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ccmcacollister 67 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess Mentality:Spatial,Math,Music,All Skills,Jobs This thread is started to combine disc.of ideas from "Music for Chess Playing" & "Help About Using Knights" thread. Such as whether being a Musician or Mathematician is related skills or advantageous for Chess play. And signifigance of one's spatial/visual perceptive capacities for Chess. I also wish to add to that some bits I've heards about some GM IQ's,re general or specific aspects of intellegence relating to Chess, and professions of Chess players, particularly some of the Top Dogs. Maybe Top Guns, if you prefer. Their seemed to be lots of interesting thoughts out there, so hope many of you will share. To set sail, some of mine.
honololou 75 ( +1 | -1 )
I have read… that master players exhibit extraordinary pattern recognition skills. If asked to reconstruct
a position from a recent game, these players might misplace entire groupings of pawns or
pieces but they "remember" the significant relationships between the pieces. It would be
interesting to know whether chess skill was disproportionally common among musicians or
mathematicians. As far as I know, neither Beethoven or Mozart played the game at all. I
have read that Stanley Kubrick was an excellent player, kicking George C. Scott's butt on
the set of Dr. Strangelove. (Scott fancied himself a good player). Perhaps the mental
processes of managing the complex interrelationships of chess pieces is similar to that
involved in creating films.
ccmcacollister 353 ( +1 | -1 )
Musicians & Mathematicians & other Jobs .. Personally, I have no idea whether a Mathematician or Musician truely has any advantage as a Chess player; whether due to any mutually useful underlying skills or from the fact of plying their trade and the skills and thinking involved there. Some have suggested their might be. But I myself don't have any empirical data to away me one way or the other. So I went to my delightful new book "Modern Postal Masterpieces" by Alex Dunne, to look at some profiles their. I did not view all of them. Of those I did, there were not any citing employment as Musicians, nor any of the Fine Arts. However, I suspect many may have musical abilities just not their career. But no way to know.
(There was a teacher, & In my personal experience that is one of the top 3 careers for Chessplayers, by my knowlege. By far the most common career I find among Chess players is Computer Programming. Then Teachers and Chess Professionals whether players, writers or both).
.....There were quite a lot in the Sciences however. Eg's K.Embrey an Engineer, + another I know of. In Physics, a couple I know personally, + in the book both Dan Fleetwood & Corr.fmr.WC Victor Palciauskas. Fred Tears & Jon Voth in Chemistry + one I know. Clearly these people would have Mathematical abilities within their jobs, although I did not see a Mathematician per se, in the profiles I reviewed.
In Business there's Max Zavanelli & (James?)Sherwin.

(An aside here. This is just an impression I have gotten & I make no claims of validity, but it has seemed to me that when Chessplayers are in Business they are
usually among the Best or Worst in the field. Maybe fallacious. But the impression has been honestly made, whatever it is worth, or not.)

