Sunday, January 24, 2010

On gifted children

There is one thing I always notice about gifted children. They ask a lot of questions and they are a hand full.

Intelligent kids need answers and they come up with intelligent excuses. And they frequently lose their way if they cannot be guided. They won't listen to you if they do not respect you.

So in our exasperation, we tell them to shut up, to listen and not question. We threaten and intimidate till they lose their spark and become a pale shadow of what they could have been. Am I exagerating? I have seen so many examples that it would take a whole series of books to recount. So I wont here.

I agree, it is hard to reason with them. They can talk rings around us. But try to reason is what I feel we must do. Chess is about reasoning. It's about judgement and the courage to execute what we think is right. Look at a chess game. How many are lost when we lose our courage, how many are lost when we doubt our judgement. So I think the way forward is to teach our players to reason, encourage them to think clearly even when they feel fear and self doubt. And to execute that on the board and in life. And our promoters, chess officials, trainers and coaches can be that shinning example for them to follow.

Then the GM will come. Let us ask ourselves the hard questions first before we blame the players for not performing. Chess needs a culture of reasoning to progress.

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