that have been found to be beneficial for chess players include Feedamind, Mind Lab Pro, Modafinil, Caffeine, and Ashwagandha. These substances work by targeting different aspects of brain function, such as providing energy to prevent mental and physical fatigue, enhancing memory and spatial recognition, and reducing anxiety.(7) By incorporating these nootropics into their routine, chess players can optimize their cognitive abilities and improve their gameplay.

It’s important to note that while nootropics enhance cognitive function, they should be used responsibly and in consultation with a healthcare professional. Each individual may respond differently to these supplements, and it’s crucial to find the right balance for optimal performance.

What to Consider Before Buying?

Before purchasing nootropics to enhance your chess game, consider several factors to ensure that you select the best supplement for your needs.

1. Your Chess-Specific Goals

Understand the aspects of your chess game you wish to improve. Whether it’s increasing concentration during endgames or enhancing pattern recognition for openings, your goals will guide which nootropic may be most beneficial.

Consider how the nootropic’s benefits align with your chess-related cognitive demands, such as memory recall for complex positions or sustained focus during tournaments.

2. The Nootropic’s Track Record

Investigate the reputation and user experiences of the nootropic. A product with a history of positive reviews and endorsements from the chess community can be a promising indicator of its potential impact on your cognitive performance.

Look for testimonials or case studies from other chess players who have experienced improvements in areas such as strategy formulation or problem-solving speed.

3. Ingredient Transparency and Safety

Review the supplement’s label for a clear list of ingredients and their dosages. Full transparency ensures you know what you’re consuming and can verify the safety and legality of the ingredients, especially in competitive settings.

Ensure the nootropic is free from banned substances and confirm that it is manufactured in compliance with safety standards and third-party testing.

4. Cost and Value

Evaluate the cost of the nootropic against the benefits it claims to offer. While investing in your cognitive health is important, the product should offer good value and not strain your finances.

Assess whether the nootropic’s price is justified by its ingredients’ quality, the dosage levels, and the expected cognitive enhancements.

5. Potential Interactions and Side Effects

Be aware of how the nootropic may interact with other supplements or medications you’re taking. Even natural ingredients can have contraindications or cause side effects that may affect your health or chess performance.

Research or consult a knowledgeable source to ensure there are no adverse interactions and that you’re aware of any possible side effects.

How We Picked the Top Contenders

In selecting these nootropics for serious chess players, we applied a rigorous multi-factor review process. We took into account the effectiveness, ingredients, brand standing, transparency, manufacturing technique, user feedback, cost, and value. Each of these elements was evaluated to provide a comprehensive and trustworthy list of the top chess-enhancing nootropics.


We analyzed clinical studies and user testimonials to gauge the improvement in chess performance, concentrating on strategic thinking, pattern recognition, and decision-making speed.


We examined each formula, focusing on evidence-supported, natural, and high-quality ingredients that enhance cognitive functions crucial for chess.

Scientific Evidence

We cross-referenced peer-reviewed research and meta-analyses to confirm the effectiveness of key ingredients in boosting chess performance.


We evaluated optimal dosages and ingredient proportions, ensuring they are in line with established research for maximum impact.


We confirmed the safety of each ingredient, considering potential side effects and interactions, and assuring compliance with regulatory guidelines. FDA-approved components were given preference.

Brand Reputation

We rated brands’ reliability and integrity through user reviews, expert recommendations, and the history of the company.

Product Transparency

We appreciated full disclosure of ingredients, including their sources and concentrations, to promote informed consumer choices.

Manufacturing Process

We inspected manufacturing standards, giving priority to products manufactured in certified facilities that comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

User Reviews

We scrutinized genuine customer feedback, paying attention to testimonials that discuss enhancements in chess performance and cognitive abilities.


We contrasted product prices, ensuring they were competitive and proportional to the quality and effectiveness of the nootropic.


We evaluated overall value, contemplating the balance of price, quality, and efficacy to guarantee optimal return on investment.

In Summary

Chess engages both right and left brains to come up with a complete strategy that is both creative and logical. For improving your chess skills, you want to make sure your brain is functioning at its best. That’s where nootropics come in. Nootropics are brain-boosting supplements that can enhance cognitive functions like memory, focus, and creativity. In the world of chess, there are a few nootropics that have shown promising results.

One of the best smart drugs in this list overall is Feedamind. This adaptogenic herb is known for its mood-boosting and stress-busting capabilities. It helps reduce sensitivity to stress and improves your ability to respond effectively when your cognitive skills are put to the test. Another great option is Mind Lab Pro. This nootropic supplement contains a blend of ingredients that work together to support cognitive function. It helps improve memory, focus, and attention, all of which are essential for playing chess at a high level.

Modafinil is also a popular nootropic used by chess players. It is known for its ability to improve alertness and reduce fatigue. With modafinil, you can stay focused and sharp during long chess matches. For a more natural option, caffeine is a go-to nootropic for many chess players. It enhances alertness and improves cognitive performance, making it easier to strategize and make quick decisions during a game. Lastly, Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps reduce stress and anxiety. By promoting a calm and focused state of mind, Ashwagandha increases concentration and improves overall cognitive function.

These are just a few of the top choices. Each one has its own unique benefits, so it’s important to find the one that works best for you. With the right nootropic, you can give your brain the boost it needs to take your chess skills to the next level.


Can nootropics help improve chess performance of anyone?

Yes, brain-boosting nootropics may help improve focus, memory, and decision-making, leading to better chess performance. But it’s important to note that they are not a magical solution that will instantly make you a Grandmaster.

Does learning to play chess require certain parts of the brain?

Yes, playing chess requires certain cognitive functions, such as visual-spatial processing, working memory, strategy planning, and decision-making, which involve different parts of the brain.

Can amateur chess players compete with pros after taking nootropics?

Taking nootropics can help amateur chess players improve their skills and performance by enhancing their mental focus, memory retention, and decision-making abilities. But taking on the pros will require a lot more than that.

Can nootropics help players learn quickly and play chess so well?

Nootropics can help players to develop new chunks of chess memory, retain information better, and improve their overall mental clarity and focus, making it easier to learn and play chess effectively.

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Alvarez, X. Anton, et al. “Citicoline improves memory performance in elderly subjects.” Methods and findings in experimental and clinical pharmacology 19.3 (1997): 201-210. 
  2. Kim, Hee-Yong, Bill X. Huang, and Arthur A. Spector. “Phosphatidylserine in the brain: metabolism and function.” Progress in lipid research 56 (2014): 1-18. 
  3. Aguiar, Sebastian, and Thomas Borowski. “Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri.” Rejuvenation research 16.4 (2013): 313-326. 
  4. Matsumura, Takashi, et al. “N‐acetyl‐l‐tyrosine is an intrinsic triggering factor of mitohormesis in stressed animals.” EMBO reports 21.5 (2020): e49211. 
  5. Gerrard, Paul, and Robert Malcolm. “Mechanisms of modafinil: a review of current research.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment 3.3 (2007): 349-364. 
  6. Grant, Crystal L., et al. “The impact of caffeine consumption during 50 hr of extended wakefulness on glucose metabolism, self‐reported hunger and mood state.” Journal of Sleep Research 27.5 (2018): e12681. 
  7. Zahiruddin, Sultan, et al. “Ashwagandha in brain disorders: A review of recent developments.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 257 (2020): 112876.