Just read a little about Harry Pillsbury in 1800's. He didn't go to university, he worked for his father. One of his childhood friends said that in elementary school Pillsbury would do all the math in his head and just write down the answer. Nobody could figure out how he did it. I believe it was visualization. He may have been born with the talent, but he exercised it often and his powers of visualization were multiplied. This was before Pillsbury learned chess. Later, he became, not only one of the top world players, but also held records for blindfold play. According to the biographer, Jacques Pope, people were astounded during these exhibitions that Pillsbury would carry on normal conversations during the play. He claimed that it wasn't a problem because he could call up the exact position whenever the person made a move. Sometimes, for variety, Pillsbury would play chess and checkers with many opponents without sight of the board...while playing whist at a card table in another room. I believe Pope did an excellent job gathering the public material, from letters, newspaper articles and such, but there is very little of his personal life or psychology. It is common knowledge that he died of syphillis, probably contracted in St. Petersburg, from a house of prostitution and died at a very young age, before he had a chance to reach potential. One curious note, he got his start at the Brooklyn, NY Chess Club. Can anybody else recall another world class player who got his start at the Brooklyn Club?