Friday, April 15, 2011

Fischer: The most brilliant idiot

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

Friday, April 15, 2011

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DEFINING intelligence is controversial. Wikipedia describes it as a general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely a narrow academic skill, or scoring high in tests.

The World Chess Federation has initiated a program known as Chess in Schools because countless studies have shown that playing chess at an early age improves the IQ or intelligence of a child.

Through chess, children learn analytical and disciplined thinking skills, which are applicable to many other intellectual pursuits.

Chess is also extremely beneficial in raising self-esteem, teaching determination, self-motivation and sportsmanship.

More than any other game, chess has the potential to transform a child. If taught correctly, chess can be a student’s driving force, helping him/her in every aspect of critical thinking development.

It has been shown that “individuals with low IQs are more likely to be divorced, have a child out of marriage, be incarcerated, and need long-term welfare support, while individuals with high IQs are associated with more years of education, higher status jobs and higher income.”

I am defining the general IQ and it is important to realize that there are specific intelligence that defines a person’s abilities.

The intelligence that makes a good businessman is not the same as the intelligence that makes a good engineer, which in turn, is not the same as the intelligence which makes a good mathematician or a good doctor.

Please bear in mind that I am not saying that if you play chess, you must be intelligent. I’ve known people who were very intelligent but couldn’t play chess at all. And I’ve seen people who were not very bright but are excellent chess players .

I don’t know if I am intelligent because I play chess or whether I play chess because I am intelligent.

A person can be a brilliant chess player and a complete idiot also. Bobby Fischer, who had an IQ of 180, is a horrible example of this.

Some sources give “Garry Kasparov, considered by chess historians as the greatest player of all time, an IQ between 185 and 190. But in 1987-88, the German magazine Der Spiegel went to considerable effort and expense to find out Kasparov’s IQ. Under the supervision of an international team of psychologists, Kasparov was given a large battery of tests designed to measure his memory, spatial ability, and abstract reasoning. They measured his IQ as 135 and his memory as one of the very best.”

I think that chess probably attracts people who have an inquiring mind and enjoy problem solving so chess players may be more intelligent on average (by the IQ measure) than non-chess playing people.

Spatial intelligence is crucial for chess thinking. It’s the ability to “perceive possibilities.” This is important because you not only need to know what (a system of knowledge) but also know how (the system of experience).

Also, researchers have determined that high achievement in chess is based on exceptional visual memory, combinational power, speed of calculation, power of concentration, and logical thinking.

Some sources say the adult with the highest IQ who ever lived was Leonardo da Vinci, with an IQ of 220 and he was not only a chess player but a composer of chess problems.

Here is a look at how intelligent Filipinos are: 14,000,000 have an IQ of above 115, 2,000,000 above 130, 90,000 above 145 and only 270 above 160.

All the other Filipinos, totaling about 74,000,000, have or will have an IQ below 115.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 16, 2011

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