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Abstract and Figures

The Zone is a state of mind/body coordination that is much sought after by athletes because it is so conducive to achieving peak performance. The experience of this state can be so transcendent that some have come to view sport as a spiritual practice. An immensely popular recent movie about competitive chess, The Queen's Gambit, is not overtly about the Zone, addressing such popular themes as female empowerment and chess as a replacement competitive sport in the socially disconnected time of Covid. But its popularity may also stem from its evocation of the peak performance Zone in chess matches. The film's young female protagonist is able to play inspired chess by using a range of approaches to accessing this altered state of consciousness (ASC). This essay will discuss several aspects of the Zone, including psycho-spiritual tools to elicit it, pathology-based medical explanations for its occurrence, paranormal aspects of this ASC, and its possible role in helping humanity cope with the Covid crisis. (Spoiler alert: Important plot points from the Netflix movie The Queen's Gambit will be discussed in this essay.)
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UNCORRECTED PROOF
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Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
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journal homepage: http://ees.elsevier.com
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UNCORRECTED PROOF
E. Leskowitz / EXPLORE xxx (xxxx) 14
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UNCORRECTED PROOF
E. Leskowitz / EXPLORE xxx (xxxx) 14
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References
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... In contrast, works on nonduality or transcendence of duality are scarce within sport psychology. Very brief mentions can be found in works discussing Chinese martial arts ( Kee, 2019a ) and altered states of consciousness in chess ( Leskowitz, 2021 ). The work most relevant to the present discussion is from Loy (1985) , which associates wu-wei with nondual action, or "action in which there is no bifurcation between subject and object: no awareness of an agent that is believed to do the action as being distinct from an objective action that is done " (p. ...
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