Create a playlist for your favorite mind sports

Create a playlist for your favorite mind sports

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Mind sports are based on intellectual ability rather than physical ability. Unlike physical sports, mind sports do not require the physical strength, agility or hand-eye coordination that traditional sports require. They do, however, demand strategy, skill and practice. 

While some mind sports enthusiasts prefer silence over sound, others have found that certain types of music enhance (rather than breaks) their focus. In fact, silence can be very distracting for some. That is why you may have heard people say the words, “It’s too quiet in here.”

Besides serving as a source of personal enjoyment, some say music has positive scientific effects on the brain. The “Mozart Effect” is a term that was coined to describe classical music having the ability to enhance one’s intelligence. Some research also suggests that listening to music while studying helps people better retain information.

If you have never tried listening to music while doing a focus-oriented activity, such as mind sports, it may be time to give it a shot.

Deciding on the type of music you should listen to while engaging in mind sports largely depends on which one you are playing. Here are some tips for building the perfect playlist tailored to your game of choice. 

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Chess: Take a strategic musical approach

Brainwave Power Music created a special Chess playlist on YouTube, filled with binaural beats. Binaural beats are a form of music therapy. They are said to induce positive neurological side effects – including relaxation, meditation, pain management and, apparently, chess-playing abilities.

The science behind binaural beats centers around sound wave frequencies. BPM’s playlist features tracks with beta waves ranging from 11-15Hz, which is said to improve focus, attentive abilities, active thought processes, concentration and intelligence. Simultaneously, BPM goes on to say that the carrier frequency of 144.72 Hz supports strength of will, focused energy and achievement. 

Some musicians to check out for binaural beats are Noah Hornberger, I-Doser Labs and Brainwave-Sync.

Poker: Easy does it

Like Chess, Poker is an intellectually challenging sport that requires constant strategic thinking. The stakes can be high when you are playing this classic competitive card game and the atmosphere can be a factor in your performance. Choosing the right music to create an ambiance that stimulates your brain will help make you more likely to play your cards right. 

Calming, slow-paced instrumental music is popular among Poker players. Because words can compete for your focus, choosing purely instrumental options is a good strategy if you are easily side-tracked. Classical and jazz are ideal genres.

If you prefer music with words, choosing songs with lyrics that are not in your native language may be a good choice. You will still enjoy the vernacular, but will not be able to make out discernible words and thoughts. For English-speaking players, the French Cafe Radio station on Pandora is one to check out, as it has easy-listening music au français. 

eSports: Spotify can help

The ideal musical genre for playing eSports is as diverse as the types of games that exist. So, if you are playing a game centered around warfare, something that matches that energy (such as heavy metal) could be your best bet. Upbeat electronic dance music (EDM) can also give you an energetic jolt while putting you in the zone – or a focused head space. 

When playing something less extreme, such as golf, you probably will not gravitate toward tracks that sound like DJ club music. Something more low-key would better suit the situation.

If you need help deciding which gaming music will work best for you, Spotify can help. The music platform incorporated a gaming category that can be accessed by navigating to Browse > Genres and Moods > Gaming. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for mixing tunes and mind sports. A trial and error factor definitely exists, so determining which genre will work best for you may require some experimentation. Use these suggestions as a helpful place to start. 

Publisher & CEO - Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at From growing up in the cornfields of Harrison and getting a Mass Communications B.A. degree in the bubble of Oxford, to living on the NKY side of the river in Newport and then Ft. Thomas, Amy Scalia has embraced Cincinnati with her presence. Her major life accomplishments include: being a mom of two girls and a boy, a 2010 "40 Under 40" recipient from the Cincinnati Business Courier, winning the "Best New Product/Service of the Year" Award from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a national Web-writing award from ASHPE in 2007, a national feature writing award from ASBPE in 2006, and running three Flying Pig Marathons.