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The Scrabble for Africa

Scrabble whatever

 

I have never played Scrabble. I may have tried once, but certainly gave up very quickly, before even finishing the game. I like words, but I don’t particularly like games. I can’t see the point of Scrabble, and would prefer to read a book, in which the words are assembled to convey meaning. Unscrabble. I do not for a moment doubt that Scrabble requires intelligence. Players have to think of words and their spellings in terms of letter beginnings, middles and endings. I doubt I could do that with any diligence and flair, and congratulate those who can.

I presume it is less challenging than chess, which is in turn less challenging than Go. Scrabble has a random element in that the letters are drawn from a bag, but that is not a major complication for detecting a player’s ability in the long run. I don’t know how difficult it would be to create an artificial intelligence Scrabble player, but imagine it would be easier than for chess. Each letter combination would be checked against a dictionary, and rated for letter frequency points. Technically, it might be quite simple to get to a reasonable level of performance from an AI implementation. “Maven” is pretty simple, looking two moves ahead and “Quackle” is said to be the current front runner at championship level. As an outsider to the game, I note that Scrabble cannot be truly universal, because it is language based, and it is hard to gauge the equivalence of the different 29 language versions and their players. Unlike chess, there are definitional issues about words, and random allocations of letters, whereas in chess the rules are set, and there is no quibble about the win, lose or draw outcome.

I consider Chanda Chisala to be an African Hereditarian, championing the intellectual abilities of African elites, mostly in Nigeria, and I wish him the best of luck, because it would be good to find more intellectual elites, to trace their origins, and to compare them to the brightest groups from other continents. Every region of the world probably has intellectual elites (an Al-Rashidi privately claimed that to me, regarding the Arabian peninsula) and they will probably be commercially and academically successful, and very picky about who their children marry. Chisala argues that if many Africans are among the top players of Scrabble and other board games, Africans cannot be as dull as psychometric testing suggests. I think this is a promising line of argument, particularly when one doubts a set of measures, or it is difficult to get large and representative samples for psychometric testing.

La Griffe du Lion used chess tournament winners in Russia to estimate the intelligence of the sub-populations of Russia, and was able to show that Jewish origin Russians were over-represented among winners. He required that there should be equal access and motivation to play the game in question (which he assumed from the massive benefits which accrued to anyone who could play chess well in the Soviet Union), accurate data on winners and their racial/cultural backgrounds, and accurate measures of the base populations from which the winners are drawn. Any errors in those parameters creates bigger errors in the calculation of population intelligence levels. Here is the link to his full explanation:

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/ashkenaz.htm

1) A threshold of performance must be found that depends purely on cognitive ability.
2) The threshold must be unequivocally defined.
3) The rates at which the target group and the control group cross the threshold must be established.
4) Opportunity must exist for both groups to cross the threshold. That is, the target group cannot be restricted by political considerations from fair competition.
5) An overriding motive to cross the threshold must exist, being sufficiently strong that virtually all those capable of crossing the threshold do.

It can always be argued that poorer countries have more difficulty in practising for and taking part in international competitions, so on point 4 Africans could claim they do not yet have equal access. Also, I don’t know if there is strong encouragement to play Scrabble in Africa, but there must be some advantages for successful players. There is a case to be made that African success in Scrabble is an under-estimate. Anyway, it is worth considering the current results. If Africans are over-represented among winners of Scrabble tournaments, then Chisala is right that IQ estimates for Africa are called into question. One would have to make allowances for the fact that Scrabble is simpler than chess, but it would be interesting to estimate by how much, and also to make some allowance for individual countries deciding to encourage, pay and train Scrabble players, as Nigeria, Pakistan and Thailand reportedly do. Such training raises an interesting interpretative dilemma: if training makes some countries much better than others, then it could be argued that a) intellectual abilities can be trained and IQ can be boosted or b) training does nothing to boost intelligence, but siphons off the brightest people and boosts performance in a narrow domain by teaching them strategies.

Starting with Scrabble, the World Championship History 1991-2016 produces the following country totals: United States 7, England 6, Canada 5, Thailand 5, New Zealand 4, Australia 1, Malaysia 1, Nigeria 1.

My impression is that England and their descendants play this game well; that Thailand plays almost as well; that the big difference between Australia and genetically similar New Zealand suggests that whether the game is taken up at championship level is a bit random, and that Australia, Malaysia and Nigeria have shown promise. Frankly, although I do not go out of my way to defend the French, the universal English language is not yet universal enough to pass any judgement on nations, so one has to look separately at the French results. Chess is a far better test in that regard.

Bluntly, I think it would be difficult to argue that English people are bright on the basis of these results, nor to impute too much about what this means for national intelligence measures. Nigeria and Thailand give government sponsorship to the game, so the requirement of equal access is partially invalidated. However, sponsorship is also a measure of what can be achieved with encouragement, as the UK have found by their crafty gaming of Olympic medal totals (the concentrate on games which give many medals).

On Live Chess Rating the top 41 players list contains no Africans.

On the WESPA Scrabble rankings http://www.wespa.org/aardvark/cgi-bin/rating.cgi more Africans can be found on this list. I count 25 in the top 100, mostly from Nigeria.

Do good African results on Scrabble call into question the results of IQ testing? To my mind there is no question that they might do so. Real life success is the criterion; examination and intelligence test success only the potential predictor. Chess would be more informative, and a general pattern of elite performance in Maths and Science would be pretty convincing.

Estimating Nigerian ability is made a bit more difficult by a rapidly increasing population size: Nigeria has been ignoring the 1980s World Health Organisation posters which assured us that all the world was limiting family sizes. That same august organisation now guesses that Nigeria may have 1 billion people by 2060. The 2015 estimate is 182 million citizens, with a projected 262 million by 2030. Let us stick with 182 million. The Lynn database gives 70 for Nigeria (based on 16 studies, with the best sample by far being the 17th study, which is just about to appear so not included in that estimate). I will take Nigerian IQ70 as the estimate to be disproved, and the Rindermann estimate of African intelligence of IQ75 (which makes allowances for sample deficiencies) as the best estimate for Africa as a whole.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886912003741

If Nigerian IQ is 70 there will be 5,764 Nigerians with an IQ of 130 and above. Some of them will play Scrabble. If really good Scrabble playing requires an IQ of 140, then there will be 278 Nigerians able to excel at this game.

If Nigerian IQ is in fact at the Rindermann estimate for Africa of 75, then there will be 22,362 Nigerians with an IQ of 130 and above, and 1,336 Nigerians with an IQ of 140.

The Economist magazine calculated that half of Africa’s intellectuals have left Africa. I presume most go to make their fortune, and succeed. Some then go back to assist Africa. They have probably paid more attention to banking than Scrabble or other board games, and go to catch the biggest game available in the financial districts of New York or London.

So, although I like the method, I think that Go and Chess rankings would be more informative than Scrabble. Scientific publications and patents would be a real clincher, as would international Maths and Nobel prizes in Science.

But not Peace Prizes. In 1978 Israeli Prime Minister Menahim Begin got the Nobel Prize for Peace, together with Anwar Sadat. Israelis celebrated thus:

Have you heard? Menahim Begin has got the Nobel Prize for Physics!

For Physics? Surely he got the Nobel Prize for Peace?

No, his qualifications in Physics were better.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Africans, IQ, Race/IQ, Scrabble 
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  1. Here is a map of chess grandmasters per capita:

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/world-chess-grandmasters-2016.png

    With the downwards exception of East Asia (where they play go and xiangqi instead), and the upwards tilt of Eastern Europe (due to state support for the game under Communism), it might as well be one of those global IQ maps. There are a grand total of three Black grandmasters throughout history: Maurice Ashley (a Jamaican immigrant to US), Pontus Carlsson (an African adopted by a Swedish family at the age of one), and Amon Simutoue (the only African African, a Zambian).

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.
     
    Which is pretty dubious, seeing as how chess sets are quite easy to make (prisoners do it all the time). Heck, at a pinch, even marked bits of paper will do.
    , @TelfoedJohn
    There's an interesting interview with the Black Swedish GM Pontus Carlson here:
    http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2016/12/31/carlsson-reflects-on-swedens-racial-climate/

    Like the Polgar sisters he was trained from an early age in chess by an expert father. The Polgar's father wanted to prove that "geniuses are made, not born". This theory was undermined by the fact that he was a chess expert. Carlsson's case gives the theory more validity. (Incidentally, like Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen he is very into football)
    , @Triumph104
    Kenny Solomon is the world's fourth black chess grandmaster and the first of any race from South Africa.
    , @Jm8
    "I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess."

    He gave other reasons also:

    "The simple reason seems to be that, unlike Scrabble and Checkers, master level chess requires access to a very large body of ever-growing literature in chess theory (even ignoring the difficulty of making homemade chess pieces); it’s no longer possible to teach yourself grand master level chess, without memorizing these long chess openings. Africans do not have this access to chess materials (which now includes computer programs) for the same reason that they have no access to mathematics text books and other educational materials in schools...Chess has become more resource-demanding than any school subject.

