Two Ontario Guys Just Played Chess Neck-Deep In A Frozen Lake & It's So Canadian (VIDEO)

If 'Queen's Gambit' took place in Canada 👑 ❄️
Ontario Associate Editor
Two Ontario Guys Just Played Chess Neck-Deep In A Frozen Lake & It's So Canadian (VIDEO)

This frozen chess game in Ontario will give you chills.

Toronto local Nick McNaught is part of Unbounded, a community of people testing their discipline through activities like cold exposure.

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Recently, McNaught added a new level of difficulty to his cold-water plunges by incorporating a game of chess.

In an Instagram video, McNaught and his friend can be seen playing a five-minute game of chess while neck-deep in frozen Oak Lake.

McNaught chatted with Narcity about the below-zero game and how it came to be.

What inspired this cold-water dip?

McNaught has participated in events like the Polar Plunge before, but this year he decided to challenge himself in new ways.

"I was closing up my cottage this fall, and I've been swimming every day," he said. "I was was just like, I don't want to stop."

He began daily dips in the water to slowly adapt to the cold temperatures. Eventually, more people began to join in.

There are now around 50 people participating in the chilly plunges at different times, he said.

"I'm someone that enjoys testing discipline, I enjoy seeking discomfort."

"I enjoy finding my edge and then seeing if I can cross it. And this was the perfect opportunity to do that."

[rebelmouse-image 26004280 photo_credit="stayunbounded | Handout" expand=1 original_size="1278x1600"] stayunbounded | Handout

How did the chess game come about?

The winter dips were taken to a whole new level when McNaught and his friend added a chess game to the mix. 

"We thought, we're going to be sitting there for at least five minutes," he said.

"What's something that we can do that's socially distant that's also going to add another layer of mental fatigue?"

They had a chessboard sitting nearby, so they climbed into holes in the ice, set the board between them, and had a five-minute game.

"We were like... let's see if we could actually concentrate on playing a game of chess while in freezing water. It turns out you can."

What is the experience like?

McNaught began with 30-second dips, then worked his way up to the eight-minute mark.

"When you first jump in and you're first submerged, there's that initial shock and adrenaline," he said. 

He explained that the discomfort builds to around the two-minute mark before things change. 

"It's a very intense battle between body and mind, and initially you're just trying to escape," he described.

"As you're able to sit with that discomfort, it starts to transition to almost this meditative process where you become at peace with it."

He also mentioned that he'd be open to more games in the water, amidst the ice.

"Maybe next time, it's poker," he laughed. 

Madeline Forsyth
Ontario Associate Editor
Madeline Forsyth is an Associate Editor for Narcity Canada’s Ontario Desk focused on Toronto restaurants and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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