However the one Mathematician I Am aware of in Corr Chess, is VERY exceptional indeed. Speaking of John Penquite, from USA, Iowa I believe. Who is the highest rated Corr Player in USCF history, with a rating near, actually believe it is Above
2900. Once USCF wanted to lower his rating, thinking some mathematics maybe involved in it. They apparently said they could not consider it totally legitimate because the man had never been scored upon!! Were not talking 5 or 6 games here either. But multiple dozens, vs many of the Very Top players in the USA.
Thsoe who play in the USA "Absolute Championship" [which I believe is Invitational to the Highest Rated players of the country only], in which he gathered many of his totally winning games.] I heard a rumur that a lawsuit was mentioned at one point, if his rating should be taken or lowered, and he did end up keeping it. Some time a bit later then, he took a Draw, his first non-win ever. If memory serves, it was with Errol Liebowitz. Appears this was satisfactory to stop the grumblings, strange as they were, that one who has never Lost or Drawn cannot be truly judged for strength by rating? Is that not a very strange arguement to make? If anything, I would only agree to the point of saying; "Yes, perhaps he is very Under-rated !!?"
Of course, I'm pretty sure that Players will be found in nearly all occupations, as would be expected. But there do seem to be quite a number into fields of Science or Technology. Perhaps moreso than from many groups of non-players. But thats only another impression. Can anyone tell of any player(s) with great Musicianship & Chess abilities? Or perhaps been Professional in both? Or even above avg. in both?
Seems as if there should be some, to me. So am not arguing against the concept but cant recall any myself.
ccmcacollister 575 ( +1 | -1 )
Mental Skills,IQ's,Spatial Perceptions... First IQ's just as FYI. I've heard RJF called 180. And G.Kasparov called 170. Saw somewhere he apparently took some IQ test or similar questions and that's what they came up with. But then showed one of the Questions he had missed...and in my opinion the numerical sequence given, asking him to supply the next number, was invalid. (Found I could put most any number next and justify it, by the method they were using to get their answer.) So I have doubts about the validity aor Standardization of that test. And don't know which Test it was. Does anyone have that? If it was just a single bum-question on an otherwise valid test, then of couse his score would be even higher. In my estimation, I don't have much doubt that he could make such a score.
.......But is Generalized Intellegence & General Problem Solving abilities primary to Chess excellence. Personally, I don't think so. But what are the Mental Skills most important to that Objective?
......Seems to me its a bit different between OTB and Corr play. In the former, Memory I'd say is among the most important aspects. An ability to remember many types and specific positions, how to handle them, and specific moves to some degree. And memory of endgame positions, evaluation & techniques. Memory & particularly speed of recall seems less important to me in Corr play. But perhaps analytical ability more important, not only for depth, but especially breadth of analysis. That being the opposite of OTB, where the abiltiy to efficiently select the fewest of good candidate moves, thus saving time and energy, is a definate asset.
In Corr I find that having the time, it is often beneficial to review every reasonable looking Candidate, some that are not reasonable looking, plus every Capture possible. And every piece that could come within 2 squares of my King within 2 moves. (If moved once or unveiled).
.....About Spatial & Visual perceptions: I think I agree with G.Kasparov much, in what he recently said. That his greater ability or any GM's over an amateur is not so much greater ability and depth of analysis. Rather a greater understanding of the game, which often lead to Less Use of actual analysis calculation. I've supected as much. That GM's have a greater store of positions to refer to and knowlege of where they wish the game to go. And will tend to think schematically as much as possible, particularly in endgames. I think he implied that once there is a certain ability attained for depth and correctness of analysis, then that is mostly sufficient. And ability to do it quickly and with efficiency in choosing Candidates starts to become a factor. Which comes from a superior understanding & knowlege.
I know that when I analyze in OTB it is seldom over 4 moves deep.(Not 1/2 moves)
Sometimes as little as 2. Almost never over 8. Except in some specific combinations, often with a number of forcing moves. But I have clock troubles often, just the same. Perhaps becoming used to looking at more Candidates there.
So might look at 5 or more in OTB too. But think thats maybe a bad idea. Kasparov sounded like he only need consider 2 or 3 at most. Of course many games are won & lost when one guy thinks hes seen a move further but finds he actually looks one move Less deeply. Even though his analysis was correct to that point. A lot of players seem to make the mistake of only looking at a combination or sequence to the point where some capture is made. Perhaps a superior piece. Then figure, "so he con't do that" but looking 2 moves beyond that might have found "Yes he Can do that! And now I am Lost."
I think that Creativity is another big factor. Especially if it involves finding moves or ideas that the other player does not consider. Perhaps because they are exceptions to the general strategic maxims we learn. Or he's being overly efficient. Or just didn't think of them for any reason. Zwishenzugs often win games.
As for visual/spatial perceptions. I've found that to me, those used at the Chess board don't seem to align well with those of the Tested variety. I've had enough tests to know that I can fold little blue outlines into little blue boxes & various geometrics like crazy. Never miss & always finished it first. Maybe WC calibre blue box folder. Besides not being a highly sought job skill however 8-) it seems my Chess analysis is well below my blue boxing capabilities. Can play blindfolded, barely, a nice KG win once, but find I lose some moves after awhile often. Especially little peripheral moves like RP's. And have seen OTB games so complicated I couldn't analyze them in 2 Days, without moving some pieces around.
So it seems a bit different to me. And so I wonder if such skills would translate to Chess from other Life activities, such as Musicianship, and from which ones if so. I also note, blue box folding does not help Guitar playing, for I may be the Worlds Worst, as my friends claim...
Personally howver, I believe that as important or more so than any mental skill, are the matters of: Attitude, Study, Hard Work and Experience. I spent 14 hours of board time on a move vs Dunne. Another 10 hours on one vs Schiller. Those are my longest, but well rewarded. Recently interesting to read that Dunne apent 4 hours for his longest time on a move. In his game contained in his book "Modern Postal Masterpieces".
....I'm very interested to hear your ideas for this thread.
ccmcacollister 63 ( +1 | -1 )
A SPECIFIC QUESTION I HAVE>>> I am wondering about other players. When you analyze for OTB play, do you just go thru the moves of a combination or move sequence Visually in you mind? Or do you also Sub-Vocalize Linguistically as you analyze? And actually say in you thoughts the sequence, like "1.Bb5 Bd7 2.Nc3 Nc6, g3 Nf6l, Bg2 Be7 etc?"If he goes Qb6 then I go Be3 then Qc7 ro Qa5 and I can play Nc3" etc. Or both at times?
(that's what I do. But usually try to be as visual as possible. Maybe just "saying" the first move or 2 of that analytical branch of the Tree (ala Kotov "think Like A Grandmaster" for Tree analysis & Candidate selection techniques - I thought it an excellent book BTW).
Or do you have some totally different way ?! (D&D dice ??! I dunno, whatever.)