    Fischer himself decried the increasingly heavy reliance of top-level chess on familiarity with professionally analyzed theoretical opening lines that the Soviet chess machine engendered (Fischer had to learn Russian just to keep up with the countless Russian opening analyses)..."


    http://www.unz.com/article/scrabble-spells-doom-for-the-racial-hypothesis-of-intelligence/

    , @keypusher
    One more point about this map -- you'd need to consider the effect of immigration, at least if you're going to use it as some kind of IQ proxy. The top three "American" players are Wesley So (a Filipino until very recently), Fabiano Caruana (holds Italian citizenship, though he was born in Brooklyn) and Hikaru Nakamura (born in Japan, though he came to this country at the age of 3). Below those guys there's a raft of ex-Russians. If you took away those guys the USA might wind up a very pale shade of pink on this map.
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  2. I have not played Scrabble since I was a kid and it was not a popular game in my home, but I would think it is in the same class of puzzles as crosswords. These sorts of games rely on a set of “tricks” that the player can master to boost their ability. In the case of Scrabble, knowing how to exploit the board, not just conjure words from random letters, is the determining skill. The available opportunities to maximize word scores is to some degree luck and to some other degree determined by the quality of the opponent.

    Of course, there is a pretty good alternative. That’s the Raven’s Progressive Matrix. It’s cheap, easy to administer and transcends language and education barriers. One of the interesting things about the testing that has been done using the RPM in Africa is, with training, sub-Saharan Africans show the greatest increase in scores. This result has been replicated

    This leads me to wonder if Scrabble rewards a narrow set of cognitive skills that maybe exist universally. Pattern matching could be an advantage in Scrabble as the board is fixed and the flow of the game is from the center outward. Then there is the fact that chess is a low time preference game, while Scrabble seems like a low time preference game.Quickly exploiting an opportunity to score is rewarded in Scrabble, but often punished in chess.

    Anyway, excellent post.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res
    Interesting link. Thanks!

    I think pattern matching is critical for all three games, but I can't even begin to rank order them in that dimension. What does everyone think?

    Imperfect information and randomness are definitely critical differences for Scrabble. Do people differ systematically in their abilities here? Has anyone studied this as a possible component of intelligence? Tetlock's prediction work is the closest analog I know.

    I might add in backgammon or poker as additional games with randomness and imperfect information for comparison. But differing in the lack of a spatial element.

    Quickly exploiting an opportunity to score is rewarded in Scrabble, but often punished in chess.
     
    I'm not sure I completely agree with this. I think leaving a good set of tiles on the rack is an important aspect of Scrabble (kind of like pool in that respect). I do agree that Scrabble has a seizing the (less predictable) moment aspect (both offensively and defensively) chess lacks to some degree. Much of this is due to the randomness and invisibility of the tile racks to opponents.
  3. Not only are there Scrabble AIs, but they are fairly simple to program. I know of two that were written by different acquaintances, one with 70s and one with 90s hardware. In fact, both found that the AI had to be massively hobbled or it would effortlessly crush any human player and rack up ludicrous (by human standard) scores. Lookup tables and brute force searching beat anything a human can do. One friend thought it was fun to set 4 AIs playing against each other just to see how astounding the plays they came up with were.

    Read More
  4. I presume it is less challenging than chess, which is in turn less challenging than Go.

    I think that is an interesting question. My initial reaction is that one funny thing is I think the rules of each game are in the opposite order of complexity.

    Second reaction is that I think you are dead on with respect to how computer AIs perform in these games. A surprisingly informative cartoon related to this topic (though a little outdated given recent advances in Go AI): https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1002:_Game_AIs

    Third reaction is the games are very different. Both in terms of verbal vs. math/spatial focus and in the role of memorization. I would expect there would be some difference in which people excel at which games. I play both recreationally fairly well (more chess than Scrabble), but have never really played either competitively and don’t have delusions about excellence. What strikes me about Scrabble is how important vocabulary and the memorization of useful (e.g. uncommon short) words is. Chess (and Go, I think, but much less experience and knowledge there) has memorization of openings, but I don’t think that is quite as critical. Worth mentioning that computers excel at memorization.

    Final reaction is I basically agree with you, but think Scrabble is a very different game. I suspect populations that are biased towards verbal IQ rather than math or spatial IQ would do better at Scrabble and that might help explain the African success. My experience has been that a similar phenomenon exists for men/women in chess/scrabble, but my experience is limited.

    Here is a Quora take on Scrabble vs. chess: https://www.quora.com/Scrabble-vs-chess-which-is-more-difficult-to-master

    P.S. One nit, his first name is Chanda. Thanks for covering this topic!

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    My mistaken spelling of his name corrected. Thank you.
    , @Triumph104

    I suspect populations that are biased towards verbal IQ rather than math or spatial IQ would do better at Scrabble and that might help explain the African success. My experience has been that a similar phenomenon exists for men/women in chess/scrabble, but my experience is limited.
     
    No, Scrabble is geared for those who do well in math. Chanda Chisala dealt with this in his column.

    The Spanish World Scrabble Championship is dominated by three countries, Spain, Argentina, and Venezuela. The 2004 World runner-up is an American named Hector Klie, apparently a Venezuelan immigrant. He has a PhD from Rice University in Computational Science and Engineering. LINK

    I'm confused about your experience. Women do better in verbal than men. According to your theory that would make women better at Scrabble, but obviously that is not the case or are you talking about competitions at the local community center?
    , @artichoke
    In chess, if all you know is openings, you can be dead within a few moves after the openings. And at the penalty of making one or two weakish moves, one can get the game out of book very fast, then kill the guy who just knows openings. In scrabble, you can pretty much make a living on such memorization, and it's impossible to direct the game away from it.

    So some Africans excel at word memorization, but almost none have learned the non-memory skills required by chess. (It's possible there's an African chess genius who just doesn't learn any openings and that's what keeping him or her from the GM title, but I've never heard that nor have any reason to expect it.)
  5. The biggest datasets on race, behavior, and intelligence must be social media posts, which probably provide more compelling evidence than even the upcoming DNA research revolution into IQ. As the internet expands, the evidence will only become more compelling – if it is ever studied.

    You could have specific individuals take paper and pencil IQ tests. You could even gather data on competitive games like Scrabble played electronically.

    Read More
  6. @The Z Blog
    I have not played Scrabble since I was a kid and it was not a popular game in my home, but I would think it is in the same class of puzzles as crosswords. These sorts of games rely on a set of "tricks" that the player can master to boost their ability. In the case of Scrabble, knowing how to exploit the board, not just conjure words from random letters, is the determining skill. The available opportunities to maximize word scores is to some degree luck and to some other degree determined by the quality of the opponent.

    Of course, there is a pretty good alternative. That's the Raven's Progressive Matrix. It's cheap, easy to administer and transcends language and education barriers. One of the interesting things about the testing that has been done using the RPM in Africa is, with training, sub-Saharan Africans show the greatest increase in scores. This result has been replicated

    This leads me to wonder if Scrabble rewards a narrow set of cognitive skills that maybe exist universally. Pattern matching could be an advantage in Scrabble as the board is fixed and the flow of the game is from the center outward. Then there is the fact that chess is a low time preference game, while Scrabble seems like a low time preference game.Quickly exploiting an opportunity to score is rewarded in Scrabble, but often punished in chess.

    Anyway, excellent post.

    Interesting link. Thanks!

    I think pattern matching is critical for all three games, but I can’t even begin to rank order them in that dimension. What does everyone think?

    Imperfect information and randomness are definitely critical differences for Scrabble. Do people differ systematically in their abilities here? Has anyone studied this as a possible component of intelligence? Tetlock’s prediction work is the closest analog I know.

    I might add in backgammon or poker as additional games with randomness and imperfect information for comparison. But differing in the lack of a spatial element.

    Quickly exploiting an opportunity to score is rewarded in Scrabble, but often punished in chess.

    I’m not sure I completely agree with this. I think leaving a good set of tiles on the rack is an important aspect of Scrabble (kind of like pool in that respect). I do agree that Scrabble has a seizing the (less predictable) moment aspect (both offensively and defensively) chess lacks to some degree. Much of this is due to the randomness and invisibility of the tile racks to opponents.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Z Blog
    Thinking about the time element, I looked up the rules for competitive Scrabble. Each player gets 25 minutes per game. They say there are roughly 200,000 valid Scrabble words, but 83,667 words that are two letters to eight letters long. That's important as 95% of the words used fall into that category.

    That means Scrabble is first and foremost a memory game. The greatest champion appears to be someone with an eidetic memory. This makes me think the pattern recognition aspect is what is being measured here. It appears that great players become great quickly and never get better or worse once they hit their peak.
  7. @res
    Interesting link. Thanks!

    I think pattern matching is critical for all three games, but I can't even begin to rank order them in that dimension. What does everyone think?

    Imperfect information and randomness are definitely critical differences for Scrabble. Do people differ systematically in their abilities here? Has anyone studied this as a possible component of intelligence? Tetlock's prediction work is the closest analog I know.

    I might add in backgammon or poker as additional games with randomness and imperfect information for comparison. But differing in the lack of a spatial element.

    Quickly exploiting an opportunity to score is rewarded in Scrabble, but often punished in chess.
     
    I'm not sure I completely agree with this. I think leaving a good set of tiles on the rack is an important aspect of Scrabble (kind of like pool in that respect). I do agree that Scrabble has a seizing the (less predictable) moment aspect (both offensively and defensively) chess lacks to some degree. Much of this is due to the randomness and invisibility of the tile racks to opponents.

