Intelligence Is Important If You Want To Be Really Good At Chess

We could have guessed that.

Just in case becoming a world chess champion was on your bucket list, let us give you a reality check.

New research refutes the theory that chess expertise is based solely on practicing for hours on end, and in fact intelligence plays a “significant role”.

Dimitri Otis via Getty Images

Researchers at Michigan State University have provided some of the most conclusive evidence to date to support the notion that cognitive ability is linked to a skilled performance on the chess board.

Alexander Burgoyne said: “”We analysed a half-century worth of research on intelligence and chess skill and found that cognitive ability contributes meaningfully to individual differences in chess skill.”

Of course practice is still an essential component of success, but a high IQ score is a necessary part of that puzzle too.

“Imagine that a genius can become a skilled chess player relatively easily, whereas a person with average intelligence may take longer. So the idea is, as you practice more and develop more skills and knowledge about the game, you may be able to circumvent limitations in cognitive ability,” said Zach Hambrick.

Especially in younger players, and players with lower levels of skill. In the upper level players, this distribution of cognitive ability was less noticeable. In other words they’re all smart cookies.

Anyone for a game of Scrabble?


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