The frozen chess game in Ontario is like the Canadian version of “Queen’s Gambit”


This frozen chess game in Ontario will give you chess.

Toronto local Nick McNaught is part of Without Borders, a community of people testing their discipline through activities such as exposure to the cold.

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Recently, McNaught added a new level of difficulty to his cold water dives by incorporating a game of chess.

In a Instagram video, McNaught and his friend can be seen playing a five-minute game of chess while standing up to their necks in frozen Oak Lake.

McNaught spoke with Narcity about the subzero game and its evolution.

What inspired this cold water bath?

McNaught has competed in events like Polar Plunge before, but this year he’s decided to take on new challenges.

“I closed my cabin this fall and I bathe every day,” he said. “I was just like, I don’t want to stop.”

He began to dive into the water daily to slowly adapt to the cold temperatures. Eventually more people started to join us.

There are now around 50 people participating in the cold dives at different times, he said.

“I am someone who likes to test discipline, I like to seek out discomfort.”

“I like to find my advantage and then see if I can get past it. And this was the perfect opportunity to do so.”

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How did the game of chess come about?

Winter dips were taken to a whole new level when McNaught and his friend added a game of chess to the mix.

“We thought we were going to sit there for at least five minutes,” he said.

“What can we do that is socially distant that will also add another layer of mental fatigue?” “

They had a chessboard sitting nearby, so they climbed some holes in the ice, placed the chessboard between them, and played for five minutes.

“We were like… see if we could really focus on a game of chess in ice water. Turns out you can.”

How is the experience?

McNaught started with 30-second dives, then worked his way up to the eight-minute mark.

“When you first jump and get submerged for the first time, there’s that initial shock and adrenaline,” he said.

He explained that the discomfort increases until about two minutes before things change.

“It’s a very intense battle between body and mind, and at first you just try to escape,” he described.

“As you are able to sit down with this discomfort, it almost begins to shift to this meditative process where you become at peace with it. “

He also mentioned that he would be open to more games in the water, in the middle of the ice.

“Maybe next time it’s poker,” he laughed.


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