    Thinking about the time element, I looked up the rules for competitive Scrabble. Each player gets 25 minutes per game. They say there are roughly 200,000 valid Scrabble words, but 83,667 words that are two letters to eight letters long. That’s important as 95% of the words used fall into that category.

    That means Scrabble is first and foremost a memory game. The greatest champion appears to be someone with an eidetic memory. This makes me think the pattern recognition aspect is what is being measured here. It appears that great players become great quickly and never get better or worse once they hit their peak.

    Read More
  8. Scrabble? Duller than crosswords. Duller even than golf. And golf gets you out of the house.

    Read More
  9. @res

    I presume it is less challenging than chess, which is in turn less challenging than Go.

     

    I think that is an interesting question. My initial reaction is that one funny thing is I think the rules of each game are in the opposite order of complexity.

    Second reaction is that I think you are dead on with respect to how computer AIs perform in these games. A surprisingly informative cartoon related to this topic (though a little outdated given recent advances in Go AI): https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1002:_Game_AIs

    Third reaction is the games are very different. Both in terms of verbal vs. math/spatial focus and in the role of memorization. I would expect there would be some difference in which people excel at which games. I play both recreationally fairly well (more chess than Scrabble), but have never really played either competitively and don't have delusions about excellence. What strikes me about Scrabble is how important vocabulary and the memorization of useful (e.g. uncommon short) words is. Chess (and Go, I think, but much less experience and knowledge there) has memorization of openings, but I don't think that is quite as critical. Worth mentioning that computers excel at memorization.

    Final reaction is I basically agree with you, but think Scrabble is a very different game. I suspect populations that are biased towards verbal IQ rather than math or spatial IQ would do better at Scrabble and that might help explain the African success. My experience has been that a similar phenomenon exists for men/women in chess/scrabble, but my experience is limited.

    Here is a Quora take on Scrabble vs. chess: https://www.quora.com/Scrabble-vs-chess-which-is-more-difficult-to-master

    P.S. One nit, his first name is Chanda. Thanks for covering this topic!

    My mistaken spelling of his name corrected. Thank you.

    Read More
  10. Scrabble is a stupid game. You play well, are ahed, and then on the last turn someone plays ‘zit’ on the triple word score and then you lose.

    Read More
  11. @Anatoly Karlin
    Here is a map of chess grandmasters per capita:

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/world-chess-grandmasters-2016.png

    With the downwards exception of East Asia (where they play go and xiangqi instead), and the upwards tilt of Eastern Europe (due to state support for the game under Communism), it might as well be one of those global IQ maps. There are a grand total of three Black grandmasters throughout history: Maurice Ashley (a Jamaican immigrant to US), Pontus Carlsson (an African adopted by a Swedish family at the age of one), and Amon Simutoue (the only African African, a Zambian).

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.

    Which is pretty dubious, seeing as how chess sets are quite easy to make (prisoners do it all the time). Heck, at a pinch, even marked bits of paper will do.

    Read More
    • Agree: frayedthread
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    He's talking about professional and elite levels.
  12. @syonredux

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.
     
    Which is pretty dubious, seeing as how chess sets are quite easy to make (prisoners do it all the time). Heck, at a pinch, even marked bits of paper will do.

    He’s talking about professional and elite levels.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    He’s talking about professional and elite levels.
     
    And? You don't need store-bought chess sets to practice chess. As I said above, you can make your own, quite easily.

    And are scrabble sets cheaper than chess sets?

    , @frayedthread
    Chess sets are more expensive than scrabble?

    I don't know shit from shinola, but I call B.S. on this.
  13. @Anatoly Karlin
    Here is a map of chess grandmasters per capita:

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/world-chess-grandmasters-2016.png

    With the downwards exception of East Asia (where they play go and xiangqi instead), and the upwards tilt of Eastern Europe (due to state support for the game under Communism), it might as well be one of those global IQ maps. There are a grand total of three Black grandmasters throughout history: Maurice Ashley (a Jamaican immigrant to US), Pontus Carlsson (an African adopted by a Swedish family at the age of one), and Amon Simutoue (the only African African, a Zambian).

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.

    There’s an interesting interview with the Black Swedish GM Pontus Carlson here:

    http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2016/12/31/carlsson-reflects-on-swedens-racial-climate/

    Like the Polgar sisters he was trained from an early age in chess by an expert father. The Polgar’s father wanted to prove that “geniuses are made, not born”. This theory was undermined by the fact that he was a chess expert. Carlsson’s case gives the theory more validity. (Incidentally, like Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen he is very into football)

    Read More
    • Replies: @keypusher
    I can't prove this, but I strongly suspect that only a fraction of the people who could be really good chessplayers ever try the game, or put in the sort of effort into it that is necessary to get anywhere. I think this was true even in the old USSR. The fact that Laszlo Polgar was able to turn his three daughters into three of the best female chessplayers of all time, and that Pontus became a grandmaster, provides support for my opinion (in my opinion).

    If only a fraction of those who could become strong chessplayers ever get the chance, and the size of that fraction varies enormously by country, I don't see how comparing the number of grandmasters/masters/experts per capita can provide useful data re national IQs.

    This theory was undermined by the fact that [Laszlo] was a chess expert.


    No, it's undermined because he and his wife Klara were ridiculously bright and hard-working themselves. It would have been surprising if his daughters hadn't been really good at something.
    , @Triumph104
    I agree. My problem with Polgar's “geniuses are made, not born” is that they are Ashkenazi Jews, a group that does extremely well in chess. However, Polgar did prove that a female grandmaster could be made. Richard Williams did similar with Venus and Serena in tennis, a sport with few black champions.

    Pontus Carlsson is proud to be Colombian and not Swedish because he didn't grow up in Colombia. Believe me all the complaints he has about Sweden apply to Colombia and more.

    The Law of Jante is a (Nordic) term that discourages individuals from achieving and standing out from the group. Ironic given that some would like to use Noble prizes in science to determine if an individual or group is more intelligent than another.

    Pontus Carlsson's views on chess and intelligence: Chess is also a sport where you work with your brain and become more intelligent. You get a better memory since you train it all the time, improve your calculation, concentration and your strategic ability, which is very useful both in school and in business.For children it is always a good idea to start with chess since they get better in school and especially in math.
  14. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Real life success is the criterion; examination and intelligence test success only the potential predictor.

    The criterion for what exactly? I would think that “real-life success” is the “criterion” for assessing the predictive value of “intelligence test success”, since the desire is to show that “intelligence test success” can be used to predict “real life success”, but I don’t think this is clear, and I may be wrong.

    I don’t think I need to point out the problems with this as an argument against Mr. Chisala.

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art. Others are based on actual competitions: Go, chess, Scrabble, Turing and AI competitons. For example, Alpha Go is an intellectual achievement. All of those things are actual real-life measures of achievement.
    On the other hand, tests of ability and scholastic aptitude must be considered as variables to be tested for their ability to predict real-life achievement.
    Chisala argues that African achievement in intellectual competitions is far better than would be expected from test results. My impression is that the achievements are within the predicted range. Hope this is clearer.
  15. Oh, gawd, not another “IQ” article on UR. Good grief, what’s the preoccupation with “IQ” all about?

    It makes about as much sense as a bunch of E. coli sitting on a dung heap discussing whether serotype # O157:H7 is superior to #O104:H4 and who’s better at producing the best Shiga toxin.

    By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics.

    PS: Even I, with the IQ of an ice cube, can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test.

    Read More
    • Agree: edNels
    • LOL: The Z Blog
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    Explanations about the importance of intelligence for everyday life have been described in detail by Linda Gottfredson:

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/st-petersburg-calling-gottfredson-bell
    , @edNels
    There are a whole bunch of well paid bean counters in Silicon Valley, and all through out the system. Apple polishers who did what they were told with a smile! or they didn't get the grades.

    I know that much about not getting the grades anyways.

    So nowadays, where there is approaching a real... um, watershed between the well paid bean counters in their white lab coats and penguin suits taking orders from a bunch a golfing jet setters,verses the a vast growing sea of newly minted Lumpen, used to be proletarians.

    They need to affirm and reflect and reaffirm ad nauseam, any and all ref positive to the concept of (Nature over Nurture) or, the innate goodness of high Intelligence Quotient because it is the ticket to ride.
    , @EH
    There's going to be lots more articles on IQ here. That's Dr. Thompson's specialty, virtually all of his articles are on that topic. From past threads on Unz your incorrect opinions seem impervious to evidence and your arguments -- no, assertions -- remain the same no matter how many times they are refuted.

    A measure of intelligence is a measure of the difficulty of problems one can solve. g is the unique factor that explains the greatest portion of variations in performance on all different sorts of cognitive tests, that is, it explains more of the correlation between scores on different tests than any other single factor. This gives a single scale of difficulty for all different types of questions which has the most generalizability, giving the best possible prediction of performance on other tasks that is possible with a single number. If you use two or three numbers (e.g. verbal, mathematical, spatial ) you can get a bit better prediction of performance on more specific sorts of tasks, but the vectors of the multiple measures will all correlate very highly with g and g alone will give you most of the information you would get from using any number of different multiple intelligence scales.

