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Are chess players intelligent?

last night at the gym I caused a bit of a stir. I returned to my locker and found that once I unlocked it, there was nothing inside. I call the manager and he started checking all the locks to see if anyone by chance had the same code. 10 minutes later we were back where we started. I asked, what do you usually do in this situation? Check everything before we believe the worst, he replied. As for example checking the empty… Oops, is that your stuff? So, I had locked the empty locker next to my stuff. And it was all there, passport, money, blackberry, cards, secret novelties in the Sicilian, dirty books where the king is stripped bare. Surely you were mortified, a friend asked later. No, not at all. I burst out laughing. We always say, one day we will laugh at this. I always try to make sure that this one day is today…

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  1. Abramov Anjuhin
    October 6th, 2010 at 11:09 | #1

    I heard so many times how chess players are odd, weird, in their abstract world… dreaming about King’s Indian, and contemplating what to play against 1d4: Grunfeld, KID or Semi-Slav…

  2. Max
    October 6th, 2010 at 12:13 | #2

    Great way to fool thieves into thinking your stuff is in the locked locker though. Genius!

  3. Ametanoitos
    October 6th, 2010 at 18:31 | #3

    Do you remember the funny story with Alekhine analysing in his pocket set while he was invited in Opera? Next to him Capablanca had a great time enjoying the play….
    For sure chess players live in our different poetic world. When i begin chess lessons with a new class in the first or second lecture i always say to my students that it is not true that we chessplayers are more intelligent than the other people but that is a secrets we know and it is not bad to let others believe that it is true!

  4. Icebreaker
    October 6th, 2010 at 18:50 | #4

    Just a couple of questions. Do you really keep chess books in your gym locker? Or am i not smart enough to realise that’s sarcasm??
    And just making sure, it was a real gym right, with weights and such; not like a chess gym… (if such a thing exists)

  5. Zammo Maguire
    October 7th, 2010 at 04:10 | #5

    Firstly consider what you mean by ‘intelligence’, a nebulous, controversial concept.
    Spearman’s ‘g’?

  6. Jacob Aagaard
    October 7th, 2010 at 09:13 | #6

    I have chess books in my bag at times yes. I actually still read chess books, believe it or not :-).

  7. Antonio
    October 7th, 2010 at 14:20 | #7

    Well… now we ask… what chess books do you read?

  8. Jacob Aagaard
    October 7th, 2010 at 15:37 | #8

    Recently I read Seirewan’s CHESS DUELS and Lars Bo Hansen’s FOUNDATIONS OF CHESS STRATEGY. Both fine books, but I don’t feel threatened in any way :-). Usually I just check NIC yearbook or other opening books. I also read our own books. Although I often typeset them, I don’t often get to read them before they are done.

  9. John Pugh
    October 7th, 2010 at 16:05 | #9

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Could I ask if anyone checks authors analysis before it goes for printing or is this down to the authors themselves?

  10. John Shaw
    October 7th, 2010 at 16:58 | #10

    @John Pugh


    In general, we look at everything and check a lot of the analysis, but sometimes we trust parts of the authors’ work. By which I mean, not every move gets the same level of scrutiny: some moves get a quick glance if they feel right and we know the author has put in a huge effort; other lines are tested to destruction by 3 GMs, an IM and our analysis computers. Still, some dodgy analysis tends to survive in the final book nomatter how much effort and how many people study the work.

  11. TonyRo
    October 7th, 2010 at 18:12 | #11

    Hi Guys,

    Here is a related question. Since an issue came up with Marin’s first excerpt when I looked at, I decided to check the excerpt for #2. What do you guys think of this line, reproduced from my post at ChessPub:

    “What do you make of Vuksanovic’s 10…Qb6!? 11. Ng5 e6 12. Bxf8 Rxf8 13. Nc3 and now an idea is 13…h6! 14. Nge4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 c5!

    Perhaps better is 11. d4!? e6 12. Bxf8 Nxf8 13. Nbd2 N8d7 14. Qa3!?..”

  12. anonymous coward
    October 7th, 2010 at 19:38 | #12

    @John Shaw – maybe instead of blogging you can do an Anti-Sicilians update on ChessPublishing? 🙂

  13. Joeri
    October 7th, 2010 at 20:47 | #13


  14. John Pugh
    October 7th, 2010 at 23:04 | #14

    @John Shaw
    Many thanks for your full and honest reply

  15. John Pugh
    October 7th, 2010 at 23:17 | #15

    I have just found an excellent review of GM Repertoire 7 by Carsten Hansen on chesscafe.com

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    October 8th, 2010 at 10:14 | #16

    I had a look when this …c5 idea was posted. Black is still a bit under pressure, but the computer can eventually neutralise it. 11.Nc3 also looked better for White.

  17. John Shaw
    October 8th, 2010 at 10:28 | #17

    anonymous coward :
    @John Shaw – maybe instead of blogging you can do an Anti-Sicilians update on ChessPublishing?

    Guilty as charged. But I am working on my ChessPub column right now and was also yesterday. And after that I will have to catch up on the next month’s column…

  18. Jacob Aagaard
    October 8th, 2010 at 12:46 | #18

    You should be working on the King’s Gambit, thank you.

  19. Jacob Aagaard
    October 27th, 2010 at 09:44 | #19

    Lost my credit cards and drivers license in Arco. Not robbed, just forgot them in the apartment. Has been located and sent to me. But still – stupid as ever…

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