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Oh, yeah, let's turn this into a women and chess thread.
34 pages and as whole we are still no closer to resolving this than we were on page #1. Which would make me say it depends on the individual an if they believe they can do it. I have say will they be great at it?
No, let's not
"The question of whether it is possible for everyone is hurting the myth of "everyone can do everything" on which the western societies are built in a more or less large part."
You of course have to sneak in such a broad generalization to answer the question. That making you feel superior is not so different from some of the men on the women's chess threads feeling superior to all women (even the ones with higher ratings than them) because men on average are better players. You could simply focus on saying things that directly address the question.
It was not intellectual show-off. I just pointed out that saying that everything is possible with hard work looks more cool on an internet forum than the opposite thesis, because of cultural factors, thus inducing a cognitive bias against acknowledging the truth, and pushing to using flawed arguments and other fallacies to defend the coolishness of that point of view.
In the same vein, try pointing out some advantadges of hereditary monarchy (with the king having the executive power) over democracy. How compelling your arguments might be, you will be confronted to the "democracy is the Good (TM) and you are stupid to argue otherwise" crowd. I am by no way advocating that thesis, I just mention that your arguments will not even be listened when it comes to some subjects.
For a more extreme example of the same "I-know-so-I-don't-listen" attitude, look carefully at "AMIAMRAM" 's comments on this youtube video, and dispair : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_W280R_Jt8.
The topic has been widely discussed in the -waow, already ?- 33 previous pages, when #9 (coming from someone closer of being a GM than all the others) should have closed it. Other posters have made great posts too, yet, someone is still arguing with poorly backed "arguments". Pardon me for having gone a bit off-topic.
The VAST majority of people who insist that anybody can be a Grandmaster, will never even come close to becoming one themselves.
No, only very intelligent humans (like me for instance) are able to achieve that.
OK, an average player sets his mind to the task and steadily improves, beats almost every other player and becomes a GM. The pool of GMs expands by one.
What happens if 10 000 players take on the task at the same time? Some will be better or faster learners than the group average. They can't all become GM, because some clearly beat others.
A rapid search in Google says that around 48% of the students at Harvard conclude their course. As it takes much less efforts to graduate at Harvard then it takes to become a GM I could say that less than 48% out of those that try hard enough can achieve such goal. I dare to say that 20% would be a more appropriate number.
Interestingly, Smirnov recently published an article in his blog about chess and second language.
His theory is that learning chess through a foreign language is better in that it forces one to do it slowly and more seriously.
You forgot to mention the students who don't make it in to Harvard at all.
If it was free maybe.
Anyone can become a GM is a myth. Assuming GMs make up 99.94 percentile of active chess players (active means that they play at least one sanctioned tournament a year)... that means there are 6 GMs out of every 10,000 active players. If you had that much skill as a basketball player you would be recruited by the top 20 collegiate basketball programs - thats how good a GM is.
According to one Garry Kimovich Kasparov (no slouch himself), if you can't easily play at 1800 by the age of 10yrs you have little chance of reaching 2500 ever. The average active player (14 and over) in the USCF is just under 1400 so it means you have to be able to naturally play better than 85% of active adult chess players. Thats a huge talent requirement.
So the answer is no. Not anybody can become a GM and only very few have the talent to do it - even if you control for coaching. The Polgar family somewhat proved this theory wrong, but even in the unusual Polgar family of a brutal perternal chess experiment only 2 out of 4 sisters became GMs.
I don't want to be accused of spamming in this lively thread. I'll post the link in your profile.
No. Not everyone can become a grandmaster, no matter how hard they try becoming one. There has to be a certain level of knowledge and understanding that most indivdiuals never grasp about chess. Specific conditions could help (such as tournament pairings) but being able to comprehend complex positions is too much for most people (as explained by smirnov that claims chess players are lazy). There are many interesting stories about kids becoming grandmasters (such as Wei Yi, the youngest grandmaster) which can show that effort may not always be the determining factor.
They do put in effort, but it's so much easier for them because of natural talent, that most people just don't have.
I listened to an interview ( in russian language) with Morozevich. He was asked exactly tis question if anybody can become a GM. He answered that it was possible with a "well worked out strategy" .
GM Spragget sayid in his great article 'How to become master' :
CAN ANYONE BECOME A MASTER LEVEL CHESS PLAYER?"Yes, and if we are not considering the obstacles that might get in the way, why not? Some of the most 'hopeless' beginners have done it!"
Read this article...its really great. Here :
Aljechin on the other hand said in a rare interview posted on youtube that chess masters must be born with a specific talent.
