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I would agree that just because a GM might be really intelligent, that doesn't necessarily make him a good detective, professional problem solver, or even good at other types of brain teaser puzzles, but I am willing to bet that most GM's, "strictly based on their intellect", would make good candidates for those things.
In reasearching this problem I was surprised to find that this rather straightforward and intuitively obvious statement is, based on available evidence, very likely to be wrong. Great Chess players do not tend to have extraordinary reasoning capacity, as best the researchers can tell.
Consider a different cognitive problem, that of recognizing a familiar face. When we see someone we know well, we don't go through a calculation process where we compare eye distance and hair color and nose shape and decide that that face most likely belongs to Aunt Tilly. We just see Aunt Tilly and we know it is Aunt Tilly.
If it is someone we know a bit less well, we might have a suspicion, and then mentally dredge up other images from memory and compare features. More like, "That person looks familiar. Is he the guy who works at the 7-11? No...that guy has longer hair. Oh, I know. He's the guy who appeared on that one episode of "Bones" last season." In other words, "resaoning" seems to be secondary to "recognition".
Chess playing seems to be more related to face recognition than it is to traditional academic endeavors like understanding mathematics or physics. Great players tend to look at a board and just know what the right move is, possibly because it looks very much like the board position from another game they remember, and they knew what the right move was in that game. This finding is supported by studies of brain activation which show strong brain activity in areas devoted to recognition than those associated with puzzle solving or reasoning tasks.
Of course, this is somewhat speculative. We are just now beginning to understand the inner workings of the human mind, and we cannot be certain of these findings, but there is research available to support it.
A very thought provoking post, Meadmaker.The fact the question can be asked at all is evidence of how little we still know about the workings of the brain. 100 years hence, a discussion such as this may be impossible. Given we are currently only so loosely able to define intelligence, equating it with anything is ultimately a futile task - though I'm sure our descendents will forgive us the exercise.
I am not arguing that GM's don't have extraordinary memories. However, I do think that they aren't given enough credit for their calculation ability. At times I can see 8 ply. Often quite less. It depends on the difficulty in calculating the position, due to possible variations, forces, etc.
I am half as good as a GM by rating. I wont bet on the difference between him and I are simply memory. I will agree that once you reach GM level, you've pretty much seen it all, or if not something similar. I doubt however, that they got there simply because ,they memorized their way there.I would say they did a great deal more in the way of calculating than they are given credit for too.
This part of reasoning, as well as, strategy for playing particular opponents, etc, isn't really taken fully into account when trying to reduce playing chess into an exercise, comparable to recognizing faces.
I think a fairer comparison would be if you first recognized them, then if you figured out how they changed since you saw them last, which of their parents they looked most like, if you know them that well, and what you think they will look like in ten years. This doesn't really cover it me either.
From my own experience as a player, I don't play based on memory. When I try to match the masters, I can remember the basic position, even some of the moves. When you have 8 possible good moves to chose from, but they have to be in the right order and you have the added distraction of your opponents moves in between, good luck playing by memory.
When I compare it to my job, though I draw on my experience for dealing with small problems, when the situations are similar, I am forced to deal with each situation as unique.
A chess position might be the same as you saw it before, but each GM you play, might play it differently, within a certain set of confines of course.
I just wanted to say that if we are still at at impasse. I am ok with that. I am glad we are intitled to our opinion. I don't have the time nor do I feel like debating this further. See you later.
I noticed that the great grandmasters play in tournaments against each other using blindfold chess. And playing that way--they play at a very high level. This, I think has to do with spatial and to some degree memory.
I think, to be a grandmaster one must have spatial higher than say 99.8% of the population.
Question is how much does spatial affect what we call IQ?
Great post, @Ponz111. You said more in a few well constructed sentences than we have seen in thousands of posts, and dozens of threads on exactly this same topic. More power to you.
Indeed, a former USCF Correspondence Champ has the potential to bring great perspective, wisdom, and experience to these wooly forum discussions. The blindfold chess connection is an excellent and persuasive example.
I hope folks start listening to him, more.
And folks should read, and keep re-reading, @Joey's post #261, because he also lays out the "big picture" issues incisively, and with great conceptual insight. Nuff said?
Thanks again for both posts. You two guys made my day.
Was an issue of chess-life... maybe a year old now? Where titled players including GMs were given games similar to chess in their perfect information, zero-sum, nash equilibrium (not so sure about that last term, I'm sorta just throwing them out there now lol). But anyway games you could always reason though to the best logical move.
Long story short, the GMs preformed very very slightly better than a control group of non chess players. Masters as a whole preformed worse IIRC lol.
Fascinating. Assuming there were no differences in experience (i.e the "control group" wasn't made up of people with extensive experience at Twixt) I would still expect great Chess players to be at least somewhat superior at other abstract strategy games. I wouldn't expect grandmasters to be super Checkers or Hex players, but I would expect at least some measurable superiority.
I'll have to try and find that article.
My facial recognition abilities really suck. I probably wouldn't recognize my parents after a few years. It's kind of embarrasing when I don't remember family members or teachers I had a couple years ago. I'm okay at chess, but there is another strategy game I play that I seem to be pretty good at. This makes me wonder (assuming the theory is correct) what chess has that this other game doesn't. The game is much more strategic than chess. Perhaps it's becuase the game is a little bit more chaotic than chess, and doesn't have as many common structures. The board is likely to change much more quickly than the chess board. There also is little or no opening theory becuase of a large branching factor, and many different possible starting positions which allows for much more variety.
