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What do Chess Players Eat?

This question often arises when players play in a tournament. They don’t know what to at in between rounds. Usually, a chess tournament lasts for 6-8 days, and each round lasts for 3-5 hours. In between these rounds, players usually get very hungry. In this article, we will discuss what do chess players eat.

Chess is a mental sport but consumes a lot of energy while playing. You always need enough carbs and protein during a tournament to keep your brain working. Many players start eating a lot of food and feel sleepy between rounds. 

It is recommended for every player not to eat too unhealthy in between rounds and before the round. 

Also, it is allowed to eat anything between rounds. Usually, you don’t require any permission from organizers. In a few high-level tournaments, organizers provide snacks and fruits free of cost. In most of the tournaments, the organizer gives you water and a tea/coffee facility. 

Following are some of the foods which players eat often. In my 15 years of playing experience, I have seen many players eating anything like pizza and soup. 


The following are not recommendations. These are the few products I have eaten during tournaments, and many players eat, which I have seen. Also below products are easy to carry and suitable for chess players.

What do chess players eat during tournaments?

1- Chocolate

This is the most common thing I have seen in tournaments. Many chess players eat a lot of chocolates during tournaments. Eating a lot of chocolate is, of course, unhealthy, but many still eat it. The problem with eating chocolate is that we cannot control ourselves. I have seen many players who bring a chocolate bar but finish in the first 15 min only. 

Many players carry dark chocolate in between tournaments. Following are my favorite chocolates. 

2- Dry Fruits

This is the best way to keep your mind sharp in between tournaments. Dry Fruits are very easy to carry and eat. They are also not very tasty like chocolates. Dry fruits consist of rich elements and nutrients. 

A lot of players eat dry fruits in tournaments. I personally like to eat mixed dry fruits, which consist of almonds, cashew, coconut, cranberry, etc., in between tournaments.

3- Fruits

This is an alternative to dry fruits. Usually, a lot of players carry Bananas and Apples during tournaments. Eating bananas gives you instant energy. Sometimes eating bananas becomes difficult when there is limited space and no space to keep the banana peel. 

Some players also eat apples, which is a great way to feel your stomach.

Getting fresh fruit becomes difficult if the tournament is outside of the city. However, you can buy some fruits before tournaments. 

4- Drinks

Remember to carry a water bottle in between tournaments. Many organizers provide water facilities, but sometimes they don’t provide free water. It is better to carry atleast 1L of water before each round. 

In a few tournaments, they sell water to make a profit. I have seen a glass of water for $1-3, and sometimes I have even paid for it, too, as I don’t have other options.

Also, many times you only get the option of sparkling water. Many people don’t like to drink sparkling water. It is always better to carry water.

Tea/coffee is another great way to get instant caffeine and energy. Almost every chess player drink tea or coffee in between tournament. Many organizers provide free tea and coffee, and some provide vending machines where you get it at a low price. 

Juices are also a great way to keep your energy. You can also drink energy drinks or another type of drink in between tournaments. 

5- Bread

Many players eat bakery products such as donuts, croissants, etc. Bread also gives you instant carbs to get energy. I highly recommend you keep atleast 1 type of bakery product with yourself. If you feel hungry, it is the best resource to keep your hunger in control for the next few hours.

Cakes and biscuits are also options which you can consider. But this contains a lot of sugar which is unhealthy for health. But also, sometimes, it is necessary to get enough sugar between rounds. 

Why do chess players eat during tournaments?

Chess players consume a lot of energy and calorie during the game. Chess doesn’t require any physical activity, but it requires a lot of mental activity. Many of the top players automatically reduced 2-3 kg weight in between tournaments without doing anything special. The main reason is chess players get a lot of tension and pressure between tournaments.

Is it allowed to eat during chess tournaments?

Yes. Absolutely. It is legal and allowed to eat almost anything during tournaments. Some organizers might not allow outside food, but they will ensure good quality food inside the tournament hall.

In conclusion, if you are going to play a chess tournament, remember to carry a water bottle and some kind of snack, whether it’s a bakery item or anything. Drinking tea and coffee will also keep you energized. 


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