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# Extrapolating IQ scores to potential in chess

• #1

I recently took a real IQ test (not these fake internet ones). Two tasks stood out to me:

1) Progressive matrices where you had to guess the missing tile. It's supposed to test Logical Reasoning.

2) Arranging cubes to make the proposed figures in the least amount of time. It's supposed to test Spatial Reasoning.

Now I haven't read any study as to what cognitive abilities does chess work, but these two seem like a good guess (especially Spatial Reasoning).

So my question is: based on your scores on these tests is it possible to guess what your max rating will be in chess, provided you work hard and put forth your due diligence?

For example let's say a representative sample of chess players takes these tests and we record the scores. If a person who likes chess but is a complete beginner, comes and scores say three standard deviations above the mean of our population of chess players (99.7 percentile), does that mean that if he were to work hard, he could one day reach the title of International Master (according to Wikipedia "An International Master is usually in the top 0.25% of all tournament players at the time he or she receives the title")?

(Please pardon my math, I've never taken Statistics in my life)

There seems to be an obvious correlation between intelligence and chess (I think I heard Bobby Fischer's IQ was about 180 or something like that, I could be wrong) but obviously verbal abilities and the like don't have any impact when playing a game of chess. Should chess coaches start giving these tests to novice players to gauge their potential chess ability?

• #2
There has been research. My IQ is 152 and I am somewhere around 1100-1200 skill level. Kep in mind though in 4 months of play that is really good. I've known people playing 2 years and never got over 800 USCF. So mabye there is. Also Bobby Fischer never took a IQ test I do not think.
• #3
152 for what standard deviation?
• #4
Deviation IQ not ratio since ratio is innacurate.
• #5
???
• #6

An IQ test will show nothing.

The correlation of intelligence and chess hasn't been established scientifically yet , despite the many researches that attempted to find some correlation.

But since I have met some titled players I can tell you with certainty that some of them have below average intelligence in matters of daily life and they are even incapable to make a reasonable discuss in something else except chess.GMSimon Williams says almost the same in one of his articles that I can't find(if I do I will post a link).

Around 1927 a group of scientists did some tests in top player of that time and they found no correlation between intelligence and chess skill.Even Magnus Carlsen expressed the opinion that high intelligence might actually be a setback.

One thing chess needs is absolute concentration.A chessplayer must be able to isolate himself from everything when he plays or when he studies.If you can't concentrate and stay concentrated for long time periods(6-8 hours) then you better forget it.

Another thing is dedication.If you don't love it you can't do it.Chess is a painful game.Maybe that is why many call it sport.Repeated failures and bad defeats are a chessplayer's "best friend" and if he can't leave behind him every negative thought they create then he is doomed to fail.

The bad thing with chess is that the improvement comes from absorbing the knowledge and not from acquiring it.Learning something is not enough unlike other sciences.You have to apply it in your games in the form of creativity and new ideas.How does that happen?Noone knows.It does happen suddenly and without reason.So imagine a chessplayer that studies 6-8 hours a day and travels all year for tournaments and all he sees is failures and defeats.Imagine how he feels.He awaits an eventual improvement(a "jump" as we call it) that might happen and might not happen.I would say that no other game or sport tests so hard the personality of a human.

So concentration , dedication and strong personality are the main qualities of the great chessplayer.

All the rest (superhuman memory ,unbelievable intelligence, etc.) are myths.

• #7

IQ tests, and the entire concept of IQ, are worthless fluffery.  All that matters is what you can do in the moment.  Long ago, a psychologist told me I had a very high IQ, and I laughed in his face, just like I am laughing now in yours.

• #8
Chess is a game, @DeidreSkye.
• #9

My IQ is allegedly 157 according to Mensa but was a still very good 132 on the last serious test I took in high school.  I went on to get a masters in chemistry and bachelors in physics and within a few years was chief chemist for process research and development for a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

That did not help me with quick (less than 90 min on the clock chess games).  I play about 1400 in 30min OTB games and 1600 or better in 60 min or longer OTB games.  My USCF Correspondence rating from the pre-home-computer, scanty-literature 1970's is 2116 and I qualified for the Semifinals in the USCF 1977 Golden Knights.

