Saturday, April 2, 2011

Apples and oranges

I always shudder a little inside when I see some articles saying that it needs talent to become a GM. I'm not saying that you dont but the articles are generally not convincing. The analysis is reduced to very simple mathematics which seem to deny the complexities involved.

I come from the school of thought where almost anyone can become GM if you have "average" intelligence. It is well known in neurology that we are all only using a very tiny portion of our brain and it is often asked what would happen if we are to, if we can, increase that capacity by even a few percent.

Besides, what is intelligence? There are so many kinds.

Look at it this way. The very beginning of competitor analysis is to examine where our strengths and weaknesses (latent talents first) are. Not the opponents but ourself. For everything is relative and it is the understanding of the measure that gives us insights to the correct weapon, training, to use. I have given previous examples but here it is again. What do you play when you assess that your opponent is better in open positions than you are and that is your strength too? What lines do you choose if he has better knowledge in end games than you have? What do you do if he is a stronger calculator, intuitive player, than you are?

And so the correct evaluation of our personality and playing profiles need to be established at the onset.

There also seem to be some confusion between training and talent. A trained player versus a talented player. The question here is if the trainer cannot see the difference between apples and oranges, is there a danger of incorrect evaluation?

I believe if more is not understood by the trainer the false conclusion of you do not have the talent to be GM, will be often used to describe the failures. But isnt the failure more in the skill and knowledge of the trainer than the player in this instance?


  1. R,
    Speaking of Talent, I concur with you. Even Spassky, the former World Champion, while giving an interview says , " I know the one thing that Korchnoi lacks to become World Champion", the journalist almost leaps out of his chair asking "What? What!? What is the one thing Korchnoi lacks" and Spassky calmly replies "Chess Talent"... I know it was a joke.. Yet Korchnoi is still playing Chess in his eighties and Spassky is retired from chess!

  2. Lack of chess talent in our players is used coveniently on our shores to explain away too many things. I think we should investigate lack of coaching/training talent first instead.