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Can playing chess prevent Alzheimer's disease?

Published: September 1, 2012

Regarding “Alzheimer's medicine shows potential, researchers say” (News, August 25): I welcome news of promising Alzheimer's disease medications. However, years ago chess grandmaster Arnold Denker said none of the thousands of tournament opponents he faced in his long career suffered from Alzheimer's. He challenged the chess community to identify an exception to this amazing coincidence. As far as I know only one was named, a former New York state champion. (I don't know how long this gentleman continued playing after winning the title.)

This is probably just my wishful thinking, but I find it difficult to avoid the conclusion that Alzheimer's is a disease of those who don't play chess. As we enter our later years we can wait for a cure in a bottle, but an effective preventive is probably residing in our hall closet.

Bert Rackett, Oklahoma City