So I think a solid IQ helps you understand chess, but I don't think you get good -blunder free- in quick games except through frequent repetition and lots of time - something I've never had enough of to devote to chess.

• #10
Kasparov has an IQ of 135 and he not only was the champ, but dominated (this side of Karpov and the 21st century).
• #11

Around 1927 a group of scientists did some tests in top player of that time and they found no correlation between intelligence and chess skill.>>

They're bound to be mistaken Deirdre. I think perhaps they didn't know the meaning of "correlation". I could talk further on the subject if you wish, but they were certainly wrong and most cognitive psychologists or whatever should agree since in general, there's a positive correlation between all activities involving cognitive functionality, which is thinking to you and me, in specific individuals.

• #12
dannyhume wrote:
Kasparov has an IQ of 135 and he not only was the champ, but dominated (this side of Karpov and the 21st century).

Kasparov has near-photographic memory though (if not true photographic memory, he is reluctant to speak about his gifts).

• #13
Fixing_A_Hole wrote:
dannyhume wrote:
Kasparov has an IQ of 135 and he not only was the champ, but dominated (this side of Karpov and the 21st century).

Kasparov has near-photographic memory though (if not true photographic memory, he is reluctant to speak about his gifts).

Yes, I used to have the same. Not fully photographic but close to it. I could recall lots of lines and games. It's a pity I didn't take up chess till I was 36 years old .... I could have perhaps been quite good instead of just a club player.

• #14
Optimissed wrote:

Around 1927 a group of scientists did some tests in top player of that time and they found no correlation between intelligence and chess skill.>>

They're bound to be mistaken Deirdre. I think perhaps they didn't know the meaning if "correlation". I could talk further on the subject if you wish, but they were certainly wrong and most cognitive psychologists or whatever should agree since in general, there's a positive correlation between all activities involving cognitive functionality, which is thinking to you and me, in specific individuals.

Mentions many reasearches that failed to prove a correlation.

• #15
I think those with high IQs are probably very alert problem solvers, which would of course be essential for chess, but I also think that someone who may not have a genius IQ, the creative, thinking outside of the box type let's say, may also have tools that the mechanical problem solver does not. I know those two can go hand in hand, the person with a high IQ could be great at both, but what I'm saying is that I think two people with different strengths and different ways of thinking, could be amazing chess players regardless of IQ
• #16
I have an IQ of 178 and my rating is 1200. No correlation at all.
• #17
• #18
[COMMENT DELETED]
• #19

Mentions many reasearches that failed to prove a correlation.>>

Thanks, I'll read it, but there's something about academic research that's worrying. Typically, the research is repeated over and over. That is, it isn't thought out from first principles more than once ... the first time. If that person looked convincing but got it wrong, where does that leave us? But I can't believe that no-one carried out research which seemed to show a correlation.

So I'm afraid something is very wrong with this claim. I'm sure the experimental method was faulty. Perhaps they administered an IQ test which, for instance, was not culture uninfluenced but which, perhaps, was very verbal or memory related. These aren't true intelligence tests. It's difficult to determine what is a true intelligence test that's culture and environment independent but I suspect that non-verbal reasoning is the way to go. Now, chess happens to be non-verbal reasoning, for the most part. See what I mean??

• #20
Optimissed wrote:

Mentions many reasearches that failed to prove a correlation.>>

Thanks, I'll read it, but there's something about academic research that's worrying. Typically, the research is repeated over and over. That is, it isn't thought out from first principles more than once ... the first time. If that person looked convincing but got it wrong, where does that leave us? But I can't believe that no-one carried out research which seemed to show a correlation.

So I'm afraid something is very wrong with this claim. I'm sure the experimental method was faulty. Perhaps they administered an IQ test which, for instance, was not culture uninfluenced but which, perhaps, was very verbal or memory related. These aren't true intelligence tests. It's difficult to determine what is a true intelligence test that's culture and environment independent but I suspect that non-verbal reasoning is the way to go. Now, chess happens to be non-verbal reasoning, for the most part. See what I mean??

Many researches failed to prove a correlation.Were they all faulty?

Is it what you want to believe(fine by me) or you can present scientific facts?

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