United States 2016 women’s chess champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes has the guts to stand up to Iran!

Magnus Carlsen - 2016 World Chess Champion

Congratulations to Magnus Carlsen

 New 2016 World Chess Champion!

Speaking out of both sides of my mouth at the same time, there is no one skill that is easily had and affords a person mastery of chess. There is obviously a constellation of intelligences, a skill set that is required, but there is no fairness in minimizing chess mastery and saying it is only one thing and either you have it or you don’t. In short, you have to work like a dog to make chess master, and by the time you do, you do not feel like indulging mere mortals who want to know all your secrets. Nevertheless, there is little use in dedicating oneself to making chess master unless one has an eidetic memory. The simple truth is that the entire first 20+ moves have been figured out – completely. So, if you want to make master you are going to have to master more of the first 10 moves of the game than 99% of the people you play. If you want to make Grandmaster, then you have to learn and memorize more of the first 20 moves of the game than 99% of the chess masters you play. The singular advantage of the chess computer is that it has a venerable memory, and can match the best players, move for move, all the way down the line. But, did you know that in the early years of chess computers, there was no hope for computers at all?

 The fact is that a computer left on its own with the rules of the game and nothing more, will play horrible chess. It will play like a chimpanzee or worse. Finally, they decided to go ahead and program the first 10 moves. That is when the chess computer came to life and everybody was amazed. It was not much of a victory for artificial intelligence though, if you ask me. Much like the19th century automaton that could beat everybody at chess because a midget was hidden inside making the moves, chess computers needed human help. Therefore, no matter how many moves are programmed into the computer, and no matter how high its skill level, it is not nearly as impressive as it seems. Kasparov beat Big Blue in a game by making the most ridiculous move imaginable on the first move, and the computer had not been programmed to play against such an idiotic move. That was a brilliance on the part of Kasparov.

 That also shows that there is something called chess talent, and you must have that, too. Kasparov had the best memory of anybody in his day and everybody knew that. But, he also had the ability not just to deduce and induce within the programmed and known moves, he also had the ability to abduce the craziest ideas. He opened against Big Blue with the last thing Big Blue, which was also guided by humans, by the way, knew how to counter. So, there is undeniably a flash of brilliance, creativity, and adventurousness that all great chess masters have. I am also sure that this is the last kind of thing that will ever be picked up in a standard IQ test.

     3. Results were stronger among young players and at lower levels of skill.

 This means that the older the player and the better the players, the less their chess intelligence correlated with their intelligence measures. This is actually quite funny, isn’t it? It actually shows that the best chess players are not really that concerned with measures of intelligence. I can tell you they are not much concerned with anything but chess. It is like any addiction. Once you experience the adrenaline rush of sitting quietly among a group of geeks playing chess, so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, you are not the same. No one would suspect that probably every person playing is experiencing that adrenaline rush. It happens when you suddenly find yourself having a good game. It is also the reason they say there is nothing harder to do in chess than to win a won game. The problem is that the moment you start that adrenaline rush - it is usually because you are so excited that you are playing so well in the game - then you are prone to make mistakes. The legendary Zen masters would tell you that you need to learn to master your emotions, and then they would beat you with a bamboo stick to help you out.

 It is no different in chess. Only when people lose at chess, they flog themselves so thoroughly that no one needs to punish them with a bamboo stick. That is part of the reason that in order to become a chess master one must be a quiet, even-tempered person. When you look at pictures of masters playing chess they are typically a depressed looking bunch with little to smile about – but, buckle up because that is their game face and inside is a volcano of energy waiting crush their next opponent.


~End Part 2 Thursday – Part 3 Next Monday~