Sunday, September 4, 2011

Is there such a thing as chess instinct?

Ref: Here.

Instinct is the atavistic response to a real or imagined emotional stimuli. Fight or flight. Two responses to a perceived threat.

Chess is a thinking game. Not a knee jerk response. And so we need to train the mind to reach the higher centers; to find the other responses. To look for out of the box answers, to find new options.

I think Ilham has asked the right question here. To learn more, do go and read "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman. Here is a very brief and abbreviated version by me.

Instinct is a fear response and a very powerful stimuli. It has a direct loop to the brain stem (which is the old brain of even pre-caveman days.) When fear is triggered the impulses reach the old brain first and not the higher centers ie the neo cortex.

Now the neo cortex is where creativity, reasoning etc is found. But the impulses take a few seconds longer to reach these centers. If you are to continually trigger the fear response, you can drown out the thinking faculty.

Just using this very basic model, do you see why civilisation has tended towards order and rules. Towards education. This is necessary for progress. It is to enable the thinker in you to emerge.

Can you also now see why Lim Zhuo Ren needed to be attacked when he tried to explore for alternative answers; a solution to his current dilemna? Why Sumant and Mark needed to be attacked?

The continuous firing of fear impulses. The drowning out of thinking. Another way of looking at this is that fear prevents your access to knowledge and reasoning. Actually the seniors may have more knowledge than the juniors now. But they have too much fear and that reduces their fighting strength. So the great equaliser is to instill more fear into the Juniors.

An amazing recipe. Now all cannot fight in the real World.

Incidentally, this fear is also injected into the parents. And so we have this vicious cycle. It is not that we do not have World beaters. It is just that we have injected too much fear into the system and into the players.

Does that now explain why some of the Juniors are backsliding? They are constantly attacked. They have no tools to deal with these vicious attacks. And then you blame them when they want to run away. And you attack them further when they want to learn how to fortify their minds. And when you do manage to separate them from their support system, you say they cannot think.

Don't you think this is a little crazy? And to add insult to injury, they now ask where is our World beaters?


  1. Hi Raymond,
    Wow! That is quite scientific explanation on instinct.

    By the way, did not really see the connection between instinct and 'attacked' to LZR, Sumant and Mark Siew. If there is really such attacked to begin with...

    My personal opinion and observation, junior and senior have a good professional respect to each other. They need each other, they know each other and they want each other to be successful. Jr rooting for sr player to win in international tourney...Sr also follow up closely jr achievment at any international tournament. Frust when they lost...happy when they win. I see, i feel and i know there is this strange camaraderie among chess players here. We want to kill each other when we met across the board but somehow we love, support each other when one of us carried Jalur Gemilang at international tournament. For me that is generally the state of Malaysian chess society. But ofcourse one can always chose to see glass half empty...

    'See Shoutbox Ilham'...ofcourse Everybody is being attacked at the shoutbox. Jr, Sr, MCF, IMs, Fadli, Greg, Dato Tan, Peter Long...everybody. Now I started to see MCF silence as 'elegance silence'. :)

    Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. – Plato

    Congratulation on Mark's fine achievement at recent Datmo. Should see his rating breach 2k barrier this November...while mine is now sub 2k :(

  2. Thank you for the compliment. But lets talk about cup half full or half empty here. :)

    If you have read my writings on it previously, you will see that I have argued that half full or half empty is actually a perspective on reality.

    That means we must first look at the facts without adding or subtracting. A good case in mind which you were peripherally involved was the Asean training initiative. You need to first have the courage to see and acknowledge the facts as they are. Then you may have a perspective.

    I agree that the shoutboxes are almost all rubbish but look deeper Ilham. I think there is something you are still missing.

    I also said earlier that we will all support the Malaysian Team when they play in International Tournaments now that they have won their place fairly through selection.

    Struggle hard to see the truth Ilham and I am sure your rating will go up again. It is all related. Do that and the chessboard too will be illuminated.

    All my best

  3. Perhaps if you have the benefit of looking through the eyes of a father who saw his child changing from a vibrant, inquisitive child to a troubled teenager who had somehow lost his confidence from unjust attacks.

    Perhaps if you had been there to see Sumant so worried about his hard fought place in SEA games that he couldnt focus on his games at Datmo.

    Perhaps if you can see LZR now under new stresses, you may see what I am talking about.

    Perhaps if you saw through the eyes of a father and then imagine it was your child, you may finally open your eyes.

    I wish you that awakening Ilham.