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We all know that Einstein had a bigger I.Q than Kasparov...really? How can you be so sure? Do you know much about relativity or Einstein, Kasparov or chess? I'm curious to know. The common thread of the group seems to be that anyone can become 'good' at chess if they apply themselves. But what is required to become a G.M? Can anyone do this by applying themself? What is required to play at 2800? Would a person with an I.Q = 100 be the type of person who would bother to play chess really well? I.Q is just a figure stating where a person places statistically on a 'Bell-curve'...just as the ratings of a chess player.
This now leads to the question of how you would expect 100 chess-players to score on an I.Q test versus 100 people 'off the street'? The feeling I get from this thread is that people have a high opinion of themselves regardless of their level of chess ability...but ask them the question above and they'll say 'yeh, we chessplayers will kick their collective arses'! Why? Because...we're chessplayers!
Has anyone read Dr. Levitt? Do we simply disregard the writings of this Philosophy PhD who is also a G.M because we 'feel' he is 'out of his tree'?
What is required to be a GM? Practice, Patience, Determination. You would have to be smart enough to remember lots of information I would assume. I would also think certain personalities would be better suited for chess as well (to become a GM to be more specific).
100 chess players very well may score better than 100 people off the street. Why? I'm sure part of the reason would be due to the type of people that choose to play chess. That said, what kind of chess players would make up this 100 group? I have a freind that plays chess. He was a "C" student in school, quit college (I believe it was too tough for him) and is only a decent chess player. To give him credit, he is very street smart. I would be willing to bet that he is only of average intelligence so it would be a toss-up if his IQ is higher than any random person off the street.
Sorry about telling the same story again but my computer went a little crazy and it looked like I'd lost all the previous post. To answer the guy who prefers to play checkers, I assumed that only serious players with an 'over the board rating' [not just anyone who knows how the darn pieces move!]
Charlie seems to think that skill at chess is just a matter of memory...of pattern recognition. Well...every area of intellectual life depends highly on memory, certainly not just chess.
It will be interesting to read some more answers to the 1000 chessplayers v the rest question from some of the intellectuals above :-)
If the 1000 chess players is a random selection of people who play chess (could be casual players (few games a year), tournament players (for lack of better term), online only players, beginners, ect...), then they very well could have near an average IQ. It would be a good idea to define what kind of chess players you are referring to. I will grant you that perhaps "smarter" people choose to play chess as opposed to other hobbies, but I bet the reason is not mainly because they are just plain smart.
How many 2000+ chess players are there relative to the total population of chess players? I am willing to bet a small percentage.
I tend to think that people who rise to the top of their respective profession, hobby, whatever you want to call it, would most likely have above average intelligence.
I agree with "Checkers". There really isnt a much of correlation, if any, for playing chess is a skill, or rather, involves a skill set, that may or may not tie into intelligence. And I have had many experiences like what "NM Reb" in 13 has had, though his illustration re "smartness" is a bit of a non sequitor. Intelligent people often do well in chess, but it is far from a 1-to-1 correlation.
the problem in the 1000 smarty pants-es vs 1000 dumb contruction workers arguement is that it leaves you at the end with a worthless conclusion. I'd even argue that if you randomly sampled 1000 chess.com users vs a random sampling of people in the general populace. There'd be no gaurantee what so ever of higher IQs because the vast majority of that 1000 chess people would be averagely ranked players... of probably average intelligence. Thus probably statistically matching the chances of finding a majority of average people amoungst 1000 non-chess folks... with the few rare above average people. Now... if all you sampled were top tier chess people... then sampling a random 1000 off the street wouldn't be a fair test. But aside from all that... this idea that IQ equates to a better person... or the implication that chess people of higher caliber must somehow be better people/smarter people seems to attach some desperate notion of superiority to the past time of chess. Quite simply... we're all playing a game that they've programmed computers to do better than almost anyone playing the game. So there's a seriours flaw in the "masters must have higher IQ" arguement... because it seems to equate skill of chess to remembered combinations of moves. Which makes the question... do you have to have a high IQ to be able to remember a vast amount of specific information. I'd say no. Any advantage in inherent intelligence could reasonably be overcome by determination and practice/memorization type learning by a average intelligence level person. So the more simple question then becomes... is being master level good at chess... more determined by IQ/intelligence or by something else... luck, inventive playstyle, or agressive playstyle, or skill. The questions on why certain "genius" type people excell into chess is more of a social question of which types of social pressures are put on people who exhibit intelligence in certain social, economic, and cultural strata. And again, to my original point of ...the conclusion leading to an empty answer. If you simply ask: Do you think a master level chess player has a higher IQ than an average person? I'd probably tend to guess yes... but to me it's a worthless statement. I think anyone in a top tier of any field probably has some advantage somwhere in thier make up that's allowed them to excell. Now if you ask, are all chess GMs geniuses, or extremely high IQs i'd say no. Because there's no proof or reason to suspect that one equates to the other in a direct corelation (ie GM = genius/near-genius IQ) especially over a range of people... who may draw on a wide range of