mary875 54 ( +1 | -1 )
IQ and ELO If you want some information about ELO and IQ, you may look at:

Conclusion: a person with 'normal' IQ (i.e. 100) could possibly reach up to 2000-ELO. I don't personally believe that our abilities (e.g. IQ or chess skills) are fixed; I believe that with time and experience it can improve quite importantly. Of course some people have better, or worse, innate abilities than other...

It could be also intersting to know the IQ of "top dogs" here at GK, no?
rommel13 48 ( +1 | -1 )
Nuts. 2000??!? Are you kidding? Well that's disturbing. I've taken saveral IQ tests both on the net and with professionals and the results are quite consistent; 128-135. A look at my rating, which is in the 1400's, would be disappointing but for the fact that I have never studied chess with any structure or enthusiasm as an analysis of my games would probably reveal!

It is nice to know that should the urge strike and I commit myself to study, that I could approach a respectable rating....
anaxagoras 222 ( +1 | -1 )
ccmcacollister, try to make your posts more concise, please! Or at least organize the points you are trying to make...
Ok, as for professions, it's very difficult to establish any sort of correlation between professions and chess ability because both often involve an extensive ammount of acquired knowledge. If a brilliant math professor (or musician, etc.) has only played a few games of chess, any one of us would utterly destroy him. What would be more interesting would be how quickly he can learn the game and (perhaps) overtake us in ability. A word of caution: there are many homeless people who are great at chess (they have nothing else to do?), does that mean wasted talent? Or what about Nabokov's chess idiot? A man completely bereft of talent, except for chess?
What hasn't been explained is why there ought to be a correlation between chess and other abilities? If we're going to be honest, we may have to admit that chess is just chess and being good at it is no indicator of skill in another field.
What I would look at instead are the values of people who play chess. Why do they like the game so much? Me? I can't stand leaving anything to chance, in other words, to dice! It's the feeling of logical necessity in forcing chess moves that gives me a rush.
honolulu, in the study you mention, the chess masters were no better at remembering the position of chess pieces placed at random on a board (vs the general public). To make the point more explicit, it's the relationships between the pieces that GM's remember, not so much their location in 2 dimensional space.
"When you analyze for OTB play, do you just go thru the moves of a combination or move sequence Visually in you mind?" Or do you also Sub-Vocalize Linguistically as you analyze? And actually say in you thoughts the sequence, like "1.Bb5 Bd7 2.Nc3 Nc6, g3 Nf6l, Bg2 Be7 etc?"If he goes Qb6 then I go Be3 then Qc7 ro Qa5 and I can play Nc3" etc. Or both at times?"

Neither. Sometimes my eyes move over the important squares; sometimes I hold my head with my hands; sometimes my lips twitch... and that's all I can really say with certitude. Phrases like "visually in your mind" should be used with caution, as, of course, no one actually sees something "in their mind."
deadofknight 23 ( +1 | -1 )
prodigies... just wondering if young prodogies are ever recognized in fields other than math, music
and chess...

is that concise enough anaxagoras ?
pycroft 142 ( +1 | -1 )
Music and Chess IQ and intelligence have nothing to do with each other (In my opinion). IQ doesn't
measure how smart you are, rather, it measures your aptitude to learning. There
have been thousands (most recently, and famously by Howard Gardner from
Harvard) who have alternate theories about intelligence. Is someone who has
spatial ability and mathematical calculating skills (Needed for chess) more or less
smart than an athelete who can calculate billions of variables in a split second to
know the exact angle to hold the tennis racket to make the ball hit the line? In my
opinion, the best theories out there say there are multiple intelligences that people
all have, and at varying degrees. A mathematician may have great math skill, but
may not be creative at all. A person (ME) may have wonderful musical ability, but
no spacial intelligence (I routinely get lost walking around a building I have worked
in for three years, and have never found my car in a parking lot w/o help). IQ to
me is bogus. Someone with a 100 IQ may find it more difficult to reach 2000 than
someone who has an IQ of 180, but they can do it. Similarly, IQ only measure the
aptitude in which someone can learn in a certain WAY (Usually mathematically,
spatially) but does not judge all kinds of intelligence (I believe Howard Gardner said
there were 7: Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Spatial, Mathematical, Musical,
Kinesthetic, and *I can never remember the 7th, but i'll get back to you*).