Well.. if you can spend much time on studying chess.(Hard work is required!!)
Play many tournaments. Take chess lessons. Critically study your own games and understand your mistakes.
I think many can be GM:s if they could do all this but many fail somewhere on the road. Maybe they dont play so many tournament. Maybe they dont study hard enough. Motivation diminishes by time. You get older. Get family and more.
Fischer said in an interview : " What I understand about becoming good at chess is to keep at it" "Not being distracted". He also in n other interview on TV said what he thought is required to become a good chessplayer : "Talent,hardwork,skill,study a lot,patience".
Some words from Einstein on the subject, written in the forward of "The Life of a Chessmaster":
". . . the chess playing of a master ties him to the game, fetters his mind and shapes it to a certain extent so that his internal freedom and ease, no matter how strong he is, must inevitably be affected. In our conversations and in the reading of his philosophical books, I always had that feeling. Of these books, The Philosophy of the Unattainable interested me the most; the book is not only very original, but it also affords a deep insight into Lasker's entire personality…To my mind, there was a tragic note in his personality, despite his fundamentally affirmative attitude towards life. The enormous psychological tension, without which nobody can be a chess master, was so deeply interwoven with chess that he could never entirely rid himself of the spirit of the game, even when he was occupied with philosophic and human problems…(I) came to know him well in the course of many walks in which we exchanged opinions about the most varied questions. It was a somewhat one-sided exchange, in which I received more that I gave. For it was usually more natural for this eminently productive man to shape his own thoughts than to busy himself with those of another."
There have been studies which show that ability at chess has very little to do with intelligence. There is pretty much no correlation. A GM on average is maybe slightly more intelligent than an average person. I hate to burst the bubble of people who assume that great chess players are all super genius IQ, but that just hasn't been shown to be the case. Chess is much more about pattern recognition, which in itself is (at best) one small part of IQ. More important is going to be time spent playing. I would also suggest that having started young will probably be critical. The brain starts undergoing changes when a human hits about 7 years old, so someone that starts young is going to have a big leg up over someone who doesn't. Let's face it, someone who is of average intelligence but grew up speaking German is probably going to better at writing German poetry than a genius who just starts studying German at the age of 25. Your skill at chess measures your skill at chess, not much else.
GMs study a lot too. Magnus Carlsen studies chess like 8 hours a day since he was a zygote. Bobby Fischer had no life apart from chess. His best friend said that even when they were adolescents, Fischer wouldn't even look at girls. If his friend started saying, "hey look at that pretty girl over there, Bobby, man I sure would like to..." then Fischer would pull out a portable chess set and start going over the board by himself. There are even 2600s out there who decide not to make the push to be Super-GM since they 'want to have a life' outside chess. And 2600, we can just imagine that these guys are total beasts over the board, but still, they'd need to put an amazing amount of time in.
Ask yourself this too: Kramnik announced he was going to be retiring in the next few years. Kasparov retired. Well, why? These guys are still alive. They still play. Kramnik is going to retire at 40. Well, Kramnik is one of the best players alive, why stop? The answer is simply that they know that to be competitive at a high level they have to put in 8 hour days, 12 hour days, studying, studying, studying, so that someone who pulls a novelty off on Move 18 of some game played in Prague doesn't get to spring that trick on them at a later tournament.
That is one of the aspects of Chess: rating is relative. It isn't about how good you are, it is about how good everyone else playing chess is. A GM today would be a world champion in decades past. With the help of computer programs, the internet, modern psychology, etc., people overall are getting better at Chess.
My understanding is that someone can start later in life and become an expert. You can start later in life and perhaps even become a Master with enough time and dedication. Getting to GM level is really insane. If you haven't been playing since you were 6, had constant lessons, became a Master in your teen years, and are all caught up on the latest theory, you probably won't get there. Maybe if you hit Super Lotto and can study full-time, 8 hours a day, for years, but even then.
I was actually talking with one of the video authors on this site who had playing since he was young, became a Master in his teens, and is a REALLY smart guy on top of it all. I asked him if he planned to ever become a GM and he just laughed and shook his head, "No." I realized at that point that if he didn't see it as feasible for himself, it'll probably never happen for most.
That's the point. Becoming a GM is not something independent on the competition. Thinking that a GM title is guaranteed just by studying, having talent, spending much time on training, etc. is unreasonable - it's about performance results against other players. That's why few become grandmasters, like few become world (or continental, or whatever) champions at competitive sports. The GM title is meant to be rare, and the way it is obtained ensures that.
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