Lose weight like a (chess) pro


Knight to B4

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Netflix’s recent hit miniseries, The Queen’s Gambit. You might even have bought a chess set to see if you’re secretly a prodigy like Beth Harmon.

You also definitely know how much brainpower you’d need to become a grandmaster — but did you know that playing in a chess tournament can be incredibly physically taxing as well?

When every day is chess day

A researcher at Stanford University has stated that chess players can burn up to 6,000 calories a day when competing in a tournament. It sounds crazy, but it’s true!

The high stress of a chess tournament increases breathing rates, blood pressure, and muscle contractions, so that players’ bodies end up working just as hard as those of professional athletes.

Erasing unhealthy tournament habits

The extreme weight loss that can happen during a chess tournament is exacerbated by players’ tendencies to both eat and sleep less during these periods — whether due to a lack of time or just the stress in general. To combat this, many players are now trying their best to do away with these habits and replace them with healthier ones.

Forget about the stereotypical nerds you used to see on TV — these days, chess players strive to keep their bodies in peak condition by exercising regularly, eating well, and even monitoring the way they sit. So while you might think that chess players don’t get up too much physically, there’s actually a lot of maintenance that goes on behind the scenes.


5 Singaporean stories to catch up on

1️⃣  Still waiting for your turn to collect TraceTogether tokens? If you have school-age children, they will be able to collect the tokens at school in the coming year.

2️⃣  Going green: Those going to National Service will soon be able to access more individual physical proficiency test (IPPT) related activities.

3️⃣ Public support: $88,000 was recently raised for a Singaporean couple who had to return home in an air ambulance after contracting COVID-19 in Jakarta.

4️⃣ Thanks, boss! Companies that supported their employees through the pandemic have been named Singapore’s best workplaces of the year.

5️⃣ Get your passports ready — Singapore Airlines (SIA) has started trials on a health verification app that will help streamline the revival of air travel.

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣  Saying bye to a YouTube favorite: To prevent food waste and over-eating, China will be banning ‘mukbang’ videos, where people eat insane amounts of food.

2️⃣  Send help! Britain’s public health service is asking for an extension of the Brexit transition period to ease coronavirus struggles.

3️⃣ Thanks a-llama! Scientists have isolated promising antibodies against the coronavirus — from a llama.

4️⃣ Beware the black market: Following the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, listings for the vaccine shot up on black market websites.

5️⃣ Heroes wear scrubs: Marvel has produced a comic book that celebrates healthcare workers as real-life superheroes.


Have you heard of the Bearded Fishermen?

They’ve got beards and they like to fish, but mostly they help people in England deal with their various mental health issues.

Earlier this month, Bearded Fishermen, a charity organization based in Gainsborough, England, was featured in the New York Times for all the work they’ve been doing to help their community deal with the stress and trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A guiding light in the darkness

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Bearded Fishermen, like other mental health support organisations, has provided help to those in need through counselling via phone calls and video chats, and once the pandemic allowed it, face-to-face sessions as well.

More notably though, they have continued to don neon vests and GPS trackers when the sun goes down, in order to conduct their nightly patrols around suicide hot spots in the area. Armed with torches and radios, they prowl the outer edges of their town, dreading to spot anyone of note, but hopeful that they can provide assistance if necessary.

Britain’s dilemma

While everyone in the world can relate to the troubles of the coronavirus pandemic, Britain is also dealing with an economic recession that’s partly also the result of all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. As the British struggle with the financial impact of this on their daily lives, it’s no wonder they need a little extra support.

Need a little mental health support of your own? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Seeing a Psychiatrist in Singapore!


Weird & Wonderful

  1. Dentists deserve immense credit for not laughing out loud at our weird expressions while operating dangerously sharp tools inside our mouths.
  2. You lose a very small amount of weight when you shower.
  3. Our skin is a 3D printer, silently running in the background, that comes on full speed when we get injured.
  4. Blowing out the candles on a birthday cake has always been disgusting.
  5. A fever is the body cooking itself to get rid of harmful substances.

Image by Japantimes.co.jp

Checking in on Margaret Keenan

If you’re wondering why that name sounds familiar, 91-year-old Margaret Keenan, a grandmother who lives in the UK, was the first person in the world to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on 8 December 2020.

When she first got it, she was reportedly overjoyed and made sure to use her new-found fame to endorse the use of vaccinations.

(The nurse who gave her the jab, May Parsons, has also enjoyed some recognition, and was “very proud to say to everyone [she was] a Filipino-Briton making history”.)

Unfortunately, Keenan has run into a bit of trouble recently — not health-related, of course. In the week following her successful vaccination, conspiracy theories began brewing online. Anti-vaxxers worldwide were claiming she must be an actress hired by Bill Gates, or something of the like. Some even tried to argue that she didn’t exist, and had died years prior.

Fact-checkers have been quick to set the record straight, but it won’t be that easy to change the minds of all the anti-vaxxers out there.

In case you missed the news, here in Singapore, we’ve recently received our first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine. So here’s hoping our lives will go back to normal sooner rather than later!


Vanessa is a go-getter and knowledge-seeker with way too many hobbies. On weekends, she can be found enjoying a lie-in and pretending she doesn't have anything else she should be doing.