Now is the time for my second SCHOLARLY post on chess.
Chess GREATNESS cannot be taught or learned, you either are born with it or not. Now, for clarity, let me define “greatness” as the chess ELITE. I’m not talking about some 2300 ranked player (there is one on every street corner). I’m not talking about some 2500 GM (they are a dime a dozen). I’m TALKIN’ about the 2700+ player.
FACT, there are only 30 players in the WORLD ranked above 2700
FACT, if hard work, dedication and study ALONE were all it took to break the 2700 barrier, there‘d be MILLIONS of 2700 elite players. Heck, I WOULD BE ELITE. I have studied this great game longer than most of you have been ALIVE. (30+ years) .I submit to you that if you took 1 million children and had a dream team of teachers, all of history’s greatest players (Kasparov, Fischer, Anand, etc.) teach them for years upon years, NOT ONE OF them would break the 2700 mark. Statistically, this is as logical as “I think, therefore I am.
So, what are the MAIN traits that make up an ELITE chess master? Hold on. Let me first preface my argument by illustrating the following. Let us use Athletic sports as an analogy. Not every one can become an NBA superstar. If you only grew to 5’5”, you will NEVER EVER EVER become an NBA superstar. If you are born without the use of your hands, you will NEVER EVER EVER become a superbowl MVP wide receiver. If you were born with gigantism and grew to 7’7”, forget the dream of being and NHL goalie…ain’t gonna happen. EVER!!! You can be dumb as a stump with the IQ of 90 and throw a 100mph fastball and sign with the Yankees and go on to fame and fortune because intelligence is not a prerequisite of being a sports HERO. See where I’m going? You must have been born with the PRIME REQUIREMENT to become ELITE at whatever it is you want to be elite at. What’s the prime requirement of being a supermodel? DUH--good looks. You are either born with it or not. Same with world class chess players. A red flag should go up when a 12 year old can become a GM. What does that say to the credibility of chess? It says that the standards are LOW. What’s next, a CAT being awarded GM status?
FACT, the MAIN trait needed to become an elite player is a PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY. Computers are not smart. They don’t have a brain. The reason why computers are better than humans is that they draw NOT from knowledge, but from a massive database of moves/positions. That is how photographic memory works, like a computer….a database.
Of course, dedication to the GAME of chess is needed if you want to have the POTENTIAL to become ELITE, but dedication alone will not take you there. If you have the innate ability to draw upon your memory in the ways that 95% of the population simply cannot, if you possess desire and dedication, then and ONLY then can you break the fabled 2700 mark.
Did you all know that if you took ANY dime-a-dozen GM in the chess world and sat them at some random game in progress they could look at the board and INSTANTANEOUSLY (I love that word, it contains all 5 vowels) comprehend the game and begin to play at their GM level. It’s all about them accessing their internal photographic database of positions.. It cannot be taught. They were BORN with it.
I ALWAYS use the case of Josh Waitzkin as my whipping boy. Here is a kid who possessed every quality of being the next Bobby Fischer ( drawing a game at age 11 vs. Kasparov, won the U.S. Junior Chess championship 2 years in a row, defeating a titled MASTER at age 10, etc etc etc). But he never broke a PALTRY 2500 rating. WHY? Did he not study hard enough? HARDLY, he lived, ate, breathed chess.. Was he not smart enough? He was a chess GENIUS. Was he not schooled well enough? One word: Pandolfini. He hit his personal ceiling. He went as far as He could go. That was it. He lacked the photographic memory. His brain did not possess any more room to store chess information. Not his fault. He knew it and ADMITTED IT (The Art of Learning). Being one of the chess ELITE was not in the cards for him, hence his abandoning it in favor of martial arts.
Now, if you choose to dispute this claim, I DEMAND you to cite your sources as I have. I deal only in facts and not theory or conjecture. So far, you all have made FOOLS of yourselves. I’m sick and tired of seeing crappy topics like “What is your favorite opening move?” or “Who is your favorite player?” Is everyone here 12 years old?
SUBSTANCE, people, SUBSTANCE.