Wednesday, March 31, 2010

General Factor of Intelligence, Genius, Experts and Chess

Half Sigma is at it again.  In his post entitled Chess and David Shenk, he discusses how a blogger has debunked an author who argues genius is made and not born.  I've saved articles on the subject of becoming a genius/expert before ... here and here.  Half Sigma goes on to add that "playing chess at a high level doesn't create value; it increases the chess player's status, and because status is [a] zero sum game, he can only increase his own status by making everyone else slightly less important."  He goes on to say that chess is a value transference activity rather than a value creation activity.

It was entertaining reading the pages and pages of comments.  If you don't understand Half Sigma's premises, then you will be riled up with his comments and opinions.

In a subsequent post entitled Intelligence and reasoning, chess, computers, calculus, he further clarifies why he thinks learning chess does not require as much intelligence because it is mostly about memorization and "being able to compute board positions many moves out into the future."

In my opinion, the best argument against Half Sigma's is this one:

"-Chess talent requires the ability to make quick connections and recognize patterns. There are nearly an infinite number of moves possible. You cannot "memorize" your way through chess. It might be possible to have a repertoire of the three first moves memorized, but soon after that the combinatorial possibilities become overwhelming. What's needed, then, is an ability to make connections (recognizing the opponents intentions/strategy) and an ability to perceive what the most damaging move is at any moment. Have you ever looked at chess problems? They can be very difficult and people with chess talent can solve them simply.
-Chess talent depends heavily on working memory, which is a key component of g and perhaps might be what underlies analytical ability. On the LSATs, for instance, students who can solve the logic games the fastest no doubt can simply retain and manipulate a greater deal of information in their heads -- the same thing that's required for chess.
-And for the last time, just because talented chess players are intelligent does not mean all intelligent people will be chess champions. So relax."

Agree with him or not, his opinions spark debates and reading the debates and comments is entertaining and interesting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CT-ART 4.0

In reading my feeds today, I came across a post stating that CT-ART 4.0 is out.

Then I read the one review at Amazon about CT-ART 4.0.

Avoid this software like the plague.
First, it is not new - it is CT-ART 3.0 with Mate Studies added. If I had known that I wouldn't have bought it. And they lie on the box and in their web info. I only found out by going to their support site. Which is another nightmare, by the way.

Second, the new interface, Peshk is a Piece of Garbage. I own the software, I bought it, and will be returning it to the USCF. I can't get the thing I bought, CT-ART 4.0 not Peshk, to install or register it. In fact I can't even tell you where it is. I bought, I remind Convecta, a licensed copy of their software. I didn't buy the right to attempt to endlessly contact their server to get their permission to run something I own. Or endlessly write tech support for help. There is no excuse for this.

It is software from hell. You have no idea what you are supposed to do. Another example of bad programming from ChessNOTOk. Not to mention more bad English.

One star is too high. Even zero stars is too high. A waste of both time and money. Stay away from it at all costs.
Talk about a hot opinon! Needless to say, the reviewer gave it 1 star.

ChessCafe's shop has a few more reviews which are at least toned-down from the one at Amazon.
Has anyone purchased this new version?  Is the Amazon reviewer correct or does (s)he have abnormally high expectations to begin with?
I also wonder if tactics-type software sales have dropped significantly since more and more tactics sites are available now.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I've finally done 10,000 blitz problems on chesstempo.

My percentage correct has also been climbing and I'm now over 64%.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

OTB in Houston

I'll actually be able to attend this month's meetup in my feeble attempt to include OTB in my chess diet.  If you're in town on March 15th, stop on by.  Looks like Glenn is on the list but not attending.  And I'm not sure if Donnie knows about this meetup or not.

On a related note, I just saw on the TCA blog that the 2010 US Class Championships will be in Houston October 1-3.  I'm seriously considering signing up.

Perhaps those of you who have gone to one of these tournaments can answer me a few questions about this tournament.  On the site it says "3-Day Schedule: Registration Fri (10/1) 5-7pm. Rds. Fri 8pm, Sat 1pm & 6:30pm, Sun 9:30am & 2:30pm. 2-Day Schedule: Registration Sat (10/2) 8-9am. Rds. Sat 10am, 1pm (merges with 3-Day Schedule) & 6:30pm, Sun 9:30am & 2:30pm. Byes for all rounds, must commit before end of Rd 2."  So if I were to sign up for the 3-day schedule, I would play 5 rounds?  And when it says "byes for all rounds", what does that mean?  I wouldn't be able to play Sunday, but I'd be able to play Friday and Saturday.  So could I use byes for the two rounds on Sunday?  And one last question ... could I replace a Sunday round with a Saturday morning round?  Maybe I'll just email the organizer.

Monday, March 01, 2010

February Stats / March Goals

My main goal for February was to do 30 tactics a day on ChessTempo.  I fell short by 35 problems.  Even still, I managed to do the most tactics in a month than I ever have before.  The most before that was 785 problems in a month ... that was last February .. February seems to be the month to do tactics.

ChessTempo: Blitz - 562/805 (69.81%) Rating: 1673

Slow Games: 2 (2-0) FICS Rating: 1687
RedHotPawn: 2 wins (claimed time outs), 0 losses, 6 current games Rating: 1670
Reading/Study: 1 game from Logical Chess

March Goals:
1) 30 tactics a day (930 total for the month)
2) 3 long games - contact me if you want to play!!
3) Study and input into .pgn at least two games from Logical Chess
4) Consolidate previously captured tactical misses into one .pgn file (missedtactics.pgn)
5) Review missedtactics.pgn every week - add problems to file as needed.