Just my two and a half cents

atrifix 154 ( +1 | -1 )
"I've heard RJF called 180. And G.Kasparov called 170. "

My understanding is that Fischer never took an IQ test, but biographers of Fischer (and IQ experts) have estimated his IQ around 180. No idea about Kasparov. Personally, I think IQ is bunk.

"I think I agree with G.Kasparov much, in what he recently said. That his greater ability or any GM's over an amateur is not so much greater ability and depth of analysis. Rather a greater understanding of the game, which often lead to Less Use of actual analysis calculation."

This idea originates long before Kasparov and has been confirmed in numerous psychological tests beginning around the 1940's and 50's. However, such tests typically do not measure how much a person CAN calculate on any given move, but merely how often they usually do. It would seem to me that Kasparov has the ability to calculate longer and deeper variations than the average amateur, although he rarely uses it (e.g., Kasparov-Topalov).

"I am wondering about other players. When you analyze for OTB play, do you just go thru the moves of a combination or move sequence Visually in you mind? Or do you also Sub-Vocalize Linguistically as you analyze? And actually say in you thoughts the sequence, like "1.Bb5 Bd7 2.Nc3 Nc6, g3 Nf6l, Bg2 Be7 etc?"If he goes Qb6 then I go Be3 then Qc7 ro Qa5 and I can play Nc3" etc. Or both at times? "

Visually I am not so good. I usually sub-vocalize in my mind, although on occasion I sometimes whisper to myself (bad habits die hard). Mostly I just try to come up with some ideas, and then before I make my move I try to group everything into a variation tree (e.g., Kotov).
alexamenos 88 ( +1 | -1 )
Missing from this discussion... …is any consideration of emotional “talents” that may be critical to be a really good chess player such as a killer instinct or the ability to maintain one’s poise-under-fire.

Perhaps some not-so-desirable traits are necessary to be really good at chess as well – why start with the premise that skill at chess is indicative of only desirable qualities? A sadistic desire to make another person look stupid would seem to be a huge advantage of chess.

On that note, maybe Bobby Fischer’s paranoia, rather than intellect, is what set him apart from other players? In other words, if you (who ever may be reading this) lived your life in a constant state of fear that every person on earth was devising devious plots to bring you to ruin, how likely is it that you’d miss a coming knight fork?
commodore 21 ( +1 | -1 )
IQ approaching 200.... highschool grad at 12 and my take on all this is; I set up my board look at the GK screen look at board, screen, board, sip beer, look, sip, oh forget it turn on the tube, ya'll need to drink more beer and relax.
buddy2 31 ( +1 | -1 )
iq Have you ever seen the intelligence pyramids in biology books, where people are always on the peak, gorillas, monkeys. dolphin, etc. on the way down. I often thought if dolphin created iq tests, they would put themselves on top and humans near bottom because we aren't as good at catching fish.
fmgaijin 56 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess-Playing Musicians Just to answer a question several folks asked, there have been a number of strong chessplayers who were also professional-quality musicians, going back at least to Philidor and continuing to more modern players such as Taimanov and the Piatagorskis. Of course, one might have talent for something without becoming a professional in it (e.g., I compose and perform music, play chess, and was originally a math major, but I wound up with Ph.D.'s in English and Philosophy and that's what pays the BIG bills, though the others helped me get there).
ccmcacollister 56 ( +1 | -1 )
Mary875 Thanks for the Link. That looks like a fantastic book to me, that I'll probably order. But found I must either buy from a USA dealer to use dollars. Wrote him for an autographed copy, but will need to send in British Pounds Sterlilng, to do that. So haven't decided yet. (Wonder what kind of Servicde Charge I'll get from the bank if I just write a personal check in Sterling !!? 8-D Tempted to try it just to see. Otherwise suppose it'll take a trip to the bank with charge for conversion and bank check. Alas. Why do we seem so to strive for complexity.)