    IQ is not intelligence itself. It isn't even really a measure of intelligence, but of the estimated rarity of a particular level of general intelligence in the US or UK population of the same age as the test-taker, assuming a normal distribution of scores. (There are direct, absolute measures of intelligence called "Rasch measures" which do not depend on age or assumptions of a particular distribution. It is empirically possible to convert IQ at a given age to such measures.) IQ is not all that reliable for a single test of a single person, in particular it is much easier to get a score that is inaccurately low than inaccurately high) but given a long history of repeated tests with similar scores, the accuracy of measurement of mental ability becomes quite respectable, certainly better than anyone's subjective impressions of ability, better than school transcripts, better than resumes. When large numbers of students of a common group take the same test the results are far more accurate and reliable than any single test with a single person. While an individual low IQ score could well have been an off day, the scores of millions of people over years are a very robust measurement of the group's intelligence which in practice predicts their performance on mental tasks relative to other groups better than any other single factor. That is not to say that individual scores aren't predictive -- they predict job performance better than just about anything else, far better than education, experience, personality, age, unstructured (normal) interviews or references, even better than any combination of these. Structured interviews, which are effectively individually administered oral standardized tests are the only thing as good as IQ alone in predicting job performance. (Work sample is also about as good, but amounts to saying a test of job performance itself predicts later job performance only a little better than IQ alone, and not as well as IQ + conscientiousness/integrity score, which is pretty remarkable. Google Schmidt & Hunter's pioneering meta-analysis: "The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings")

    Not using tests of mental ability for admissions and hiring costs untold amounts in lost performance. Just to start with, the inflation in college costs over CPI is due to education being mandated as the only acceptable proxy for intelligence in hiring. None of the top schools actually make their students any smarter, their actual teaching quality is no better than many community colleges, the elite schools' reputations are based on the intelligence of the students they admit. (Or rather: "used to admit", today's admission tests are much less reliable at the top end than they used to be.) That alone has cost trillions. Having less intelligent people making decisions in businesses and government instead of more intelligent people has likely had an opportunity cost of tens or hundreds of trillions of dollars over the years.
    , @Durruti
    Thanks:

    "By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics."

    "can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test."

    My views entirely.

    We are better off paying attention to the - attempted Coup-within-the-Coup, (the actual Coup D'etat was initiated in a hail of bullets), on November 22, 1963. Nothing has been the same since. Efforts to reverse the recent 2016, phony -Hollywood-Unconstitutional- circus election results, display the continual decline of American political culture.

    The Only Road: Restore Our Republic!

    Durruti

  16. Carlsson’s case gives the theory more validity.

    Carlsson was adopted after his parents died, and we don’t know enough about the background of his parents to deduce their likely intelligence.

    Read More
  17. “Oh, gawd, not another “IQ” article on UR. Good grief, what’s the preoccupation with “IQ” all about?”

    Supposedly some African won a scrabble contest or something so the ever vigilant guardians of IQists’ narrative felt they had to explain away this bothersome fact to their followers.

    Read More
  18. @Anon

    Real life success is the criterion; examination and intelligence test success only the potential predictor.
     
    The criterion for what exactly? I would think that "real-life success" is the "criterion" for assessing the predictive value of "intelligence test success", since the desire is to show that "intelligence test success" can be used to predict "real life success", but I don't think this is clear, and I may be wrong.

    I don't think I need to point out the problems with this as an argument against Mr. Chisala.

    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art. Others are based on actual competitions: Go, chess, Scrabble, Turing and AI competitons. For example, Alpha Go is an intellectual achievement. All of those things are actual real-life measures of achievement.
    On the other hand, tests of ability and scholastic aptitude must be considered as variables to be tested for their ability to predict real-life achievement.
    Chisala argues that African achievement in intellectual competitions is far better than would be expected from test results. My impression is that the achievements are within the predicted range. Hope this is clearer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art.
     
    RE: Fields Medals,

    Africa is noticeable only by its absence (and Latin America, with a grand total of one, is only slightly better)

    United States 12

    France 10

    Soviet Union (3) / Russia (6) 9

    United Kingdom 7

    Japan 3
    Belgium 2

    West Germany (1) / Germany (0) 1

    Australia 1

    British Hong Kong 1

    Finland 1

    Israel 1

    Italy 1

    Norway 1

    New Zealand 1

    Sweden 1

    Vietnam 1

    Iran 1

    Brazil 1

    (None Stateless) 1

    I’ve left out Manjul Bhargava. His background is complicated.

    And here's a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers produced:


    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/zones-of-thought/

    Africa and Latin America are dwarfed by Japan.
    , @Triumph104

    ) A threshold of performance must be found that depends purely on cognitive ability.
    2) The threshold must be unequivocally defined.
    3) The rates at which the target group and the control group cross the threshold must be established.
    4) Opportunity must exist for both groups to cross the threshold. That is, the target group cannot be restricted by political considerations from fair competition.
    5) An overriding motive to cross the threshold must exist, being sufficiently strong that virtually all those capable of crossing the threshold do.
     
    You need to go back and read your own article. Those measures of group intelligence, Noble science prizes, Fields Medals, etc., are ridiculous. It is apparent that you have no knowledge of people outside of your cultural group, social or professional. Let's see, signs of intelligence are things that you know white people are good at. How white of you.

    In the US, basketball and boxing used be "intelligent" sports until blacks started competing.



    I have never even heard of GO, but I would like to think that I am at least slightly above mentally retarded. I never even knew what a high school Advanced Placement course was until my first year of university. The British equivalent would be a British student at the University of Leeds who never heard of A-levels.

    Luck is what drives an individual and group's perceived intelligence. Luck determines your family, socialization, schools attended, etc. The black physicist Clifford Johnson was born in London but grew up on the island of Montserrat. Before 1986, if you wanted a secondary education on the island you had to pass an exam, otherwise your formal education was over. Johnson failed the secondary school entrance exam. Later that year a Canadian charity came to Montserrat and tested everyone's eyesight. Johnson got glasses and passed the secondary school entrance exam the next year. (Note that he didn't go to school with underachievers.)

    Around that time Johnson's father abandoned the family and went to London. With his father gone, Johnson's older siblings had to drop out of school and work, but Johnson got to do sissy things like crochet and draw. He also learned to cook and play the guitar. There was no TV on the island. Since his father installed the original telephone equipment on the island, Johnson got to read his father's old work manuals. When his mother decided to look for his father, the family moved back to London, just in time for Johnson to study for O-levels then A-levels. The only reason he didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge was because he did not meet the Greek or Latin admissions requirement that the two universities had at the time.

    http://www.idvl.org/sciencemakers/Bio39.html
    , @Santoculto
    Your age Don't give for you wisdom is not sir??

    Intelligence is not just that bigger achievements but i don't want explain again what I already told you and others here. waste of time.
  19. @jacques sheete
    Oh, gawd, not another "IQ" article on UR. Good grief, what's the preoccupation with "IQ" all about?

    It makes about as much sense as a bunch of E. coli sitting on a dung heap discussing whether serotype # O157:H7 is superior to #O104:H4 and who’s better at producing the best Shiga toxin.

    By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics.

    PS: Even I, with the IQ of an ice cube, can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test.

    Explanations about the importance of intelligence for everyday life have been described in detail by Linda Gottfredson:

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/st-petersburg-calling-gottfredson-bell

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    Thanks for the response but I'm not complaining about whether intelligence is important or not.

    I do believe that the concept of IQ is poorly named and that I doubt it actually proves what the vast majority of people think it proves. This is evident in a lot of the comments on these articles by those who obviously pride and preen themselves over their vaunted "IQs."

    As you probably know, any tool can be used for good or ill, and this tool is one that is as easily abused by the usual lamebrains as anything else.

    In other words, you can do all the testing you want, discover and transmit all kinds of truths, and much more often than not the IQ junkies will manage to mangle, misinterpret and misapply the results.

    In a doofus society like ours it is quite easy to make the case that stupider is better, which is one reason schools are organized and administered as they are. George Carlin had it right.

    Start at 1:07... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dBZDSSky0


    Furthermore, more is not always better, and it ain't watcha got,but how ya use it.
    , @Dan Hayes
    James Thompson:

    Linda Gottfredson is a real gutsy lady. She was instrumental in ending the University of Delaware's Residence in Life program, which sought to indoctrinate every student in its dorms with a heavily politicized definition of "sustainability".

    I believe that there was at least one other instance where the University of Delaware administration tried to bring her to heel, but Gottfredson successfully counteratacked and made them abjectly surrender (with a monetary sweetener - poetic justice).
  20. @James Thompson
    Explanations about the importance of intelligence for everyday life have been described in detail by Linda Gottfredson:

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/st-petersburg-calling-gottfredson-bell

    Thanks for the response but I’m not complaining about whether intelligence is important or not.

    I do believe that the concept of IQ is poorly named and that I doubt it actually proves what the vast majority of people think it proves. This is evident in a lot of the comments on these articles by those who obviously pride and preen themselves over their vaunted “IQs.”

    As you probably know, any tool can be used for good or ill, and this tool is one that is as easily abused by the usual lamebrains as anything else.