implied advantages ...none of which may be above average IQ(simple analogy might be a wealthy child, who's parents thought chess a noble pursuit, paid for the best coaches and tutors, and because of the child's wealth into adulthood had the time and leisure to pursue chess to a degree an average working person may not...thus being at master status through a better help of his economic status than inherent IQ) And furthermore, if the question was... does having a high IQ make you more likely to being a chess master? or make it easier? i think is a relevant question. Imagine how many high IQ people or genius level people suck at chess. So that even if 100% of GM level players are high IQ it would seem to argue that you have to be one to be the other... but it's still not true... because it doesn't take into account all the high IQ people who aren't GM level players... or high IQ people who "couldn't" or chose not to advance to that level...even if they enjoy chess. With the point being... that IQ again, isn't a significant determiner, as much as skill, knowledge of the game, tactics, and or inspired outlook towards or penetrative understanding of the underlying mechanics of the game... allow people, regardless of IQ to advance in a game that relies heavily on those traits at top tier play. Which brings you annoyingly back to the beginning of "do you need to be high IQ to being that good" my answer is NO... but that doesn't mean that people at GM level chess aren't smart, are aren't even all high level IQ ...but it does mean that there isn't some universal equivalent or direct x = y logical statement to be made. Nor do I think there's much worth in trying to attach privillege or superiority to the notion of chess at advanced levels. Preferring to simply say that GM lvl players pocesses great skill and commitment to the game of chess... regardless of IQ, or social constraints.
The original "intelligence" test was designed by a French psychologist to determine which grade school students might require additional help, not as a general measure of each student's "intelligence".
US eugenics scientists hijacked this idea and tried to prove cognitive differences among the various "races" of human beings with the first "I.Q." test. All this indirectly related, of course, to racist "anti-miscegenation" laws and sterilization programs; the courtesy was extended to people from southern and eastern Europe, not just people with "colored" skin.
Then Hitler happened, and eugenics kind of became really, really unpopular except among certain circles of kids whose mommies didn't hug them enough. Modern "I.Q." and other aptitude tests (like the SAT) are unfortunate by-products of that era.
That wasn't too much of a tangent, was it?!
The general theory today is that there are numerous aspects to human thought processes, and therefore you cannot possibly boil someone's "intelligence" down to one number.
Chess, like anything else, is about practice and study. If you're accustomed to studying esoteric fields and have a lot of time to blow, you'll get better. Just like anything else. Try to play a few games every day and study openings and classic lines of play. Unlike in life, in chess there is a finite number of ways--and only a few strict definitions--of "winning". 64 squares, 16 pieces each.
I think Fischer had it right when he invented Fischer Chess. And that should be available on chess.com soon, I hope?
Or, you could skip all the learning and just use fritz (chess computer) like many on this site. Save you a little time.
Doubt there's a correlation, I done an official Mensa IQ test and got 133 but my score is only 1400 odd on this.
So I wonder if I should feel better or worse losing to 1100 rated 12 year olds in the tournament tonight, now that I know that I'm GM strength.
I don't buy it. I also think that spatial relationships and pattern recognition have little to do with diffrentiating masters from grandmasters. They may play a role in differentiating 1200 rated beginners from 1600 rated beginners, but I can't imagine that coming into play at the highest levels.
Hard work and study. The secret is that there is no secret.
Someone made a comment about studying and preparation for an IQ test. IQ tests (though still biased in many ways like any test) are based on the ability of your mind to assess, evaluate, process, and originate solutions to problems (or puzzles if you prefer that word). They are not like tests at school where knowing the facts and figures means you will know the answers. The failure of using IQ tests is that they test only a few categories or "genius" or figuring. This is why they do not directly correlate to chess rating, or even ability at anything in particular. This said, IQ tests can be combined with other evaluations to be of greater benefit. Fortunately IQ tests no longer just tell how white-male-upperclass you are like they used to. In the 1920s you could not have answered a question about a schooner if you lived in the Bronx or New Mexico unless you read about one, which would have little to do with IQ but more to do with social standing.
And in regard to the comment that IQ is not static, I agree. Not only does the testing have an expected range of error (anything above 120 and below 80 is likely to to have some error, with greater error the further you get from the center), but if you work with logic and reasoning (by say, playing chess) you can develop that portion of your mind to some degree beyond what you may have tested at previously. So, in SOME regard, you CAN study for an IQ test but it more like getting in the mood than it is reading up on the details.
Chess is about problem solving, or better said: analysing, synthesizing, creating and decision making; also, as many chess fans in this post have written, memory is needed like a very important tool.
IQ is a measure of intelligence and chess rating is another measure, the first is for all people measure but not the second. In all human activities and topics there are intelligent people, but not being good in this one you have to be good in that or those ones.
IQ is generally acccepted for intelligence measure, chess rating is generally accepted for chess community. Being a high chess rating player is being a good proffesional, 'cause this person has to be trained, prepared, and has to spend several time playing. In chess there are people with easy developing skills, like Magnus Carlsen or Bob Fischer, but they had to be trained to improve chess skills.
