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Why do you even care?
Intellectual curiousity. Isn't that enough?
This thread started with someone who noted he was intelligent, but lousy at Chess. Several other people have chimed in that they, too, fit that bill.
So, the question is, why?
For the people who don't find that question interesting, I recommend that they skip this thread altogether, and go play Chess. I cannot imagine the mentality of someone who hangs out in a thread solely to tell other people they are wasting their time. For those who do find it interesting, some summaries of previous ground covered:
High IQ helps in Chess, but not as much as people might think.
Study is more important than IQ, but it has to be effective study.
Everyone within normal ranges of mental capacity can reach some level of Chess proficiency. There has been a lot of back and forth on exactly what level of proficiency that is. Could anyone become a grandmaster? an expert? an 1800? a 1400? To me, defining that level isn't a very interesting question, but here is where we run into some controversy, and hence an interesting question.
The point is that Chess is a skill that must be learned. No one sits down at a board and immediately plays great Chess. Everyone can improve and learn through practice, education, and hard work. No controversy there. However, regardless of the level of work, people will hit a threshold, and some people's threshold will be higher than others. Furthermore, on the way to that threshold, some people will have to work a lot more than others to get there. If I may be forgiven for using myself as a reference, yes, I am extremely confident that I could get to USCF 1200. However, based on my experience, it would take me a lot more work to get there than it did for most of you who are already there.
So now I'm curious as to what makes Chess different from the calculus of variations with application to optimal control? Both are perceived by the masses as being intellectual tasks, but there are people who are good at one and lousy at the other. To put it differently, Chess ain't rocket science, and the proof is that there are a lot of rocket scientists who can't master Chess.
In my google research, it seems like the key may be that Chess is more of a perceptual task than an analytical task.
If anyone has some knowledge or just Great Thoughts on the subject, I, for one, would love to hear them.
You would have a valid question IF you first explored a. studying chess, which takes lots of time...years...to master b. stop playing blitz until you can play a decent game with longer time controls so that you can think and analyze instead of making knee jerk moves.
Frankly, after telling you this repeatedly, I do not think you are as smart as you believe. Dense...that's the word. Very obtuse, in fact.
Now I sense a serious elevation of the aforementioned scorn level ...
yes. Although my IQ places me in the top 2%, my chess skill puts me only in the top 10% or so.
You might have noticed that when asked "Why do you even care?", my answer did not include any reference to, "because I want to know how to improve my performance in the game of Chess."
And if you didn't notice it, then see your own post for more information.
My last post discussed the value of work and study, but I think there is ample evidence that work and study will have more benefits to some than to others, based on their innate abilities. I'm curious about the sort of innate abilities that translate into the ability to master Chess.
To Patzerlars: Yes...I now go to Delta Level 2.
Hey, James...you could qualify for Mensa (maybe you are a member).
Me? I applied years ago. Rated 3 percentile. What a bummer...missed by 1 percentile.
The test was taken in the basement of a library with a noisy, rowdy girl scout meeting on the other side of the door, jack hammers going full force outside the windows, no air conditioning in the hot/humid summer... They don't allow for a retest, either. Not for your entire life.
But, I take full responsibility. If I did not, I'd give myself a Delta Scorn Level 10 rating.
Congratulations on being shmarter than me by 1 percentile.
Studies have been carried out on this & was re-assuring that these indicated intelligence alone did not correlate to brilliance at chess.
If success at chess is assumed or expected on the basis of IQ-level alone then dissapointment will ensue & for a while may indeed discover that you ''suck at chess''.
Intellectual abilities differ as the last comment suggests. So, while one may excell in one or more areas, one may not excel at chess. First, chess requires good abstact thinking to understand and apply theoretical ideas. Good analytical skills are also extremely important. to reach reach very high levels of performance, an ability to memorize becomes important so that one can retain many different, analyzed lines of opening play so that one may save time on his clock and already understand the current and past opening theory. I for example, have an extremely poor memory so must rely on understanding without the knowlege of too many opening lines. The ability to calculate many moves in advace is also very important as one improves. Of course, one also has to have the patience to sit and think for long periods of time and deal well with adversity.
I'm curious about the sort of innate abilities that translate into the ability to master Chess.
Yeah, but you are not even willing to put in the real effort.
The answer is the same for a violinist who wants to get to Carnegie Hall.
Of course, you need to have the right kind of practice. Mindless blitz games when you are...what...a D player?...isn't going to get you anywhere.
Chuck, you make some good points.
