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  1. Standard memberChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
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    09 Sep '14 22:02
    http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2014/09/son_killed_in_scotch_plains_murder-suicide_was_master_chess_player.html
  2. Zugzwang
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    10 Sep '14 00:101 edit
    Originally posted by ChessPraxis
    http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2014/09/son_killed_in_scotch_plains_murder-suicide_was_master_chess_player.html
    Needless to say, the murder of Thomas Elberling (age 11) by his father,
    Jens Elberling (apparently an immigrant from Denmark) is a tragedy.
    Kate Chou, Thomas's mother, had filed for divorce from Jens Elberling,
    who might have been afraid that he would lose custody of his son.

    According to the USCF website, Jens Elberling was provisionally rated
    1440 USCF and Thomas Elberling was rated 2170 USCF, which would
    place him among the top players of his age in the United States.

    Yet was Thomas Elberling truly a 'prodigy'? While he was a talented young
    player, he certainly was not close to being a young Jose Capablanca, Bobby
    Fischer, Garry Kasparov, or Magnus Carlsen.
  3. Standard memberChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
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    10 Sep '14 03:261 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Yet was Thomas Elberling truly a 'prodigy'? While he was a talented young
    player, he certainly was not close to being a young Jose Capablanca, Bobby
    Fischer, Garry Kasparov, or Magnus Carlsen.
    Oh, I stand corrected. He is just a dead kid then.
  4. Subscribersonhouse
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    slatington, pa, usa
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    10 Sep '14 07:46
    I wonder if anyone will figure out why he did it? close to 2200 at age 11, he may have been a true prodigy, there are just not that many Capablanca's who learn by themselves.

    The boy's father may have held him back by not getting him to the proper coaches, like Weeramantry for example.

    What a tragedy.
  5. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
    Just...the Dogg
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    10 Sep '14 14:47
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I wonder if anyone will figure out why he did it? close to 2200 at age 11, he may have been a true prodigy, there are just not that many Capablanca's who learn by themselves.

    The boy's father may have held him back by not getting him to the proper coaches, like Weeramantry for example.

    What a tragedy.
    I wish someone had held me back to 'only' 2100. Jesus Christ people, that's pretty good. Better than I'll ever be. It's in the top 1% or less of players.

    I can't believe how many people are bringing this up after the kid was murdered. Just goes to show how crazy our expectations become when a kid shows talent at something. That's the surest way to ruin it for them.
  6. Zugzwang
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    10 Sep '14 21:58
    Originally posted by ChessPraxis
    Oh, I stand corrected. He is just a dead kid then.
    It's wrong for ChessPraxis to insinuate that I have attempted to deny the
    tragedy of this child's murder, regardless of his level of chess talent.
  7. Zugzwang
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    10 Sep '14 22:18
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I wonder if anyone will figure out why he did it? close to 2200 at age 11, he may have been a true prodigy, there are just not that many Capablanca's who learn by themselves.

    The boy's father may have held him back by not getting him to the proper coaches, like Weeramantry for example.

    What a tragedy.
    Reportedly, Thomas Elberling (2170 USCF) played with (and may have
    earlier received coaching) from a local master, James R West (2205 USCF).
    Also, there are many instructional resources available on the internet.
    We don't know how much or what kind of chess instruction he received.

    "...close to 2200 (USCF) at age 11, he may have been a true prodigy..."
    --Sonhouse

    Speaking objectively about his chess strength, Thomas Elberling was not even
    the highest rated American player in his age group. Sergey Karjakin became
    a GM at the age of 12 years 7 months, and that's far stronger than 2170 USCF.
    Mikhail Botvinnik, a world champion, did not even learn chess until age 12.

    I am not attempting to minimize the tragedy of Thomas Elberling's murder.
    I don't look at the world of junior chess from a provincial American perspective,
    however, and I would like to put Thomas Elberling's chess strength into a
    more realistic perspective. Some of my friends were among the top junior
    players in their countries, and none of them ever came close to being a GM.

    By the way, when WFM Jessie Gilbert died tragically (accident or suicide)
    at age 19, a friend of mine remarked (objectively) of her chess potential:
    "She would have had a chance to become a WGM, which is good for an
    Englishwoman, but nothing really extraordinary internationally."
  8. Subscribersonhouse
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    11 Sep '14 11:05
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Reportedly, Thomas Elberling (2170 USCF) played with (and may have
    earlier received coaching) from a local master, James R West (2205 USCF).
    Also, there are many instructional resources available on the internet.
    We don't know how much or what kind of chess instruction he received.

    "...close to 2200 (USCF) at age 11, he may have been a true prodigy.. ...[text shortened]... me a WGM, which is good for an
    Englishwoman, but nothing really extraordinary internationally."
    Still, he was undeniably gifted. He would have easily obtained IM if he had lived. Maybe even GM.
  9. Joined
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    11 Sep '14 19:29
    It's just a game.
  10. Subscribersonhouse
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    11 Sep '14 19:33
    Originally posted by darvlay
    It's just a game.
    Apparently not to the father.
  11. Joined
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    11 Sep '14 19:431 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Apparently not to the father.
    Evidently so.

    But what I'm getting at is, let's not mourn the loss of a potentially good international chess player. Let's mourn another "dead kid" because, most importantly, that's what he is.

    EDIT: Peace.
  12. Joined
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    11 Sep '14 19:45
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    By the way, when WFM Jessie Gilbert died tragically (accident or suicide)
    at age 19, a friend of mine remarked (objectively) of her chess potential:
    "She would have had a chance to become a WGM, which is good for an
    Englishwoman, but nothing really extraordinary internationally."
    Your friend sounds like a real cocksucker.
  13. Standard memberlemon lime
    ookookachu
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    11 Sep '14 23:25
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    It's wrong for ChessPraxis to insinuate that I have attempted to deny the
    tragedy of this child's murder, regardless of his level of chess talent.
    Many of us are able to form our own opinions, independently and in spite of what anyone else says.
  14. Zugzwang
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    11 Sep '14 23:41
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Still, he was undeniably gifted. He would have easily obtained IM if he had lived. Maybe even GM.
    "He (Thomas Elberling) would have *easily* obtained IM if he had lived."
    --Sonhouse

    Now no one will ever know. I have friends who were among the top junior
    players in their countries (strong in chess) and they never earned the IM title.
  15. Zugzwang
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    11 Sep '14 23:543 edits
    Originally posted by darvlay
    Your friend sounds like a real cocksucker.
    The difference between my friend's view of chess 'child prodigies' and a layman's
    is the difference between knowledgeable criticism and sentimental hyperbole.
    My friend (who, at age 12, drew a simul game with Anatoly Karpov) tends
    to be objectively quite critical of his own chess as well as other players'.
    Although he is (or was) rated about among the top one percent of the
    players in his country, he still regards himself as a 'weak player'.

    Speaking from experience, the more than one knows about prodigies (or
    about being acclaimed as a 'prodigy' ), the less one tends to be impressed
    by ignorant popular stereotypes about what it means to be a prodigy.

    Let's suppose that a promising young music student has been murdered.
    That's a tragedy. Would it be any less of a tragedy if some supposedly
    well-meaning people then hasten to proclaim--with much hyperbole--that
    the young musician could have become another Mozart?

    Sachlichkeit means 'objectivity' in German. According to Erin Meyer (an
    American) in her book _The Culture Map_, Germans are brought up (even as
    children) to have a significantly deeper sense of Sachlichkeit than Americans.
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