    In other words, you can do all the testing you want, discover and transmit all kinds of truths, and much more often than not the IQ junkies will manage to mangle, misinterpret and misapply the results.

    In a doofus society like ours it is quite easy to make the case that stupider is better, which is one reason schools are organized and administered as they are. George Carlin had it right.

    Start at 1:07… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dBZDSSky0

    Furthermore, more is not always better, and it ain’t watcha got,but how ya use it.

    Read More
    • LOL: The Z Blog
    • Replies: @Bill B.
    Great stuff. I am sure the Princeton science faculty will take the same view of my feeble IQ proxy test results. I'm also sure the US military will waive the IQ test when I sign up.

    The Bell Curve made the very clear and rather poignant point that in a ruthless, G-loaded world, the global elite, unshackled from social responsibilities (though throwing smoke to disguise this) will break the historical compact between the clever and the good and loyal of all abilities within self-identifying communities.

    You presumably cackle at the lazy losers that "it ain’t watcha got, but how ya use it".

    The IQ issue was thrust on people like me - who years ago thought it impolite and unnecessary - by progressives who insist that all peoples have the same innate abilities and that social justice requires equal outcomes. Clearly the agenda is destructive and ultimately aimed at destroying the West.

    Africa clearly needs to encourage its "scrabble players" to be fecund, to deploy some noblesse oblige and not flee at the first opportunity.

    By the way I am suspicious that scrabble is a good proxy for the G factor given Thailand's good performances. Thai scrabble players, as I understand it, generally speak rudimentary English but merely remember a lot of words, including certain 'banker' words.

  21. @Santoculto
    He's talking about professional and elite levels.

    He’s talking about professional and elite levels.

    And? You don’t need store-bought chess sets to practice chess. As I said above, you can make your own, quite easily.

    And are scrabble sets cheaper than chess sets?

    Read More
    • Replies: @res

    And are scrabble sets cheaper than chess sets?
     
    This is a good question. A quick look shows them being comparable, except for there being more of a boutique market for fancy chess sets. And even if they are, your original point about easier to build a usable chess substitute still applies (many more and more complex letter tiles than pieces and a finer and more complex/detailed grid).
    , @keypusher
    To develop as a chessplayer, you need strong opposition. If you're really good, training is also useful. The Soviet Union used to produce many more good chessplayers than the United States. I don't think it's because the Soviet mean IQ was a standard deviation higher than the American mean IQ.

    Today computers can provide grandmaster-strength opposition to anyone, and the internet provides as many human 0pponents as you have time for.

    But if you haven't got a computer or an internet link, well....
  22. @syonredux

    He’s talking about professional and elite levels.
     
    And? You don't need store-bought chess sets to practice chess. As I said above, you can make your own, quite easily.

    And are scrabble sets cheaper than chess sets?

    And are scrabble sets cheaper than chess sets?

    This is a good question. A quick look shows them being comparable, except for there being more of a boutique market for fancy chess sets. And even if they are, your original point about easier to build a usable chess substitute still applies (many more and more complex letter tiles than pieces and a finer and more complex/detailed grid).

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    This is a good question. A quick look shows them being comparable, except for there being more of a boutique market for fancy chess sets. And even if they are, your original point about easier to build a usable chess substitute still applies (many more and more complex letter tiles than pieces and a finer and more complex/detailed grid).
     
    Not only that, you also need a dictionary for scrabble (for verifying word validity and correct spelling).
  23. @jacques sheete
    Oh, gawd, not another "IQ" article on UR. Good grief, what's the preoccupation with "IQ" all about?

    It makes about as much sense as a bunch of E. coli sitting on a dung heap discussing whether serotype # O157:H7 is superior to #O104:H4 and who’s better at producing the best Shiga toxin.

    By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics.

    PS: Even I, with the IQ of an ice cube, can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test.

    There are a whole bunch of well paid bean counters in Silicon Valley, and all through out the system. Apple polishers who did what they were told with a smile! or they didn’t get the grades.

    I know that much about not getting the grades anyways.

    So nowadays, where there is approaching a real… um, watershed between the well paid bean counters in their white lab coats and penguin suits taking orders from a bunch a golfing jet setters,verses the a vast growing sea of newly minted Lumpen, used to be proletarians.

    They need to affirm and reflect and reaffirm ad nauseam, any and all ref positive to the concept of (Nature over Nurture) or, the innate goodness of high Intelligence Quotient because it is the ticket to ride.

    Read More
  24. @James Thompson
    Explanations about the importance of intelligence for everyday life have been described in detail by Linda Gottfredson:

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/st-petersburg-calling-gottfredson-bell

    James Thompson:

    Linda Gottfredson is a real gutsy lady. She was instrumental in ending the University of Delaware’s Residence in Life program, which sought to indoctrinate every student in its dorms with a heavily politicized definition of “sustainability”.

    I believe that there was at least one other instance where the University of Delaware administration tried to bring her to heel, but Gottfredson successfully counteratacked and made them abjectly surrender (with a monetary sweetener – poetic justice).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    As an addenda attesting to Gottfredson's intellectual fortitude vide "The Shadow University" by Alan Kors and H Silvergate.
    , @RaceRealist88
    Interesting. I love Gottfredson. I read reviews about her on Rate My Professor and people said she talks about herself too much, doesn't like when people disagree and tells her students to read papers she authored.

    I'd love that class.

    You have any more information on that?
  25. @Dan Hayes
    James Thompson:

    Linda Gottfredson is a real gutsy lady. She was instrumental in ending the University of Delaware's Residence in Life program, which sought to indoctrinate every student in its dorms with a heavily politicized definition of "sustainability".

    I believe that there was at least one other instance where the University of Delaware administration tried to bring her to heel, but Gottfredson successfully counteratacked and made them abjectly surrender (with a monetary sweetener - poetic justice).

    As an addenda attesting to Gottfredson’s intellectual fortitude vide “The Shadow University” by Alan Kors and H Silvergate.

    Read More
  26. Starting with Scrabble, the World Championship History 1991-2016 produces the following country totals: United States 7, England 6, Canada 5, Thailand 5, New Zealand 4, Australia 1, Malaysia 1, Nigeria 1.

    Source? The time 1991-2016 is 26 competition years, yet the total for the countries above adds up to 30. Are these individual or team championships?

    I believe there is more than one world-level English-language Scrabble championship, although I could very well be mistaken.

    Read More
  27. @Anatoly Karlin
    Here is a map of chess grandmasters per capita:

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/world-chess-grandmasters-2016.png

    With the downwards exception of East Asia (where they play go and xiangqi instead), and the upwards tilt of Eastern Europe (due to state support for the game under Communism), it might as well be one of those global IQ maps. There are a grand total of three Black grandmasters throughout history: Maurice Ashley (a Jamaican immigrant to US), Pontus Carlsson (an African adopted by a Swedish family at the age of one), and Amon Simutoue (the only African African, a Zambian).

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.

    Kenny Solomon is the world’s fourth black chess grandmaster and the first of any race from South Africa.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks, I did think there were four, but my brief web search only showed the three I cited, so I thought I had misremembered.

    Incidentally, its worth pointing out that all four African GMs are around the 2400-2500 Elo level - that is, just marginally above the 2400 level typically considered as a rough reference point for being a considered a grandmaster (Kenny Solomon is actually currently below that level). The world's best players are in the 2800s. The peak Elo rating of the top Black, Maurice Ashley, was 2579; the peak rating ever achieved was 2882, by Magnus Carlsen. In both cases, this translates to an effective performance difference of slightly larger than one S.D. between the top African vs. top world (white) player.
  28. @res

    And are scrabble sets cheaper than chess sets?
     
    This is a good question. A quick look shows them being comparable, except for there being more of a boutique market for fancy chess sets. And even if they are, your original point about easier to build a usable chess substitute still applies (many more and more complex letter tiles than pieces and a finer and more complex/detailed grid).

    This is a good question. A quick look shows them being comparable, except for there being more of a boutique market for fancy chess sets. And even if they are, your original point about easier to build a usable chess substitute still applies (many more and more complex letter tiles than pieces and a finer and more complex/detailed grid).

    Not only that, you also need a dictionary for scrabble (for verifying word validity and correct spelling).

    Read More
  29. I have read that the Igbo tribe in Nigeria produces more intelligent individuals than most African tribes and that they are sometimes called “the Jews of Africa” because of their intelligence. I wonder how many of the very good scrabble players described in the article are from the Igbo tribe.

    Read More
  30. @jacques sheete
    Oh, gawd, not another "IQ" article on UR. Good grief, what's the preoccupation with "IQ" all about?

    It makes about as much sense as a bunch of E. coli sitting on a dung heap discussing whether serotype # O157:H7 is superior to #O104:H4 and who’s better at producing the best Shiga toxin.

    By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics.

    PS: Even I, with the IQ of an ice cube, can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test.

    There’s going to be lots more articles on IQ here. That’s Dr. Thompson’s specialty, virtually all of his articles are on that topic. From past threads on Unz your incorrect opinions seem impervious to evidence and your arguments — no, assertions — remain the same no matter how many times they are refuted.

