Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Chess Research - Visuospatial Abilities Of Chess Players (2002)

The results of this study are very interesting. It possibly helps explain how Mikhail Tal, one of the most brilliant players of all-time, could have chosen to study literature (writing a thesis on the satirical works of Ilf and Petrov) at the University of Riga (Wikipedia). On a more historical note, Howard Staunton in addition to playing chess, was also a well known Shakespearean scholar.
Visuospatial abilities of chess players (Abstract Link) (full pdf)
Waters A.J.(1); Gobet F.(2); Leyden G.(2)
British Journal of Psychology 93:(4), Nov 2002 , pp. 557-565(9)
* 1: Georgetown University, USA
* 2: School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, UK

The extent to which the acquisition of expertise in knowledge-rich domains, such as chess, can be influenced by general individual characteristics, such as intelligence, has remained unclear. Some previous studies with children have documented significant correlations between chess skill and performance on some psychometric tests, such as performance IQ. However, we found no evidence for a correlation between chess skill and visual memory ability in a group of adult chess players (N = 36, age = 28.4 years). This finding, together with other data in the literature, suggests that there is surprisingly little evidence that chess skill and visuospatial ability are associated in adults. Thus, visual memory ability, and perhaps visuospatial intelligence, may be relatively unimportant factors in the long-term acquisition of chess skill.