Physical fitness and chess
GM Simen Agdestein (1967- ) of Norway played professional soccer for awhile for the Norwegian national team, before breaking his leg.
Before Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) defeated Jose Capablanca in their 1927 championship match, he gave up smoking and drinking and underwent a program of physical training. Alekhine once described one of his biggest hobbies was ping pong.
Vishy Anand (1969- ) goes to the gym regularly (two hours in the morning) and runs on the treadmill, cycles at home, and goes swimming. He also goes for long walks, which help him divert attention from chess. He occasionally plays tennis.
Levon Aronian (1982- ) spends 2 hours a day for physical exercise and 4 hours a day for chess training.
Maurice Ashley’s (1966- ) hobby is physical fitness. He loves to go to the gym and work out. He goes to the gym five times a week to work out.
Arthur Bisguier (1929- ) swims for physical conditioning, even in his 70s.
Every day of his life, Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) did morning calisthenics and walking. Botvinnik believed physical fitness was a key to success in the chessboard.
Walter Browne (1949- )played tennis to keep in shape. In 1975, a day after he gave a simul in North Carolina, he and I played several sets of tennis before he left for another simul.
Robert Byrne (1928-2013) played tennis to stay in shape.
Jose Capablanca (1888-1942) played baseball as a young adult and was on the varsity baseball team at Columbia University. Later, he relaxed with billiards and played golf as well as tennis.
Magnus Carlsen (1990- ) works out on a treadmill daily and uses that time to study different openings. He also plays a lot of soccer. When training in Oman, he played beach volleyball and went sailing. He occasionally plays tennis.
Larry Christiansen (1956- ) likes to swim. He also plays tennis and water skis.
Arnold Denker (1914-2005) was a golden gloves boxer in his younger days.
Max Euwe (1901-1981) was an amateur boxer in his younger days. He also played tennis, did a lot of cycling and shadowboxing.
Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) believed in physical fitness. He took long walks, worked out in a gym or at home watching Jack LaLanne. Other times, he went out bowling or played tennis or table tennis.
Anna Hahn (1976- ) works out as a kick-boxer.
Vassily Ivanchuk (1969- ) plays soccer, tennis, and table tennis. In the winter he ice skates.
Gata Kamsky (1974- ) plays tennis and likes to run for physical exercise.
Sergey Karjakin (1990- ) has a fitness coach. He swims and plays volleyball and other sports.
Anatoly Karpov (1951- ) used to work out with one hour of tennis or swimming in the morning.
Garry Kasparov (1963- ) had a training regimen that included swimming, soccer (football), and cycling.
Paul Keres (196-1975) played tennis and table tennis. At the Vancouver 1975 International, I played him a few games of table tennis during the tournament.
Viktor Korchnoi (1931- ) worked out daily during his world championship matches.
Alexandra Kosteniuk (1984- ) tries to start every day with a 5K run or just regular jogging.
Vladimir Kramnik (1975- ) works out by swimming or playing tennis.
Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) played golf.
Hikaru Nakamura (1987- ) likes to swim.
Jutid Polgar likes to play tennis.
Susan Polgar (1969- ) emphasizes physical fitness and makes her chess team work out in the local CrossFit gym.
Lajos Portisch (1937- ) stayed in shape by playing tennis.
Yasser Seirawan (1960- ) occasionally plays tennis.
Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010) took boxing lessons from a professional boxer and coach.
Wesley So (1993- ) jogs an hour every day.
Boris Spassky (1937- ) played tennis to stay in shape and was a high jumper in his youth.
Peter Svidler likes to play tennis and likes billiards.
Sir George Thomas (1881-1972) stayed fit by winning 21 British badminton title and competing at Wimbledon in tennis.
Veselin Topalov likes to play tennis.
Eugenio Torre (1951- ) played tennis to keep in shape and regularly visits a gym.
Josh Waitzkin (1976- ) gave up chess to become a world champion in martial arts (Tai Chi).
Many of the earlier Soviet grandmasters had a fitness coach, access to a swimming pool, sauna, and went for long walks.