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IQ versus Chess Rating

  • #21
    Meadmaker wrote:
    And there does appear to be a weak correlation between IQ and Chess, but it is quite weak.  The best Chess players do tend to be pretty smart, but there's hardly a direct correspondence.  Certainly, there are lots and lots of people who are very smart, work hard, and never get very good at Chess, while there are plenty of grandmasters and Chess prodigies who are of above average intelligence, but not geniuses (as measured by IQ tests).

    If I recall correctly, the correlation was in fact weak enough to be all but explainable-away by social bias.  Which is only to say that kids smart enough to excel in their early schoolwork are far more likely to be steered toward chess as a recreational activity than are those who struggle with their lessons early on.  And adults who pick the game up later on tend to be fairly smart adults, because chess is a thing "smart people do."

    Which means that the correlation between success in chess and intelligence isn't significantly different from the correlation between any experience in chess and intelligence.

  • #22

    It seems to me, to be brilliant at one thing, one must be equally deficient in an other thing. I've personally known a few people with very high IQs. I witnessed one almost get killed while crossing the street without first looking. But I still feel that having I high IQ can only be an advantage. So long as you look both ways before crossing the street.

  • #23

    Thanks again for all the responses. The consensus appears to be that IQ and Chess Rating don't correlate much, even though most responders here tend to at least appear to be of higher intellect than average, with generally higher ratings to match...

    My idea behind this comparison was really to get a sense of whether or not I, with a 120 IQ, could possibly improve past my dopey 1100 rating that I was stuck at for nearly a year before quitting in annoyance. I imagine I could, as many child chess prodigies get a much higher rating than that and surely have fairly low IQs compared to adults, but even so, I have yet to find a way to improve, and am by no means a child NOR a prodigy!

  • #24

    But as a moron and a patzer, what the hell do I know?

  • #25
    thedragon21 wrote:

    It seems to me, to be brilliant at one thing, one must be equally deficient in an other thing. I've personally known a few people with very high IQs. I witnessed one almost get killed while crossing the street without first looking. But I still feel that having I high IQ can only be an advantage. So long as you look both ways before crossing the street.

    Maybe that person was contemplating a complex chess position? Tongue Out

    Someone with average IQ should be able to reach 2000.

  • #26

    I'm a beginner myself but I went from a rating of ~800 to almost 1200 in 1.5 months. I mostly analyze tons of games by stronger players, as well as players of my rating category, and of course all of my own games. You can always pick up new ideas, reinforce notions you already know, and see good ideas that are obvious to you but that both players missed. You don't even need to analyze deeply, you can also quickly click through games and still get something out of it.

    A lot of people play tons (I did this too at first) but don't learn from mistakes. If you're stuck with a low 1100 rating, perhaps you aren't putting in enough analysis effort. Every game is archived and can be reviewed and it's really all in front of you. You should look at every game closely - particularly when you lost - and walk away from it with some sort of conclusion as to why you lost or won.

    For example, you may see that you got destroyed because you overlooked tactics like certain forks or discovered checks. Learn to see when your moves risk making you vulnerable to those, and when your opponent is vulnerable. In fact, when playing you should also check what moves would benefit your opponent beyond obvious threats - and try to prevent them in advance if you really don't want them to be played.

    You can also take strategical lessons from analysis easily, like seeing that you eventually lost a game because you lost control of the center or destroyed your pawn structure early, leaving your king vulnerable. Have an open mind and you will see the reasons.

    For your next games, try to avoid the mistakes and use the winning tactics and strategies that you saw in your analysis. Of course you will repeat mistakes, but if you you keep seeing the same winning and losing patterns in your analysis, you will sooner or later be able to apply them in the games themselves and improve.

    Try to play carefully (this might involve switching to standard chess rather than blitz) to  remove stupid blunders from the equation as much as possible. There is no point in playing a good game if you then just give away your queen for nothing because you put it on a field that happened to be controlled by your opponent but you didn't take the time to check. Blundering less alone significantly improves results at lower levels. There is really no excuse at all for the dumbest blunders. If you blunder pieces without even falling victim to tactics or miscalculation, get some sleep or stop playing blitz.

    A lot of people play standard chess as if it were blitz - don't do that. I've played opponents who had 30 minutes but rushed the first 30 moves in just 3 minutes and then lost badly. I don't understand this behavior at all.

    Another thing at low levels is that for openings you should follow a set of good principles, such as getting control of the center, paying attention to tempo by not touching a piece more than once in the opening, not playing too many pawn moves, not taking out the queen too early, etc. However, be careful to pay attention to what your opponent is doing rather than playing the same standard moves with no regard for the position.

  • #27

    IQ can measure a few things about ones type of intelligence. I have done tests and come out at about 135 and have a Fide rating of 2035. My pattern recognition is not the best but I perform strongly on the logical deduction type questions. Sometimes in chess you can't use pattern recognition so have rely on deduction type analysis.

    p.s, I am a lousy speller but am lucky that cellphone has word correction ability.😊

  • #28


    No one asked what the hell YOU knew, moron and patzer! =D


    Thanks for the lengthy reply, but 1100 is not low but rather the average Blitz rating here, I was just trying to surpass the average, and all that you mentioned I've tried time and again to no avail. I give up. I'll leave this game to you geniuses.

  • #29

    5 ways to get better at many subjects, including chess:

    1. Practice

    2. Perform - raised level of conditional stress while doing activity (tournament)

    3. Watch somebody better and emulate

    4. Read books written by experts on the subject

    5. Have a coach or teacher on the subject


  • #30
  • #31

    If your chess doesn't improve despite you working on it, chances are you're doing something wrong. Playing 1-2 serious 30|0 games a day and analyzing them critically afterwards should already see some results. Now of course maybe playing blitz instead may not be as effective.

    Maybe you can post a game of yours and annotate it with what you think are important good/bad moves and why.

  • #32
  • #33

    Most people have this wrong information that Kasparov has an IQ of 190 or around, but that is an estimate and when he actually took the IQ test he actually scored a 135, with a really good score in memory, so its not a ridiculously high IQ its genius level but barely. I believe even a guy around 100 can be really good at chess, it depends on the approach. Its not how much hard work you put in but how much smart work.

    I know people who played lot of games but still don't improve to the level they want to because they play speed games for the fun of the moment. You don't learn visulization or improve analyzing skills there. Don't completely stop playing blitz but play it in a limit as it also has its pros along with the cons mentioned. Play slow games, have fun, analyze. Get a coach. Most of all, have confidence, I learned that more constantly you remind yourself you are not improving the less you will improve. Just reinforce your brain with some belief and confidence that you are getting better and it will make it happen, take deep breaths between games and have fun and you will become better. I bet on it. 


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