Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Cognitive and Neuropsychological Mechanisms of Expertise: Studies with Chess Masters.

For those of you interested in research evidence relating to cognitive aspects of chess expertise, the following thesis is well worth a read.

Christopher Fitzgerald Chabris
Cognitive and Neuropsychological Mechanisms of Expertise: Studies with Chess Masters.
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 1999
(pdf download link)

The author is currently assistant professor in psychology
Department of Psychology
Union College
Schenectady, NY 12308 USA

Pictured are Christopher Chablis and Dan Simons receiving the Ig Nobel Prize (2004) in Psychology:
"for demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, it's all too easy to overlook anything else -- even a woman in a gorilla suit."

Tags: Chess Expertise - Chess Master - Christopher Chablis - Dan Simons - Expertise - Gorilla Suit - Harvard University - Ig Nobel Prize - Massachusetts - Psychology
Posted by ALCHEssMIST - Alchemipedia alliance.

Education Potential Of Older People 'Untapped'

Pensive Old Man:
[By Chefranden on flickr]

This article has just appeared in the "The Guardian" newspaper (Wednesday 22nd October 2008).

The nation needs to invest much more in the ability of older people to make best use of their brains, according to a new report from a government thinktank.

Foresight, the government unit charged with thinking strategically for the future, said it was vital to exploit the "mental capital" of mature adults. However, little money has gone into anything other than leisure classes, with scant evidence of how useful they are.

Addressing dementia should be a priority for government, declares Foresight's latest report, distilled from more than 100 expert submissions. "Treating dementia costs the UK £17bn a year – this is set to rise to £50 billion a year within 30 years," it says.

By 2071 the numbers of people aged over 80 are expected to more than treble to 9.5 million, while there could be twice as many over 65s (21 million) as now.

Action is needed now to protect their prosperity and physical and psychological health, according to the report. An appetite for lifelong learning needs to be developed among the very young.

Full article ... here

There is real potential for chess, and other mind sports, to help with maintaining the cognitive health of our increasingly ageing population. Also, our older chess players can contribute through the increased promotion of junior chess in schools and local chess clubs.

Tags: 2071 - Ageing - Chess - Cognitive Health - Dementia - Health - Mind Sports - The Guardian
Posted by ALCHEssMIST - Alchemipedia alliance.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Late Bobby Fischer - A Video Collection.

Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) - Troubled Genius:

Following on from my last posting. For anybody interested in the late Bobby Fischer, here (Link) is a great collection of pubic videos about, or featuring, Bobby Fischer.

Some Fischer quotes:

‘Genius. It’s a word. What does it really mean? If I win I’m a genius. If I don’t, I’m not.’

‘I like to do what I want to do and not what other people want me to do. This is what life is all about, I think.’

Posted by ALCHEssMIST - Alchemipedia alliance.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Who Was The Greatest Chess Player Of All Time?

Charles Sullivan (link) gives us the best evidence-based answer to this much debated question.

The clear winner is - Bobby Fischer.

The project undertaken by Charles Sullivan applied some of the ideas outlined in "Computer Analysis of World Chess Champions" by Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko (1) (pdf link) and also applied ideas from Jeff Sonas at the ChessMetrics site.

The entire playing careers of the world's greatest players (from Morphy to Anand) were computer analyzed - giving a total of 617,446 positions from 18,785 games.

Ranking of Champions Based on Best Time Period:

1 year ....... Bobby Fischer
2 years .....
Bobby Fischer
3 years ..... Bobby Fischer
5 years ..... Bobby Fischer
10 years ... Bobby Fischer
15 years ... Capablanca (2nd Smyslov; =3rd Karpov / Fischer / Botvinnik / Kasparov / Kramnik)

Fischer does not top the 15 year table (his best 15-year period includes the teenage years before he became an elite Grandmaster).


Computer analysis of World Chess Champions
Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko
University of Ljubljana,
Faculty of Computer and Information Science,
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory,
Ljubljana, Sloveni

Tags - Botvinnik - Bobby Fischer - Capablanca - Charles Sullivan - Chess Player - ChessMetrics - Grandmaster - Greatest - Karpov - Kasparov - Kramnik - Smyslov - World Chess Champion -
Posted by ALCHEssMIST - Alchemipedia alliance.