A valuable tip for 2.5% men and 5% women players.
If you see my blogs, you will note that a couple of them talk about how tough I find it to play so called weak players. In fact, over the last few months, I have been having trouble even with players rated around 1400, whereas I have myself crossed 1700 many times.
I went off chess for 2 odd months in disgust, wondering what on earth was happening. Players I had been beating regularly, and with ease, had suddenly started looking formidable, even scary.
I have recently started playing again, and I am delighted to discover that I'm back to my old winning ways. I just feel in control, and am now beating lower ranked players, so recently my nemesis, without much difficulty. Initially I thought that the break had sharpened my chess instincts, but after a little more introspection, I realised that the answer was not so simple.
I am one of 2.5% men who suffer from hypothyroidism (5% for women), and have been taking a daily tablet for years, which restores the hormone level completely. My last test, which I delayed somewhat, revealed that I needed to revise my daily dosage slightly, and my doctor also advised me to take the tablet at a fixed time every day. This was during my chess break, and I have already narrated what happened next.
I am strongly reminded of an Indian saying that no 'karz' (debt) or 'marz' (disease) should ever be taken lightly. Hypothyroidism is a very benign condition, easily kept in check by a daily tablet, and one tends to underestimate it. The only symptom of the imbalance of this hormone that I conciously noted was the deterioration in my game, which I found inexplicable and frustrating. The other symptoms were very subtle, although I can now connect them up. Overall, the realization is that I have been functioning on low battery for months.
Actually, any health condition will adversely affect your game. But chances are you will notice some obvious symptoms quite apart from your chess performance. The interesting thing in my case is that my game had started reflecting the very slight deterioration in my health condition long before I could have become aware of it if I had not gone for my routine test.