Facial recognition has nothing to do with playing online.
I can't believe this thread is still alive.
Interesting. There is of course a huge variation in Chess playing abilities, but at your rating I would say you are pretty good at it. Sure there are a lot that are better, but there are a whole lot that are worse.
So this data point would seem to provide a counter example. Good at Chess, lousy at face recognition.
On the other hand, the paper that first led me to the conclusion that Chess and face recognition had a lot in common was about brain activation. In Chess experts, but not in most people, the area that is active during face recognition was active while examinging board positions. The authors could not determine whether or not that area of the brain had been "taken over" to solve Chess problems, and therefore might be unavailable for facial recognition. If that were the case, you would expect great Chess players to be sub-par on facial recognition tasks.
Really, this is a scientific area that is just beginning. Very little is known about cognitive functions, and almost zero is known about memory.
ETA: Link to paper - http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/28/10206.full
umm..brown's chess ability and his lack of skill at pattern recognition is pretty consistent with his 300 pt rating differential between online on blitz chess. He can reason it out but not pull it up from memory banks.
Makes sense. Possible support for the theory after all.
Conversely, I can remember people's faces (for many years), but their names fly out of my mind very quickly, unless I write it down, or see and talk to them with some frequency.
@Ponz111's comment about Super GMs being rather good at blindfold simuls seems like one clear marker for the "pattern recognition" skill needed to perform at the highest levels in chess.
Indeed, very few people are strong players at blindfold chess (against non-blindfold opponents).
As per comments above, lots of players on this site appear to have Online ratings about 300+ points higher than their Standard Chess ratings. Is this a hardware or a software conceptual issue? Who knows? It may be an "engine issue," instead.
Or perhaps as folks get older, they just need more time to "figure it all out." And our "slowing reaction time" pushes us away from Blitz, and into slower game speeds.
For me, and I would assume many others here, the analyze feature has inflated my rating. Endgames can be figured in a matter of 2 minutes.
according to Mensa I have an IQ of 156, theoretically that categorises me as a genius on some IQ ratings (you need to be a genius to sift through them all) my Chess sucks ! Go figure ;-)
My blitz rating wasn't entirely accurate before. I haven't been playing much recently, and when I do play it's usually around midnight . I just played a few but it still can't really be considered accurate since I didn't have enough losses and it hasn't started to level yet. Also, online ratings seem to be higher than all the other ratings, so I'm not sure how well your idea holds up because of that, joeydivivre. It makes sense, but I'm not confident in any of the evidence.
according to Mensa I have an IQ of 156, theoretically that categorises me as a genius on some IQ ratings (you need to be a genius to sift throught them all), my Chess sucks ! Go figure ;-)
So does your spelling, it would seem.
When I consider the recognition versus calculation debate, as it pertains to what really fuels the GM's ability, I can't get past one glaring thing.
When I compare a face I have seen many times, to how it looks one day with a zit. I might not notice or even pay much attention to the zit. It doesn't suddenly confuse me as to who the person is, or how I necessarily equate things in my memory about them. I don't have to get to know them all over again.
When I liken this idea to a chess postion that a GM may have seen a few times prior, but it suddenly has one subtle pawn difference ( a chess zit, if you follow my logic), it makes me realize that the one little insignificant, practically unnoticeable thing, can make you have to completely recalculate the position, from the way your memory has it playing out. If this happens against another GM, regardless of whether you are up against his knowledge of theory, and or his calculation ability, the only chance a GM has to win, is to improvise, calculationing, at the GM level. This is what GM's do when the are caught off guard and they still beat other GM's.
If I was to play a decently playable line, but it wasn't as sound as the KIA, or the Ruy Lopez Attack and the GM didn't really remember much about it, I am sure he/she would still win, because they can simply calculate better than I can. Trust me, I have quite a memory for useless facts. I am sure plenty of people here at Chess.com will attest to that.
really ? feel free to point out my error, other than the typographical one with the erroneous t, which is typographical and not spelling.
In the US, we spell "categorise" with a "z" not an "s". Crazychessplaya is just recounting that Americans think that Brits don't know anything about the English language.
I know, I was just hoping for the rebuttal on it, I was also awaiting the proletariate vs proletariat also....forums are always interesting ;-)
I was gonna type rebuttle, but decided to change it to keep on topic
Glad you cleared that up. Much appreciated. Really Peachy Peace.
There's something I don't get about "pattern recognition" and Chess.
When I think about sample questions on IQ tests, a lot of them are of the form, "What's the next number (or shape, or word) in this sequence?"
I generally do a good job on those sorts of tests, especially in numbers and shapes. Not quite as well on words.
However, this sort of problem doesn't seem to have very much in common with determining a good Chess move given a board position. Likewise, distinguishing one face from another isn't very much like the "find the next in the sequence" problem, but surely face recognition is one sort of visual pattern recognition isn't it?
The "sequence" problems are a staple of IQ tests, and people good at them are likely to have high IQs as a a result. However, great Chess players do not generally have extremely high IQs. Some do, but most don't. On the other hand, there is clearly some element of "pattern recognition" that goes on in the mind of a great Chess player, but is it more like the sequence completion form of pattern recognition, or the face recognition form of pattern recognition, or a completely different form of pattern recognition not correlated with either sequence completion or face recognition?
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