Sports Science

The XVIth international chess tournament "Citta' di Padova" ended last Sunday with the victory of GM Kiril Georgiev, who got 7 points out of 9 games. The tournament saw the participation of 63 players from 13 countries, with a total of 11 grandmasters and 13 international masters, plus nine other Fide titled players.

I participated in the event and scored a good 4.5/9, winning four games and losing four. Below I am showing some salient points from a few of my games.

Can you control noisemaking chaos? Brazilian planners hope so.

They'd rather not have the ear-splitting vuvuzela which took over the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Tens of thousands of those instruments blaring in packed stadiums became a major annoyance, disrupting players and even fans watching on TV. 

The argument for using different bats in high school and the major leagues is primarily cost: wooden bats break when a fastball is hit too low on the bat. 

But aside from skewing results for players - balls that would go nowhere due to a broken bat can be a hit using metal or composite bats - there is also a safety issue. For young players on defense, the ball can move much faster, because non-wood bats transfer energy to the ball better, a phenomenon called the "trampoline effect."

That makes the ball more dangerous. Such concerns have led to uniform bat regulations in college and high school baseball, but amid uncertainty about how non-wood bats perform in the hands of younger players, the rules are less consistent for that age group.

An analysis of the nation's largest 10-kilometer road running races show that women are in the majority. Researchers analyzed data from more than 400,000 runners who participated in 10 of the largest 10K (6.2 mile) races in the U.S. from as early as 2002 through 2011.  

In soccer, football in the rest of the world, a team is most vulnerable right after they score. That is why goals often come in pairs. 

But there is also a more dangerous statistic relating to scoring. Players are at a greater risk of injury five minutes or after a goal has been scored and the frequency of player injuries also increases when their team has the lead, according to a paper that analyzed injuries over the last three World Cup tournaments. 

Triathletes participate in a grueling endurance sport - in the Olympic version, it means swimming about 1 mile, bicycling 40 miles and then running 6.2 miles. Those in the Ironman version get even more extreme, a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike race and then running a full marathon, 26.2 miles.

Clearly, in both training and competition, they regularly push their bodies beyond the limits most of us can endure. There is no doubt that triathletes are tougher than most people, the mystery is why.

After 12 weeks of strength training, people over the age of 90 improved not only their strength, power and muscle mass, but also showed  an improvement in their balance, their walking speed and developed a greater capacity to get out of their chairs, according to new study.

Researchers studying how oxidative stress in cells impacts sarcopenia, a loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs in all humans as they age, found that mice lacking a protective antioxidant protein did not have reduced size or number of muscles cells but they were weaker than normal ones.

The antioxidant protein is called SOD1 and the researchers developed mice that did not have SOD1 in their muscles, though it was still present in other types of cells. They found that the lack of SOD1 at the muscle was not enough to cause atrophy, the total muscle mass in this mouse was larger, but they were still weak.

What's the diet for a high performance athlete? Despite the cultural pendulum of fad diets swinging back toward fat, high fiber, low-fat foods balanced with a training regimen remains the best way to maintain muscle while burning fat.

Baseball players who have undergone ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) surgery have able to return to the same or higher level of competition for an extended period of time, according to results presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Chicago.