Monday, September 27, 2010

Intuition and instinct

Rationality brought up a very good point. Read here.

I was thinking the same thing when I coined the term "imagined fear" in the "inner child" work. I believe that instinct; the fight or flight response; the law of the jungle argument is inappropriate in the mastery of chess. If you look carefully, you will see I have argued that no one is coming at you with a knife, no lions waiting to devour you. In a healthy competition of chess all you have is imagined fears that come from your mind. And the ego is the guardian of imagined fears.

Now I believe that intuition is the correct tool for chess. Intuition works this way. You can only be intuitive when you have knowledge. It cannot come from a vacuum. It's a sudden joining of the dots, a sudden epiphany. And epiphanies only come when the mind is still. Thank you rationality for bringing this up.

Note: And since it is not easy to "undo" instinct, it requires training.


  1. Again, I have been misunderstood.

    When I speak of the law of the jungle, it is about NATURAL SELECTION, the survival of the fittest, not the fight-fright syndrome.

    Those with the pre-requisites will have the pre-conditions to make GM, those who don't will sooner or later accept that they do not have it.

    Having real threats around when playing chess did occur to a few very talented GMs like Bronstein, who had his father sit in the first row when he was battling for the World Championship. Korchnoi suffered the same fate during the match in 1981 when his wife and son were threatened should he attempt to win.

    In the chess game, the biggest threat comes not solely from oneself or the good moves of the opponent, but the clock. Time pressure can play tricks on you and I have yet to see successfully solve the problem of time pressure, where the mind has to discard the threat of losing on time and focus on finding the right moves. For the younger players it may be possible (as their mental speed of calculation is arguably faster), but for those getting on in years, it becomes increasingly difficult. Sometimes, to circumvent this problem, it is even necessary to change one's way of playing.

    I do agree that intuition in chess comes after having lots of knowledge and experience of witnessing similar possible scenarios. This is very true. However, it is again technical knowledge that can stimulate intuition.

  2. Thank you John for your contribution.

  3. The best book by far on the subject of psychological factors on chess is GM Nikolai Krogius's "Psychology in Chess".

    I do suggest that you read it to understand the psyche of a chess-player. It thoroughly examines all the factors apart from the science of choosing a move. Deals with how the mind calculates possibilities, how the mind handles time pressure, how chess players prepare etc.

  4. May I suggest that you tell us what you have learned from your own reading? I suspect you are missing much as evidenced here. Have you ever wondered why that is? Tell us what you know. Dont keep referring to others. That is very weak.

  5. Raymond,

    There is nothing wrong in expounding what others have long discovered before.

    This world and all its workings is built on the discoveries and creations of our predecessors. There is no need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to explaining what is covered in your postings.

    I would rather you practice what you preach in terms of having an open mind. Go read the book and perhaps you will have your doubts and questions answered.

    To hear, one only needs to listen. To learn, one only needs to question and listen. To understand, one needs to question, listen and accept.

  6. John, let me be blunt. You are looking for respect. You will only recieve that if you can show us what you understand. Dont hide under Nikolai's skirt. You have anything to say, say it. Tell us what you understand. From what I can see, you cant even read. When you can show me that I would be more inclined to listen to you. Right now you are just noise. You have expounded nothing and so you deserve nothing in return.

  7. Like John Wong has said in his comment, there is nothing wrong with referring to another expert's findings or experience. If you have trouble accepting and learning from other experts, then your progress will simply be slower. To learn from others is not equivalent to relying on them.

    How did you learn about the mind? Did you think about it all on your own? To push it to an extreme, what would have happened if no one taught you how to walk? Would you have been able to walk on your own? What John is doing is simply reading very widely and collecting many ideas and thoughts but not neglecting to form his opinion on which book is the best. It shows that he has thought about it, evaluated it and dared to stake his name on it to claim that it is the best. It does not mean that John does not know how to think for himself. I, on the other hand, prefer Kasparov's book, "How Life Imitates Chess". But I can't say I have read Nikolai's book and reserve my opinion on it.

    What about you? It is simply foolish to ask someone to repeat ideas that can be found in a book. Do you want John to type out the whole book for you? Besides, as a mature adult, you should form your own opinions by reading the book and not rely on John to tell you what the book is about. If anything, that is probably just lazy.

    If you truly have any interest in what John has to say, why don't you go read the book and catch up on your "technical knowledge" before you can participate in this discourse intelligently?