    A measure of intelligence is a measure of the difficulty of problems one can solve. g is the unique factor that explains the greatest portion of variations in performance on all different sorts of cognitive tests, that is, it explains more of the correlation between scores on different tests than any other single factor. This gives a single scale of difficulty for all different types of questions which has the most generalizability, giving the best possible prediction of performance on other tasks that is possible with a single number. If you use two or three numbers (e.g. verbal, mathematical, spatial ) you can get a bit better prediction of performance on more specific sorts of tasks, but the vectors of the multiple measures will all correlate very highly with g and g alone will give you most of the information you would get from using any number of different multiple intelligence scales.

    IQ is not intelligence itself. It isn’t even really a measure of intelligence, but of the estimated rarity of a particular level of general intelligence in the US or UK population of the same age as the test-taker, assuming a normal distribution of scores. (There are direct, absolute measures of intelligence called “Rasch measures” which do not depend on age or assumptions of a particular distribution. It is empirically possible to convert IQ at a given age to such measures.) IQ is not all that reliable for a single test of a single person, in particular it is much easier to get a score that is inaccurately low than inaccurately high) but given a long history of repeated tests with similar scores, the accuracy of measurement of mental ability becomes quite respectable, certainly better than anyone’s subjective impressions of ability, better than school transcripts, better than resumes. When large numbers of students of a common group take the same test the results are far more accurate and reliable than any single test with a single person. While an individual low IQ score could well have been an off day, the scores of millions of people over years are a very robust measurement of the group’s intelligence which in practice predicts their performance on mental tasks relative to other groups better than any other single factor. That is not to say that individual scores aren’t predictive — they predict job performance better than just about anything else, far better than education, experience, personality, age, unstructured (normal) interviews or references, even better than any combination of these. Structured interviews, which are effectively individually administered oral standardized tests are the only thing as good as IQ alone in predicting job performance. (Work sample is also about as good, but amounts to saying a test of job performance itself predicts later job performance only a little better than IQ alone, and not as well as IQ + conscientiousness/integrity score, which is pretty remarkable. Google Schmidt & Hunter’s pioneering meta-analysis: “The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings”)

    Not using tests of mental ability for admissions and hiring costs untold amounts in lost performance. Just to start with, the inflation in college costs over CPI is due to education being mandated as the only acceptable proxy for intelligence in hiring. None of the top schools actually make their students any smarter, their actual teaching quality is no better than many community colleges, the elite schools’ reputations are based on the intelligence of the students they admit. (Or rather: “used to admit”, today’s admission tests are much less reliable at the top end than they used to be.) That alone has cost trillions. Having less intelligent people making decisions in businesses and government instead of more intelligent people has likely had an opportunity cost of tens or hundreds of trillions of dollars over the years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    From past threads on Unz your incorrect opinions seem impervious to evidence and your arguments — no, assertions — remain the same no matter how many times they are refuted.
     
    I’m glad that you have sufficient intelligence to notice that I have been making assertions, not arguments. However, you may want to turn the rheostat in your ‘thinker’ up a bit so you're able to perceive that none of my assertions has ever been reasonably refuted.

    In fact, you are making the same assertions that I consistently do. To wit.:


    IQ is not intelligence itself. It isn’t even really a measure of intelligence
     

    Not using tests of mental ability for admissions and hiring costs untold amounts in lost performance.
     
    As I said, they seem more useful as aptitude tests, so thanks for confirming another claim I've often made.

    Once again, as I stated above, I see little point in yammering about these things where the “public” has access because the masses will invariably get it all wrong (vide supra).


    Bottom line is that somewhere around 99% of what Homo sappyens does is pure, unadulterated bull droppings, and this IQ stuff is no exception to that rule. You can worship Sterquilinus if you want, but count me out.

  31. @res

    I presume it is less challenging than chess, which is in turn less challenging than Go.

     

    I think that is an interesting question. My initial reaction is that one funny thing is I think the rules of each game are in the opposite order of complexity.

    Second reaction is that I think you are dead on with respect to how computer AIs perform in these games. A surprisingly informative cartoon related to this topic (though a little outdated given recent advances in Go AI): https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1002:_Game_AIs

    Third reaction is the games are very different. Both in terms of verbal vs. math/spatial focus and in the role of memorization. I would expect there would be some difference in which people excel at which games. I play both recreationally fairly well (more chess than Scrabble), but have never really played either competitively and don't have delusions about excellence. What strikes me about Scrabble is how important vocabulary and the memorization of useful (e.g. uncommon short) words is. Chess (and Go, I think, but much less experience and knowledge there) has memorization of openings, but I don't think that is quite as critical. Worth mentioning that computers excel at memorization.

    Final reaction is I basically agree with you, but think Scrabble is a very different game. I suspect populations that are biased towards verbal IQ rather than math or spatial IQ would do better at Scrabble and that might help explain the African success. My experience has been that a similar phenomenon exists for men/women in chess/scrabble, but my experience is limited.

    Here is a Quora take on Scrabble vs. chess: https://www.quora.com/Scrabble-vs-chess-which-is-more-difficult-to-master

    P.S. One nit, his first name is Chanda. Thanks for covering this topic!

    I suspect populations that are biased towards verbal IQ rather than math or spatial IQ would do better at Scrabble and that might help explain the African success. My experience has been that a similar phenomenon exists for men/women in chess/scrabble, but my experience is limited.

    No, Scrabble is geared for those who do well in math. Chanda Chisala dealt with this in his column.

    The Spanish World Scrabble Championship is dominated by three countries, Spain, Argentina, and Venezuela. The 2004 World runner-up is an American named Hector Klie, apparently a Venezuelan immigrant. He has a PhD from Rice University in Computational Science and Engineering. LINK

    I’m confused about your experience. Women do better in verbal than men. According to your theory that would make women better at Scrabble, but obviously that is not the case or are you talking about competitions at the local community center?

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    • Replies: @res

    No, Scrabble is geared for those who do well in math. Chanda Chisala dealt with this in his column.
     
    Even relative to chess? Can you point me to where Chisala deals with that? I vaguely remember him referencing an article talking about spatial skills being important in Scrabble, but I do not recall any chess comparison.

    I’m confused about your experience. Women do better in verbal than men. According to your theory that would make women better at Scrabble, but obviously that is not the case or are you talking about competitions at the local community center?
     
    Again, relative to chess.
    This says 1% of chess grandmasters are women and there has never been a female world champion: http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/12/23/why-are-there-so-few-female-chess-grandmasters/
    This says typically 45/50 of top Scrabble players are men (i.e. 10% women): http://feministing.com/2005/05/31/scrabble_study_reveals_women_a/

    To be clear, I am not saying math is unimportant in Scrabble and verbal is all. I am saying that verbal is more important in Scrabble than it is in chess. Do you disagree with that assertion?
  32. @Santoculto
    He's talking about professional and elite levels.

    Chess sets are more expensive than scrabble?

    I don’t know shit from shinola, but I call B.S. on this.

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  33. @syonredux

    He’s talking about professional and elite levels.
     
    And? You don't need store-bought chess sets to practice chess. As I said above, you can make your own, quite easily.

    And are scrabble sets cheaper than chess sets?

    To develop as a chessplayer, you need strong opposition. If you’re really good, training is also useful. The Soviet Union used to produce many more good chessplayers than the United States. I don’t think it’s because the Soviet mean IQ was a standard deviation higher than the American mean IQ.

    Today computers can provide grandmaster-strength opposition to anyone, and the internet provides as many human 0pponents as you have time for.

    But if you haven’t got a computer or an internet link, well….

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    To develop as a chessplayer, you need strong opposition. If you’re really good, training is also useful. The Soviet Union used to produce many more good chessplayers than the United States. I don’t think it’s because the Soviet mean IQ was a standard deviation higher than the American mean IQ.
     
    Yes, I know. The fabled Soviet Chess Machine

    Today computers can provide grandmaster-strength opposition to anyone, and the internet provides as many human 0pponents as you have time for.

    But if you haven’t got a computer or an internet link, well….
     
    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)....

    And, of course, many Blacks live in Western countries, where internet access is readily available....
  34. @jacques sheete
    Oh, gawd, not another "IQ" article on UR. Good grief, what's the preoccupation with "IQ" all about?

    It makes about as much sense as a bunch of E. coli sitting on a dung heap discussing whether serotype # O157:H7 is superior to #O104:H4 and who’s better at producing the best Shiga toxin.

    By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics.

    PS: Even I, with the IQ of an ice cube, can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test.

    Thanks:

    “By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics.”

    “can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test.”

    My views entirely.

    We are better off paying attention to the – attempted Coup-within-the-Coup, (the actual Coup D’etat was initiated in a hail of bullets), on November 22, 1963. Nothing has been the same since. Efforts to reverse the recent 2016, phony -Hollywood-Unconstitutional- circus election results, display the continual decline of American political culture.

    The Only Road: Restore Our Republic!

    Durruti

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    We are better off paying attention to...
     
    My thoughts exactly.

    While the usual suspects are scurrying about trying to prove how superior they and their race are, there are plenty of other things to keep our eyes on.