The key is to find if chess is easy to learn in some people, and after that, developing them.
Also, according to that formula, 50% of people are above 2000 potential playing strength, and the other 50% are between 1900-2000 (heavily skewed towards 2000).
If this formula would be correct we would have no well experienced players below 1900.
My view would be that while there is a degree of correlation between IQ and Chess abilities & rating; it is not a directly causal relationship. IQ is no higher than third most important factor to Chess success, imo. Perhaps lower. Other high priority abilties for OTB are listed later.
Kasparov & I both have higher IQ scores than Einstein. You probably do too! Einstein's score should be the same as Forrest Gump ... since neither have taken an IQ test. We do know that Kasparov probably played better Chess, since Einstein would typically lose to his friend Emmanuel Lasker. It has been said Albert was likely of upper "Class A" Chess abilities.
Back to IQ. Kasparov did a test on request sometime back, before the mid-1990's, and a Chess writer published the ones Kasparov missed. From that it was evident the test was either not standardized or not well. For one of the missed Questions was bogus, since one knowing Algebra could create multiple "correct" answers. Be that as it may, his result on it was in the 170's. It was either a scale to 200, or else open-ended as in the obsolete Mental vs Physical age ratio method without a top limit. [Other tests may score only up to a 160 max. But are comparable based upon Std's of Deviation from the norm. eg 160 = 200]
Einstein has no recorded IQ test result known, but was estimated by Britannica decades ago as being 155. They based their 'guesses' upon the works & known mental skills of the persons estimated. For any help it might be in judging their accuracy, others they listed were: #1) Sir Francis Galton 196 (or 192. This is all pulled from memory 20 years ago), his cousin Charles Darwin = 130, Thomas Jefferson = 140, John Quincy Adams = 160 or 165.
Yes, I have read & spoken to Dr. Levitt. It seems his formula does make some pretty good "hits", but imo cannot be a definative answer. The reason being just that there are Factors to OTB Chess ability that outweigh rote IQ ...which itself is so multifactoral as should make for a wild Variance statistically. Examples: #1 MEMORY, #2 Memory, #3 Character/personality, #4 Study & Experience, #5 Creativity.
Memory may be somewhat tested on IQ Tests, but is not the primary goal of testing. One thing IS tested for on them: Spatial Perceptions (EG Fold Blue-lines to make Blue-boxes mentally). Such perception definately relates to Chess. But board visualization tends to be a skill where only a certain amount is needed. In all but the most complex positions, anyone having "enough" ability overall can play it, the main difference being more time consumption. [As a Class B player I had calculated a 10 move (not 1/2 moves) combinative win. Upon reaching Expert I did not have better analytical visualization. In fact it had declined a bit, but experience made up for that. At that level of analysis ability, there have only been a couple times I felt out-analysed in depth. I Believe tho, that the difference in a GM analytically is it seems they can hold a much BROADER analysis tree in mind, without error. Not proven, just an observation from many game reviews.]
Creativity may be somewhat tested within IQ, in finding answers there that need original or untypical thinking, or viewing the matter differently ...such as in a crossword puzzle when the clue word may have 3 or 4 different meanings, with both nouns & verbs, etc. But imo even this skill is seldom the game winner except in the exceptional position. And in fact That is precisely where I feel that rote intellence does play the biggest part. In creating the ability to find the move that is a desperation save, or quite obscure winning method especially endgames. Or for coming up with nontraditional plans which may not occur to the opponent, or perhaps be misunderstood. BUT in most situations, I feel that generalized intellegence, like analytic visualization, is a case of having Enough, or not.
I would say Correspondence Chess definately has different emphasis of importance of skill & abilites. And in fact does seem to utilize more creativity & general intellect as primary skills in very top players, once out of known waters & on their own resources. Memory is important still, but less so than in OTB.
In both forms of the game however, Character & Personality are vitally important. Factors such as OverConfidence, Fear, Handling dislike or discomfort with the postion, Laziness, Self Deception in assessment, Poor Work/Study ethic, Misconception that their intellegence can overcome other lacks ... and the like, must be a large part of why some players do not reach their potential cited in the Levitt formula. Another would be failure to do the work & study, in and of itself.
I personally put in well over 5000 hours of study and play, to go from 777 first rating, to Expert in OTB and Master in Postal & Corr. play. So for those who wish to do well in Chess ... let it be known, you can get much much better, no matter where you are starting from.
A final comment... It has been discussed and generally accepted among a group of players in my area that are Masters; that yes we believe that those of average IQ range (IE falling within the first standard of deviation of the bell curve) CAN make Expert in OTB with sufficient study, experience & determination. Unless there is some specific deficiency in their abilities. Such as in memory or matters of character or approach as mentioned previously.
Regards, CCM Craig A.C. , Former Program Director American Mensa Nebr./Iowa, USA; and a USCF Tournament Director, Organizer, Local Editor & since 1972 = Player :)
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