  8. How do you know I havent? Isnt that a big leap in your assumptions? Do read my other postings. It was partially written with you and John in mind. I have given both of you that much thought. Now why dont you try to show us your thinking? But then maybe you already have.

  9. Thanks Chess Ninja, you have taken the words out of my mouth.

    At least I am sure that there are readers out there who can discern what I am writing.

    As I have repeatedly said many times, I have asked Raymond to open his mind to go read the good literature that I have the fortune to have read and try to pass on my thoughts. You have understood my intentions, he hasn't.

    When someone has gone ballistic, my general approach is to accept arrogance with humility, anger with calmness, bigotry with magnamity.

    I now realise that the preacher cannot practice what he preaches. So hence this is my last word as anymore words from me will fall on deaf ears.

  10. Imagine this conversation. You quote a book, I quote a book, then you quote another book and I quote back another book, so on and so forth. Why are you guys so scared to say, this is what I think, what I understand?

  11. No one is quoting any books yet. You are cordially invited to read the contents of the book so that you will understand what John understands, because John thinks and knows that he cannot say it better than the author of the book. If it ain't broken, why fix it?

    No one is scared of expressing themselves and their ideas. Why do you feel so inferior about using someone else's ideas? Are you not driving a car that was first invented by Benz and Daimler? Do you not drive on roads that the tarring was designed by John McAdam? Do you not use computers that was first invented by Alan Turing?

    What is so wrong about using someone else's ideas? Daring to use someone's ideas shows that you have understood them. Perhaps you too, are guilty of leaping to the assumption that people are scared because they use other people's ideas? Perhaps I drive a car because I am too afraid of inventing one myself. Perhaps I use a computer because I am too scared to invent one myself.

    If you have not read research papers before, I suggest you pick a random one, preferably on a topic of your interest. If you are observant, you will notice that most times, these researchers quote other published papers, which of course, are ideas of other people. Are they too scared to rediscover what others have discovered aeons before them? Yes, they do add on with their own work, but no doubt, you must agree that without the previously found ideas, there would have been little chance to progress from there.

    How could Andrew Wiles have solved Fermat's Last Theorem if Taniyama and Shimura did not come up with their conjecture?

  12. Dear Ninja, you are off track again. Even a quotation would have been a little better than the title of a book. When you try to participate in any intelligent discussion you are required to express your ideas. Anyone can quote a title. Let me try to put it in the way you seem to like to talk. Thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. What is your synthesis? In fact where is your anti-thesis? Both of you have expressed no understanding. Mentioning a title is at best intelectual laziness; if it can even be called that. Both you and John have a problem. You are both unable to synthesize. Why dont you work on that first and then come back to participate? I am not going anywhere and I am not anti you or John as you previously asked. I am merely stating the rules of engagement of a discourse.

  13. I disagree. Giving you a quotation out of a whole book can and may sometimes be interpreted out of context. It is like showing you a corner of a artpiece and expecting you to fully appreciate its beauty.

    It is not a question of synthesizing. For example, if you want to fully understand a particular theory, would you rather hear it from someone who has read it, or read it yourself? Do you not agree that if you read a simplified version of a classic novel, the true context of the story might have already been watered down and hence, lose its intended effect?

    This is about understanding the whole picture, not just the summary, or part of it. No one is merely mentioning a title. He is suggesting that you read it fully to understand the contents of the book. There is no other way to discuss the ideas featured in the book.

    So now we are rule-breakers instead of being scared? Or is it because we are scared and that is why we break the rules? I can't wait to see what other labels you have for us.

    Just to point it out to you, I am not even agreeing with John's arguments. I am arguing for the validity of his points. He points out that you can understand better the psychology of a chess player by reading that book. Are you too afraid to admit that you have or have not read that book? Perhaps you would like to share some of your thoughts on what Nikolai has expressed?

  14. Sigh, you are missing the point again. I will need to disengage from this fruitless discussion. Sorry. Try helping yourself. Try to engage what has been said instead of trying to defend a useless argument. You will find growth there. Look at the other postings. You are seriously stuck.

  15. Perhaps I should have listened to John. I was a bit more optimistic about the chance of you opening your mind. You have dismissed my points and have once again surprised me with your uncanny ability to surmise other people's ideas with only one word, i.e. useless.

    My perseverance in reiterating the same point again and again and again is not because I am stuck, but because you are. You are the one who is in dire need of growing. Your closed mind has impeded your ability to view the bigger picture.