    The old question, "Cui bono?" applies in spades here.
  35. @TelfoedJohn
    There's an interesting interview with the Black Swedish GM Pontus Carlson here:
    http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2016/12/31/carlsson-reflects-on-swedens-racial-climate/

    Like the Polgar sisters he was trained from an early age in chess by an expert father. The Polgar's father wanted to prove that "geniuses are made, not born". This theory was undermined by the fact that he was a chess expert. Carlsson's case gives the theory more validity. (Incidentally, like Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen he is very into football)

    I can’t prove this, but I strongly suspect that only a fraction of the people who could be really good chessplayers ever try the game, or put in the sort of effort into it that is necessary to get anywhere. I think this was true even in the old USSR. The fact that Laszlo Polgar was able to turn his three daughters into three of the best female chessplayers of all time, and that Pontus became a grandmaster, provides support for my opinion (in my opinion).

    If only a fraction of those who could become strong chessplayers ever get the chance, and the size of that fraction varies enormously by country, I don’t see how comparing the number of grandmasters/masters/experts per capita can provide useful data re national IQs.

    This theory was undermined by the fact that [Laszlo] was a chess expert.

    No, it’s undermined because he and his wife Klara were ridiculously bright and hard-working themselves. It would have been surprising if his daughters hadn’t been really good at something.

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  36. @keypusher
    To develop as a chessplayer, you need strong opposition. If you're really good, training is also useful. The Soviet Union used to produce many more good chessplayers than the United States. I don't think it's because the Soviet mean IQ was a standard deviation higher than the American mean IQ.

    Today computers can provide grandmaster-strength opposition to anyone, and the internet provides as many human 0pponents as you have time for.

    But if you haven't got a computer or an internet link, well....

    To develop as a chessplayer, you need strong opposition. If you’re really good, training is also useful. The Soviet Union used to produce many more good chessplayers than the United States. I don’t think it’s because the Soviet mean IQ was a standard deviation higher than the American mean IQ.

    Yes, I know. The fabled Soviet Chess Machine

    Today computers can provide grandmaster-strength opposition to anyone, and the internet provides as many human 0pponents as you have time for.

    But if you haven’t got a computer or an internet link, well….

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

    And, of course, many Blacks live in Western countries, where internet access is readily available….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

     

    You must not be a chessplayer. This (ridiculous opening study depth) is probably the biggest problem with chess today.
    , @keypusher
    The fabled Soviet Chess Machine

    I hope your use of the word "fabled" isn't intended to cast doubt on the machine's existence. Top 10 in the fall of 1972, when Bobby Fischer won the world title: 1 American, 1 Hungarian, and 8 Soviets. Do you think 80% of the geniuses in the world resided in the USSR at that time?

    http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/SingleMonth.asp?Params=199510SSSSS3S038178197210151000000000000010100

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

    Most certainly. And these great players sprang from a chessplaying family (Morphy) a strong chess culture (Capablanca -- Cuba was the site of several world championship matches and strong tournaments in his time), or culture plus infrastructure (Spassky, ditto Fischer and just about every other great player before the internet age). And as chess developed, the need for study and training became greater (as Anon points out). Capablanca and Fischer were both incredible natural talents, but Fischer worked much harder than Capablanca, because he had to. The Soviets put a big effort into developing chess in India, which produced Vishy Anand, Carlsen's predecessor as world champion.

    And, of course, many Blacks live in Western countries, where internet access is readily available….

    I'm not asserting anything about relative black and white mean IQs. I'm asserting that using chess as a proxy for national IQ is no more valid than using Scrabble. I suspect (though I don't know enough about Scrabble to be sure) that it is less valid.

  37. @TelfoedJohn
    There's an interesting interview with the Black Swedish GM Pontus Carlson here:
    http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2016/12/31/carlsson-reflects-on-swedens-racial-climate/

    Like the Polgar sisters he was trained from an early age in chess by an expert father. The Polgar's father wanted to prove that "geniuses are made, not born". This theory was undermined by the fact that he was a chess expert. Carlsson's case gives the theory more validity. (Incidentally, like Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen he is very into football)

    I agree. My problem with Polgar’s “geniuses are made, not born” is that they are Ashkenazi Jews, a group that does extremely well in chess. However, Polgar did prove that a female grandmaster could be made. Richard Williams did similar with Venus and Serena in tennis, a sport with few black champions.

    Pontus Carlsson is proud to be Colombian and not Swedish because he didn’t grow up in Colombia. Believe me all the complaints he has about Sweden apply to Colombia and more.

    The Law of Jante is a (Nordic) term that discourages individuals from achieving and standing out from the group. Ironic given that some would like to use Noble prizes in science to determine if an individual or group is more intelligent than another.

    Pontus Carlsson’s views on chess and intelligence: Chess is also a sport where you work with your brain and become more intelligent. You get a better memory since you train it all the time, improve your calculation, concentration and your strategic ability, which is very useful both in school and in business.For children it is always a good idea to start with chess since they get better in school and especially in math.

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  38. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @syonredux

    To develop as a chessplayer, you need strong opposition. If you’re really good, training is also useful. The Soviet Union used to produce many more good chessplayers than the United States. I don’t think it’s because the Soviet mean IQ was a standard deviation higher than the American mean IQ.
     
    Yes, I know. The fabled Soviet Chess Machine

    Today computers can provide grandmaster-strength opposition to anyone, and the internet provides as many human 0pponents as you have time for.

    But if you haven’t got a computer or an internet link, well….
     
    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)....

    And, of course, many Blacks live in Western countries, where internet access is readily available....

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

    You must not be a chessplayer. This (ridiculous opening study depth) is probably the biggest problem with chess today.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

    You must not be a chessplayer. This (ridiculous opening study depth) is probably the biggest problem with chess today.
     
    You mean memorized opening strategies, the bane of modern chess? Sure, but one can also recognize raw ability.....
  39. @James Thompson
    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art. Others are based on actual competitions: Go, chess, Scrabble, Turing and AI competitons. For example, Alpha Go is an intellectual achievement. All of those things are actual real-life measures of achievement.
    On the other hand, tests of ability and scholastic aptitude must be considered as variables to be tested for their ability to predict real-life achievement.
    Chisala argues that African achievement in intellectual competitions is far better than would be expected from test results. My impression is that the achievements are within the predicted range. Hope this is clearer.

    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art.

    RE: Fields Medals,

    Africa is noticeable only by its absence (and Latin America, with a grand total of one, is only slightly better)

    [MORE]

    United States 12

    France 10

    Soviet Union (3) / Russia (6) 9

    United Kingdom 7

    Japan 3
    Belgium 2

    West Germany (1) / Germany (0) 1

    Australia 1

    British Hong Kong 1

    Finland 1

    Israel 1

    Italy 1

    Norway 1

    New Zealand 1

    Sweden 1

    Vietnam 1

    Iran 1

    Brazil 1

    (None Stateless) 1

    I’ve left out Manjul Bhargava. His background is complicated.

    And here’s a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers produced:

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/zones-of-thought/

    Africa and Latin America are dwarfed by Japan.

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    • Replies: @utu
    "And here’s a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers "

    Scientific papers production is well correlated with toilet paper usage.
  40. @Anatoly Karlin
    Here is a map of chess grandmasters per capita:

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/world-chess-grandmasters-2016.png

    With the downwards exception of East Asia (where they play go and xiangqi instead), and the upwards tilt of Eastern Europe (due to state support for the game under Communism), it might as well be one of those global IQ maps. There are a grand total of three Black grandmasters throughout history: Maurice Ashley (a Jamaican immigrant to US), Pontus Carlsson (an African adopted by a Swedish family at the age of one), and Amon Simutoue (the only African African, a Zambian).

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.

    “I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.”

    He gave other reasons also:

    “The simple reason seems to be that, unlike Scrabble and Checkers, master level chess requires access to a very large body of ever-growing literature in chess theory (even ignoring the difficulty of making homemade chess pieces); it’s no longer possible to teach yourself grand master level chess, without memorizing these long chess openings. Africans do not have this access to chess materials (which now includes computer programs) for the same reason that they have no access to mathematics text books and other educational materials in schools…Chess has become more resource-demanding than any school subject.

    Fischer himself decried the increasingly heavy reliance of top-level chess on familiarity with professionally analyzed theoretical opening lines that the Soviet chess machine engendered (Fischer had to learn Russian just to keep up with the countless Russian opening analyses)…”

    http://www.unz.com/article/scrabble-spells-doom-for-the-racial-hypothesis-of-intelligence/

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, he did give many reasons indeed, that particular one stuck with me because of its exceptional stupidity.

    Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import. There are huge openings databases on sites like Chess Tempo. The information content there is probably an order of magnitude larger than in the entirety of the Soviet chess literature. You can play online, or download a free chess engine like Stockfish that is about 2 S.D. better than the top grandmaster. Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format. Lots of the software is free, and much of what isn't, can be pirated (which of course can be done completely without risk in Africa).

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access - Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.
  41. @Anon

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

     

    You must not be a chessplayer. This (ridiculous opening study depth) is probably the biggest problem with chess today.

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

    You must not be a chessplayer. This (ridiculous opening study depth) is probably the biggest problem with chess today.

    You mean memorized opening strategies, the bane of modern chess? Sure, but one can also recognize raw ability…..