You seem "intellectually curious" to read (and write) only your own posts. And as long as just one person in 260 posts says something supportive of you, then on and on your blather goes.
Study the game of chess if you want to improve. Why is that idea so difficult for you to either imbibe or grasp?
"Study Brings Wisdom. Practice Brings Perfection," cf. Johan Hellsten, Mastering Chess Strategy (2010). So get with the program, PLEASE.
:) Perhaps what does ''suck'' is using a thousand words when a handful would do ? Agreed.
ROFLMAO...I think I'm hearing my own echo.
God how awful we are...wasting such precious time...absolutely wasting it...when life is so short.
Study the game of chess if you want to improve. Why is that idea so difficult for you to either imbibe or grasp? Duh?
Because that isn't the question. This thread is not about how I, or anyone else, can improve.
By all appearances, you are breathtakingly stupid in your prose.
Thanks for the conversation. More power to you. Please feel free to knock yourself (and this thread) out of the ballpark.
Intellectual curiousity. Isn't that enough?
Threads like these are made by people wanting to find excuses for their problems rather than wanting to fix them.
Perhaps your case is different.
An interesting thread. I have not read every page of it. I don't have that amount of time nor did I see the discourse as being productive to read on every page; i.e. alot of sophomoric stuff. But there were much good thoughts too.
I found it interesting enough to devote time to reading the first 4 pp. plus some of the later ones and on into this tail end. My interest stemmed from my own experience with Chess.
But first I should say that the whole I.Q. question is spurious. It's not about I.Q. Granted one must have a certain mental competency to play Chess but not anything like being a "genius". The one thing I found that really put the focus where it should be IMHO was this:
I...think most people with high intelligence will be at least decent chess players if they put a bit of time into it, but not everyone with high intelligence is going to be able to become a super GM with a 2700 fide rating, I think those people actually do have incredible spatial/visual analysis abilities, something rare that most people don't possess, just like some people have incredible voices, most people can learn to sing decently if they put some time into it, but not everyone is going to be a Whitney Houston [my emphasis].
I really put my heart, soul and time into trying to really get better at Chess about 10 years ago and went at it for over a year, with books, study, hiring a coach, playing and analyzing games, and so on. I never got any better! Whereas like the O.P. my son became quite good without studying, having a coach, and so forth.
So I think that Chess is very much a "specialty item" which does require a certain type of aptitude, namely those spatial/visual analysis abilities spoken of in the above quote. And those abilities you are born with, you can't learn them. So if you start off trying to learn and progress in Chess and you DO NOT have above average spatial/visual analysis you are not going to get as far as those who do no matter what you do. Period.
So, for those of us without that ability, the study and practice of Chess will always have to be a real labor of love, because it will take that kind of "devotion" to stick with something that one is not naturally predisposed to.
The reason people go into the professions they do is because they find, amongst all the things in Life, that they are good in that field. There are very, very few people who are not naturally good in a particular field but who nonetheless decide to go into that field anyway! I think that such a decision is in a way kind of noble. It is also kind of weird.
For me Chess is a real challenge and every step I take is "uphill". Ten years ago I finally threw up my hands and said "Why am I doing this?". I didn't understand what I was up against. But now I do. And so I am approaching it quite differently. I am slowing down, not expecting much, and using it more as a form of meditation, or if you will, as a practice in humility and good humor.
Once again you are making the same mistake as the op: you are assuming that the time you put in was actually well spent. I could spend hours of my time memorizing all the lines of the Ruy Lopez but it wouldn't make me any better of a player. I could still brag about how long I "studied" though.
The second fallacy is that you assume that chess can be learned in the same matter as math or science which is not true.
For some reason people think that having a high IQ means that you can do everything one way and it will work out in the end. And one of the biggest stereotypes that continues to show itself in this thread is that so-called smart people would rather come to erroneus conclusions about their shortcommings in a field regardless of the fact that they have absolutely no authority on the subject.
Chess thinking is the key !! Finally we got it ...
Other than the last line, these sound like the things that are measured by IQ tests.
For what it's worth, in my reading, the authors tend to say that a GM's ability to look ahead several moves is very different than an ordinary player's ability. The key difference is that they seem to be able to rapidly spot a very small number of moves that might be good, and not spend time/brain power examining the vast majority of possible moves from any given postion.
Magnus Carlsen, interviewed on Sixty Minutes, said that he usually sees the right move right away, and all that other time that he uses up sitting at the board is just checking to make sure he's right, which he usually is.
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