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Chilwell: Chess has helped in tough times

18 Jan 2021
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Chelsea defender reveals how he is staying mentally active and connected with others during lockdown

Ben Chilwell says chess is one of the diversions he has used to cope with life in lockdown.

The Chelsea defender is aware the opportunity to continue playing football allows him out of the house more than most people in England during the pandemic.

But Chilwell has shared how he maintains his mental wellbeing in the hope it can help others unable to leave their home as much. 

"Obviously it's a very tough time at the moment," he says. "I'm in a very fortunate position where I am able to come into work and see my friends and do what I enjoy, but there are a lot of people not in that position and are stuck at home with nothing to do.

"There are a few things I've found to keep myself busy [after training] ... activities that are really going to challenge your brain and keep you interested through very tough times.

"Me and Reece James play online chess against each other quite a lot. He wins a few, I win a few. We played a game on the way back from Russia in the Champions League. I think it was one game, but it took four hours - the whole flight!

"I actually asked my mum for some chess books and a chess board for Christmas! That has obviously helped me."

"It's important to not just look out for yourself but people you care about as well"

Ben Chilwell

Staying connected with family and friends remotely has also been an important part of Chilwell's day-to-day life.

"I ring my parents as much as possible and talk to them," he says. "Then obviously my friends, I'm in numerous WhatsApp groups with them. We're in contact every minute of the day really and if I'm not at training we're talking a lot.

"But being able to ring my parents and speak to them on the phone, making sure they're OK [is important] because they're both stuck at home. I ask my mum what she is reading and ask my dad what he's up to.

"It's important to not just look out for yourself but people you care about as well."

Fans can get more information on maintaining positive mental health from the Premier League's #StayWell hub, including tips and advice from experts and players, as well as links to NHS resources and Public Health England's "Every Mind Matters" campaign.

Also in this series

Part 2: Davies: Exercise gives me a daily boost
Part 3: How players have kept positive in the pandemic
Part 4: Hodgson: Keeping a positive mindset is a real skill
Part 5: Players looking out for others during pandemic
Part 6: Players on looking after mental wellbeing in pandemic
Part 7: Players on how staying connected helps keep up the spirits
Part 8: Premier League stars reveal their happiest moments
Part 9: How players stay positive in the pandemic pt 2

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