The Impact of Psychedelics on Chess Performance & The Role of Chess in Enhancing Cognitive Abilities and Emotional Regulation

psychedelics and chess research

Psychedelics have been used by humans as a tool of introspection and connection with the divine since the dawn of man. Humanity has relied on the wisdom of entheogens in most of the major societies in history. To illustrate this point, appreciate the fact that several civilizations of the past and present are guided by a spiritual leader, in some cases, a shaman.

In modern times, the interest in psychedelic therapy has surfaced again as science has been revealing that these substances have the potential to be a more efficient method of dealing with severe psychological issues than other current methods, like pharmaceutical antidepressants. In the spirit of harm reduction, there is a pressing need for techniques to help the mainstream population to navigate the psychedelic landscape in a safe, meaningful, and sacred way.

A significant step in implementing these substances into our modern lifestyle is to inform the population of the best practices to guarantee a safe and comfortable experience, even during a challenging trip. Beyond that, we need to stop alienating people who go on psychedelic experiences and help them integrate the lessons and insights that occurred during the journey into a balanced lifestyle.

Taking time to prepare for the ceremony and actively engaging in the integration process are two things that drastically increase the chances of transforming the trip into enduring positive changes in your life. Nevertheless, we can’t deny the preparation for the trip itself. Going on a psychedelic journey can feel like being dropped in the middle of a stormy ocean; it can be hard to get a grip on it. How do we prepare our population to navigate even the most challenging psychedelic experiences?

Psychedelic Gaming (Chess & Psychedelics)

Games are composed of a set of logical rules. Within the confines of what is allowed and what isn’t, our minds are free to project our narratives upon the stage of the game. Like psychedelics, board games have been used as a gate to alternative worlds since the beginning of men. Gaming can be a way of self-expression and introspection. Playing games are also a great way for self-improvement because the lessons learned during any game can also be applied in other walks of life. For example, learning how to master decision-making during a game of chess offers perspective on how we make decisions in our day to day.

In this study, we are interested mainly in three things:

  • How can board games (Chess, Go, Etc…) help psychonauts navigate the psychedelic landscape?
  • How can board games help psychonauts integrate their psychedelic experience?
  • How can the psychedelic experience help players improve?

Relevant Information

  • How long should this research take?
    Answer: The first stage should take around 2 months and the rest of the analysis is planned for 3 months. The estimated time is 6 to 8 months;
  • This is an independent study and my name is Alexandre Porto Perrella, email is
  • This study is not specific to a certain demographic;
  • The data in the first stage is secured by Google Forms and the responses are not linked to IP addresses;
  • The results and reports are anonymous;
  • Psychedelic substances are classified as any substance that has been known to cause acute changes in consciousness and perception;

How Can You Help?

To delve deeper into this subject we need a rich dataset. To collect this data we have started with a form consisting of a few questions regarding psychedelic and chess. Instructions are as follows:

Fill out the form after playing at least one game of chess after consuming a psychedelic substance. It is useful to keep track of the substance(s), dosage, time-stamp, and any detail that could contribute to the data to be analyzed in this study. Take time to think back on your experience playing during the effects of the substance and reflect on how the experience impacted your play and how playing chess impacted the psychedelic experience.

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The form for Chess & Psychedelics is the following: