The Game of Chess

Have you ever played chess before? It is one of the most popular games played by children, adults and seniors at home, in parks, schools, clubs, online, and in tournaments. If not yet, and you are interested to play this game, it would help you to know some basic information about this game.

 

Chess is a two-player board game which dates back to the late 1800s. Its first official world championship was held in 1886 with Wilhelm Steinitz as the pioneering world chess champion. It is being promoted worldwide by the Mind Sports Organization as a “mind sport” along with other games such as Scrabble and Contract Bridge. This game is a recognized sport by the International Olympic Committee while the conduct of international chess competition is overseen by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Apart from the regular chess game popular to many people, there are many other variants of chess that use different boards and pieces available in these competitions.

 

Continue reading “The Game of Chess” »

5 Benefits of Playing Chess

Chess is one of the few games that offer many benefits for its players. It is not for anything that this game is often referred to as “the game of kings.” Historically, many kings and rulers also saw this game as a way to practice their skills in war planning and strategizing. Today, young and old could play chess and enjoy their benefits:

 

1. It boosts your IQ.

 

Playing chess is all brain works. It involves careful planning of your moves and strategizing what to do next to checkmate the opponent. This in turn can help players practice and continually enhance their analytical skills. There was a study conducted on 4,000 students from Venezuela which showed a significant improvement in the IQ scores of students after four months of receiving chess instructions and playing chess.

 

Continue reading “5 Benefits of Playing Chess” »

Common Allergies and their Remedies

Playing chess needs concentration and focus. But that is a difficult undertaking if you are suffering from certain allergies with bothering symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, itchy skin and others. At one time, I experienced playing chess with a runny nose and had some difficulty concentrating; so much more if you have an allergic reaction to certain triggers. This is especially true if the chess tournament is held in an open area like in a park where the players are exposed to the elements.

 

There are a number of allergy triggers and allergic reactions which can range from mild irritation of the eyes to a more severe symptom such as difficulty in breathing or generalized swelling. For people with asthma, exposure to certain allergens can trigger an asthma attack. But there are still ways to treat allergic reactions when they occur.

 

 

Pollen Allergy

 

Many people are allergic to pollen. This allergen normally triggers hay fever with symptoms that include nasal congestion, running nose, and itchy and watery eyes. You can prevent this allergy by staying indoors on a windy day. And when indoors, close all your windows and use air conditioning instead. If you have a history of pollen allergy, avoid playing in open spaces such as parks.

 

Treatment for pollen allergy includes over-the-counter and prescription medications such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, Clarinex and oral decongestants such as Sudafed. You could also use nasal decongestants, steroid nasal sprays and medications that contain antihistamines and decongestants such as Allegra.

 

Dust Mite Allergy

 

Dust mites are tiny organisms that thrive on house dust. Allergic reactions are similar to pollen allergy but they could occur all year round, unlike pollen allergy which is seasonal. You can prevent dust mites by using hypoallergenic mattresses and pillows. You should also keep all areas of your home clean especially your bedroom. Treatment for mite allergy includes taking decongestants, nasal sprays or antihistamines.

 

Mold Allergy

 

Just like pollen, these parasitic fungi containing spores also float in the air. Common allergy triggers are normally present in damp places such as in bathrooms and the basement. Outdoors, they are normally present in leaf piles, mulch, hay and grass. Mold allergy is common in the summer and fall and may also occur all year round if you have molds inside your home. Its symptoms include runny nose, coughing, congestion, sneezing and watery eyes, and are very similar to pollen or dust mite allergies.

 

You can prevent mold allergy by avoiding activities that might expose you to these allergen, such as clearing leaves or cleaning your basement or bathroom. If you have to do it, you should wear a dust mask. Also, keep your basement and bathroom well-ventilated. To address the allergy, you could use the same treatment used in pollen and dust mite allergy.

 

Food Allergy

 

There are people who are allergic to certain kinds of food. For instance, there are people who manifest the symptoms of yeast allergy after consuming products containing yeast. Many people are also allergic to nuts, milk, eggs and wheat. Allergic reaction normally occurs within minutes or hours after consuming food triggers. The most common symptoms are swelling around the mouth area, vomiting and diarrhea. There are also rare cases among people who are allergic to corn. Corn allergy symptoms are much different than other food allergies in that they include nasal congestion, difficulty in breathing, lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting. These allergies can be prevented by avoiding their eating food triggers. Taking antihistamine and steroid drugs is a common treatment for food allergy.

 

If you have a history of any of the allergies listed here, it is best to avoid exposure to the allergens. But if exposure is unavoidable due to certain circumstances, you should be able to properly deal with the allergic reaction by observing the above-mentioned precautions. And if symptoms persist, seek medical attention immediately.

How to Avoid Foot Sprain and Injuries

What I love most about playing chess is that it keeps my mind working. It is also not a physically demanding sport which can also make you more prone to accidents, injuries or foot sprains. At times, I watch softball games in the television, and oftentimes I see some athletes being assisted out of the field because of sprained foot or injuries. That is something I don’t like to happen to me. That is why I would rather play chess than any physical sport.

However, if you are engaged in a physical sport like softball, baseball, lawn tennis, soccer or running, there are ways on how you can decrease your risk of suffering from sprains and other foot injuries:

1. Warm up before the start of the game.

Regardless of the type of sports activity you play, warm-ups should always be a part of your routine. Warm-up exercises may include stretching, jogging or bending for about five minutes before the start of your actual practice or game. A good warm-up exercise can help gradually increase your blood circulation and heart rate as well as prepare your stamina for physical exertion during actual play.

2. Do not push yourself too much during the game.

If it is your first time to play a certain sport, don’t force yourself to do certain moves that experienced players normally do. The amount of time you spend on practice or play as well as the level of difficulty that you do should gradually increase over a period of time and not suddenly. Gradual training helps you develop your muscle mobility and strength without too much pressure which may result to sprains or in worse cases, develop into a sinus tarsi syndrome.

3. Use the right shoes for your sport and foot type.

Athletes who have low arches should use shoes that have front and under-the-arch support for more balance and stability. On the other hand, if your feet have high arches, the most ideal shoes for you are those with softer platforms and more cushions. Although cross-training shoes are generally okay for any type of sport, it is best to choose shoes that are designed for your kind of sport.

4. Avoid running or playing on uneven surfaces.

If you are a runner, be careful about running on a hilly or rocky terrain especially if the surface has loose gravel. Runners are prone to foot injuries if they run on unpaved surfaces. It is best to slow down when you are running on an unpaved surface.

5. Listen to your body.

If you are starting to feel some pain on your foot, stop what you are doing and rest for a while until the pain subsides. If you have a recurrent injury in the ankle, using a tape or brace may help you prevent the injury from recurring.

While observing these tips can help you avoid injury or foot sprains, the risk will still be there. Treatment normally varies depending on the severity of your condition. If you really want to totally avoid these problems, you could instead engage in other sports like chess. I strongly recommend this safer sport because of its many mental benefits.

Arm Pain: When to See your Doctor

Among others, one of the activities that you can still do if you have a painful arm is to play chess. I have done it before and with a little discomfort. I also know of other people who have suffered from a painful arm and were not able to have a productive use of their time because of that. This is especially true if you are a right-handed person and you have a pain in the right arm. Depending on the severity and cause of the pain, there may be a possibility for you to see your doctor for proper treatment.

Arm pain can be a result of various factors such as abnormalities or injuries related to the skin, joints, bones, soft tissues and blood vessels. Sometimes, diseases may also cause a person to have pain or numbness in left arm or right arm. These diseases include arthritis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical spondylosis, bursitis, herniated disk, angina, thoracic outlet syndrome, or in worst cases, cancer. Treatment varies depending on the underlying cause.

Moreover, some arm pain can be treated at home. For instance, if you have a painful arm because of a broken wrist or other injury, you could apply ice pack to the area and then use a sling for holding the arm while you get medical attention. Most minor cases of arm pain can be remedied by resting, applying ice pact, using compression bandage, and elevating the arm to reduce swelling.

However, there are cases where you have to see your doctor after suffering a painful arm. This is when the pain could be a possible symptom of an underlying serious health condition. There are signs that could help you identify when to see your doctor.

One sign to look after is if the pain comes suddenly and is severe or is accompanied by pressure or squeezing in your chest. If that happens, seek emergency treatment because it could be an early sign of an impending heart attack. The same is true if the arm or shoulder pain occurs while exerting effort but is relieved when resting. This condition is possibly a sign of a heart disease caused by slower blood flow to the heart muscles, otherwise known as angina. You should also see your doctor if you see any deformities in your arm associated with the pain or if the pain happens after hearing a cracking sound or a snap in the arm. Regardless of the cause, also seek medical attention if the pain becomes severe and is giving you trouble moving, if the arm pain has been existent for several days without improving, or if you see any increase in swelling or redness in the painful area.

A pain or numbness in the arm can give you so much discomfort to physically incapacitate you to perform your normal routine. It is important that after feeling pain or numbness, you must assess your condition if it falls within any of the signs that call for immediate doctor’s attention. Otherwise, you could simply apply an appropriate home remedy such as applying an ice pack or compression bandage.

How to Recover from a Painful Experience

I play chess not just for entertainment. It is also my way of stress relief whenever I have problems that I wish to forget for the moment. Other people have their own way of forgetting their problem especially if it involves painful experiences. Others take it by travelling, working, cooking, playing sports and others.

stress

Recovering from a painful experience cannot be done abruptly; I am speaking based on my own experience. After playing chess or drinking my problem over a bottle of wine, the pain is still there. The same may be true for many people who tried instant relief from a painful past. The best way to recover from a painful experience or past is by way of a step-by-step process:

1. Identify what caused your pain.

Most people who are hurting do not really know why they are hurting. More often, it is already a combination of circumstances especially if the pain happens in a relationship. For instance, you love someone who does not love you back. You may be hurt because you are feeling less confident about yourself, because the person you love also loves someone else, or because you don’t know how to get over someone who doesn’t love you back. Unless you identify what truly is hurting you, you will not be able to move on with the pain.

2. Cry if you must.

Don’t keep the pain inside you. Express it and cry if you must. You will see that after crying, you will feel a lot better.

3. Keep yourself busy.

After crying and grieving, it is time for you to start moving on. Keep yourself busy and entertained. You can work, spend a week of vacation, find a new hobby, play games or do anything that you enjoy doing. And it is best to keep yourself surrounded with friends and family while you are still starting to get over your problem. Some people who are labelled to have an only child syndrome find it especially helpful to be supported by their families.

4. Find a resolution to your problem.

Once you are totally over with the painful feeling, you could now start finding a resolution to your problem. You cannot totally move on unless there is a complete resolution to the problem that is causing your pain. For instance, in the example above, if the reason for your pain is that the situation makes you feel less confident about yourself, start building up your confidence by improving on yourself physically and mentally. If the cause of the pain is that you cannot accept the fact that the person you love loves someone else, then you really have to accept that fact. Consider it as that person’s loss and not yours.

5. Learn from experience.

Who would like to keep on repeating the same mistake and the same pain over and over again? You can avoid this from happening if you learn from your experience. Don’t repeat your mistakes now so that you will not experience the same pain in the future. But don’t shy away also from every opportunity in the future. If you have to take the risk, take it again.

Recovering from a painful experience is easy if you are determined to move on. These five simple steps can help you in the process.

How to Get Rid of Abnormal Taste in Mouth

You know that feeling when you have been sitting for several hours without talking or even opening your mouth and then you end up tasting something in your mouth like a metal taste or sweet taste in mouth? I have experienced this quite a few times in the past especially when I have been playing one chess game over another.

Coincidentally, metal taste in mouth and other taste disorders are just normal. Generally, most taste disorders do not linger for a long time. However, if it lingers for a long time, it may cause a more serious health condition for patients who are on a specific diet because of allergy to certain food or at risk of diseases like diabetes and heart problem. The sense of taste helps us know what is in the food we eat. For instance, if you are at risk of diabetes, you should avoid eating sweet foods. But if you constantly feel sweetness in your mouth, it will be hard to distinguish which foods are really sweet and which ones are not.

Treatment or remedy for taste disorders depends on its type and what causes it. That is why it is important that a doctor should properly diagnose your taste disorder for appropriate treatment. Common taste disorders include lingering taste in the mouth even if you are not eating anything. It could be a lingering sweet, salty or metallic taste. In worst cases, some people totally lose their sense of taste, but this is a very rare condition.

Most cases of taste disorder develop after an illness or injury such as ear infection, respiratory infection and head injury. Cancer patients who are undergoing neck or hear radiation therapy as well as patients taking certain medications especially antihistamines and antibiotics are also more prone to taste disorders. This condition is also common among patients who have just undergone surgeries affecting the throat, nose, ear and teeth. Pregnant women are also prone to taste disorders as well as people with poor oral hygiene.

If you are experiencing abnormalities in taste, you should see an otolaryngologist, a doctor who specialized in nose, ear, throat, neck and head. A series of tests is normally conducted to identify the extent of your disorder. A new method is also now being developed by scientists for patients with taste disorders, which simply involves sipping, spitting, and rinsing. Overall, an accurate diagnosis of taste disorder is a result of a series of physical examination and tests. Normally, an otolaryngologist will also get your health history as well as conduct a dental examination and assess your oral hygiene.

Most taste disorders are curable. They may involve stopping and changing certain medications you are taking as directed by your doctor or solving any underlying conditions first. Proper oral hygiene is also important for a properly functioning sense of taste.

Having a taste disorder may not be a life-threatening condition but it deserves a doctor’s attention. If your taste disorder lingers for several days already, it is best to see your doctor for remedy.

Secrets to Happy Relationships

I wonder why some people are so caught up with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) when it comes to relationships. I have read and heard stories about couples who reach more than 50 years of strong marriage and they don’t even know about the MBTI personality types are. I believe that many secrets to a successful relationship, whether it may be INFJ relationships, INFP relationships or other types of relationships, lie on certain factors beyond what is defined in many books and other resources. You can best learn these secrets from real life experiences of couples who have lived them. Below are five effective ways to a happy relationship:

1. Forgive and forget.

When living with the same person everyday of your life, it is likely that you will have misunderstandings and in the process, you may hurt each other’s feelings. If you continue to dwell on these bad feelings, it will surely lead to a miserable life. Master the art of forgiveness, learn the lesson of that experience and continue to move on. If you try to practice this important step, you will be able to appreciate your relationship more.

2. Admit it if you made a mistake.

Committing a mistake is something that you cannot avoid. When you do, admit to your partner that you are at fault and do your best to correct it. You may later feel that you have lost your pride but in the end, you will more likely gain the trust of your partner.

3. Communicate and don’t gossip.

One rule of thumb in every relationship is to always communicate with the other person. If you cannot directly say it to the person, don’t say it behind his or her back. Honesty has also something to do with it. Even if you think that the other person will be hurt by what you will say, say it anyway. Many people will appreciate you for your honesty or sincerity.

4. Show your love and kindness every day.

Sometimes, you should show your love and kindness to another person not because that person deserves it, but because you want to. More than you know it, a simple smile, touch, kind words, shoulder to lean on, and a listening ear will have a great potential of turning a person’s bad day into a good one.

5. Start by being happy.

If you like to have a happy relationship, start by being a happy person yourself and then radiate that happiness to others. Any positive change that you want in a relationship should start from you. It would be good to start by having a self-reflection. Think of some positive traits that you want your partner to have and then try to achieve that yourself.

I believe that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but there are such things as happy relationships. Happy relationships are not free from flaws, but these flaws are meant to keep the relationship even stronger. Don’t let these flaws fail you. Consider them as a test of your relationship. Wouldn’t it be nice to pass these tests and be able to spend long years of happy relationship with the person you love and care for? With the five ways mentioned above, we could all aim for a happy and successful relationship.

5 Ways to Alleviate Bunion Pain

Perhaps many people have not yet heard about bunions and what causes bunions, but it is a common foot problem that can easily deform the fingers of your feet if left unchecked. There are several factors that can cause them, including hereditary factors and lifestyle. Although sitting down for a long time while playing chess is far from its cause, I know of several chess players who had suffered from this problem before.

Having a tailors bunion or bunion can be painful especially when walking or standing up for a long time. The good news is that there are ways to alleviate the pain associated with it:

1. Soaking your foot

Soaking your affected foot in cool or lukewarm water is one good way to soothe the pain. You could use any basin if you don’t have a foot spa. Simply fill the basin with water, making sure that there is enough to cover the foot up to the ankles. You could add the water with any bath salts. Soak your foot for up to 15 minutes whenever you feel the pain.

2. Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises are great for sore joints including toes. While in a sitting down position, gently pull the affected toe in a range of motion. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat the same procedure several times. You may also want to try stretching the affected toe away from the next toe. Discontinue stretching if you feel that the pain is worsening.

3. Use of a toe spacer or relief splint

Several devices have been developed to aid people with bunions. Many of these devices can help alleviate the inflammation and pain by reducing the stress on the toe joint. Among the most useful are the toe spacer and relief splint. You could also search online for other devices that may be applicable to you.

4. Applying analgesic

There are several over-the-counter topical analgesics containing menthol and other similar ingredients that can give a cooling sensation when applied, thereby reducing the pain. There are also analgesics that contain capsaicin which temporarily blocks pain signals and can give fast relief from pain.

5. Use of new shoes

Wearing the right kind of shoes is one way that can make you feel more comfortable when walking if you have a bunion. Your shoes should be wider to allow adequate space in the toe box since the bunion normally causes the forefoot to widen. It should also have a flexible sole for supporting the weight of the body. It is important to note that when choosing shoes especially for women, the higher the heels, the more pressure you are putting on your forefoot, causing pain and discomfort when walking. There are now shoes that are specially designed for bunion patients and you will be surprised at the wide range of designs available. Additionally, some athletic shoes also provide comfort for people with bunions.

If you are suffering from a bunion, it is best to avoid activities that require you to stand for a long time. That is one reason why playing chess is one of the most suitable past times for bunion patients where you just sit down and use your mind. With the above ways to alleviate the pain associated with bunions, you can recover from this problem sooner.