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  42. The best in various games:

    Chess: Magnus Carlsen
    American-style crosswords: Dan Feyer
    English-style cryptic crosswords: Mark Goodliffe
    English scrabble: Nigel Richards
    Jeopardy: Ken Jennings or Brad Rutter

    When it comes to IQ White people still have a lot left in the tank. Dan Feyer and other jews’ dominance in American-style crosswords would appear to suggest a definite edge in raw verbal processing speed, but other disciplines are more competitive to say the least. Jewish domination of chess seems like old news honestly: you have to go to 9th place on FIDE to find the half-jewish Aronian and to 28th place to find an Israeli.

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  43. @Jm8
    "I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess."

    He gave other reasons also:

    "The simple reason seems to be that, unlike Scrabble and Checkers, master level chess requires access to a very large body of ever-growing literature in chess theory (even ignoring the difficulty of making homemade chess pieces); it’s no longer possible to teach yourself grand master level chess, without memorizing these long chess openings. Africans do not have this access to chess materials (which now includes computer programs) for the same reason that they have no access to mathematics text books and other educational materials in schools...Chess has become more resource-demanding than any school subject.

    Fischer himself decried the increasingly heavy reliance of top-level chess on familiarity with professionally analyzed theoretical opening lines that the Soviet chess machine engendered (Fischer had to learn Russian just to keep up with the countless Russian opening analyses)..."


    http://www.unz.com/article/scrabble-spells-doom-for-the-racial-hypothesis-of-intelligence/

    Yes, he did give many reasons indeed, that particular one stuck with me because of its exceptional stupidity.

    Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import. There are huge openings databases on sites like Chess Tempo. The information content there is probably an order of magnitude larger than in the entirety of the Soviet chess literature. You can play online, or download a free chess engine like Stockfish that is about 2 S.D. better than the top grandmaster. Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format. Lots of the software is free, and much of what isn’t, can be pirated (which of course can be done completely without risk in Africa).

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access – Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access – Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.
     
    Access to literacy (and other building blocks) wasn't universal among Jewish cognitive elites, which is why their contributions to science and other fields came into their own mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Political dominance determines relative wealth, and therefore access to these building blocks. Political dominance and IQ are different things, as the survivors among the Igbos - who died in the millions during the Biafran insurrection of the late 60's- will tell you.
    , @Jm8
    "Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import."

    "Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format"

    It nevertheless seems that the knowledge/information required to play master-level chess is probably more speciallized—and requires a greater specific investment in time/effort for instance, quite impractical likely for all but the more elite—(learning the content of the aforementioned ever growing literature on chess theory; of theoretical opening lines, "memorizing long openings", etc) than in the case of scrabble where vocabulary may (more easily) be acquired during the course of one's life and there is not such a large body of literature/theory to absorb and engage with.

    , @keypusher
    Computers and the internet have definitely changed the competitive landscape in chess and given more resources to the isolated player. It's hard to imagine a Norwegian world champion without computers.

    But it's my sense that physical "infrastructure" -- a network of clubs and trainers -- still makes a huge difference. India and China have really come up in the league tables in chess in the past few generations, but they've also made a big effort to develop strong players. Wesley So from the Philippines, now in the top 3, seems like a good example of a computer-nourished player, but chess in the Philippines received a huge boost from Fischer, then it hosted the 1978 world championship, and the world chess federation was run by a Filipino for decades.

    Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format.

    Bit of a side issue, but most of the classic literature on chess is crap, at least when you try to get beyond the basics of strategy and endgame technique. Generally speaking, pre-engine "classics" contain serious errors in calculation on almost every page, as the computers ruthlessly reveal. I'm looking at Paul Keres' book on the 1948 championship now. He was a gifted and conscientious annotator, but even he can't help but make error after error. You're much better off working with an engine and a trainer than a book. Even if an African has the engine, he's likely to lack the trainer.

  44. @EH
    There's going to be lots more articles on IQ here. That's Dr. Thompson's specialty, virtually all of his articles are on that topic. From past threads on Unz your incorrect opinions seem impervious to evidence and your arguments -- no, assertions -- remain the same no matter how many times they are refuted.

    A measure of intelligence is a measure of the difficulty of problems one can solve. g is the unique factor that explains the greatest portion of variations in performance on all different sorts of cognitive tests, that is, it explains more of the correlation between scores on different tests than any other single factor. This gives a single scale of difficulty for all different types of questions which has the most generalizability, giving the best possible prediction of performance on other tasks that is possible with a single number. If you use two or three numbers (e.g. verbal, mathematical, spatial ) you can get a bit better prediction of performance on more specific sorts of tasks, but the vectors of the multiple measures will all correlate very highly with g and g alone will give you most of the information you would get from using any number of different multiple intelligence scales.

    IQ is not intelligence itself. It isn't even really a measure of intelligence, but of the estimated rarity of a particular level of general intelligence in the US or UK population of the same age as the test-taker, assuming a normal distribution of scores. (There are direct, absolute measures of intelligence called "Rasch measures" which do not depend on age or assumptions of a particular distribution. It is empirically possible to convert IQ at a given age to such measures.) IQ is not all that reliable for a single test of a single person, in particular it is much easier to get a score that is inaccurately low than inaccurately high) but given a long history of repeated tests with similar scores, the accuracy of measurement of mental ability becomes quite respectable, certainly better than anyone's subjective impressions of ability, better than school transcripts, better than resumes. When large numbers of students of a common group take the same test the results are far more accurate and reliable than any single test with a single person. While an individual low IQ score could well have been an off day, the scores of millions of people over years are a very robust measurement of the group's intelligence which in practice predicts their performance on mental tasks relative to other groups better than any other single factor. That is not to say that individual scores aren't predictive -- they predict job performance better than just about anything else, far better than education, experience, personality, age, unstructured (normal) interviews or references, even better than any combination of these. Structured interviews, which are effectively individually administered oral standardized tests are the only thing as good as IQ alone in predicting job performance. (Work sample is also about as good, but amounts to saying a test of job performance itself predicts later job performance only a little better than IQ alone, and not as well as IQ + conscientiousness/integrity score, which is pretty remarkable. Google Schmidt & Hunter's pioneering meta-analysis: "The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings")

    Not using tests of mental ability for admissions and hiring costs untold amounts in lost performance. Just to start with, the inflation in college costs over CPI is due to education being mandated as the only acceptable proxy for intelligence in hiring. None of the top schools actually make their students any smarter, their actual teaching quality is no better than many community colleges, the elite schools' reputations are based on the intelligence of the students they admit. (Or rather: "used to admit", today's admission tests are much less reliable at the top end than they used to be.) That alone has cost trillions. Having less intelligent people making decisions in businesses and government instead of more intelligent people has likely had an opportunity cost of tens or hundreds of trillions of dollars over the years.

    From past threads on Unz your incorrect opinions seem impervious to evidence and your arguments — no, assertions — remain the same no matter how many times they are refuted.

    I’m glad that you have sufficient intelligence to notice that I have been making assertions, not arguments. However, you may want to turn the rheostat in your ‘thinker’ up a bit so you’re able to perceive that none of my assertions has ever been reasonably refuted.

    In fact, you are making the same assertions that I consistently do. To wit.:

    IQ is not intelligence itself. It isn’t even really a measure of intelligence

    Not using tests of mental ability for admissions and hiring costs untold amounts in lost performance.

    As I said, they seem more useful as aptitude tests, so thanks for confirming another claim I’ve often made.

    Once again, as I stated above, I see little point in yammering about these things where the “public” has access because the masses will invariably get it all wrong (vide supra).

    Bottom line is that somewhere around 99% of what Homo sappyens does is pure, unadulterated bull droppings, and this IQ stuff is no exception to that rule. You can worship Sterquilinus if you want, but count me out.

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  45. @Durruti
    Thanks:

    "By all appearances the IQ issue is just another attempt to legitimize bigotry if not eugenics."

    "can see that just because someone decided to stick the appellation “Intelligence” onto what would be better labeled aptitude tests doesn’t mean they really test for anything beyond the ability to take a given test."

    My views entirely.

    We are better off paying attention to the - attempted Coup-within-the-Coup, (the actual Coup D'etat was initiated in a hail of bullets), on November 22, 1963. Nothing has been the same since. Efforts to reverse the recent 2016, phony -Hollywood-Unconstitutional- circus election results, display the continual decline of American political culture.

    The Only Road: Restore Our Republic!

    Durruti

    We are better off paying attention to…

    My thoughts exactly.

    While the usual suspects are scurrying about trying to prove how superior they and their race are, there are plenty of other things to keep our eyes on.

    The old question, “Cui bono?” applies in spades here.

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  46. @James Thompson
    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art. Others are based on actual competitions: Go, chess, Scrabble, Turing and AI competitons. For example, Alpha Go is an intellectual achievement. All of those things are actual real-life measures of achievement.
    On the other hand, tests of ability and scholastic aptitude must be considered as variables to be tested for their ability to predict real-life achievement.
    Chisala argues that African achievement in intellectual competitions is far better than would be expected from test results. My impression is that the achievements are within the predicted range. Hope this is clearer.

    ) A threshold of performance must be found that depends purely on cognitive ability.
    2) The threshold must be unequivocally defined.
    3) The rates at which the target group and the control group cross the threshold must be established.
    4) Opportunity must exist for both groups to cross the threshold. That is, the target group cannot be restricted by political considerations from fair competition.
    5) An overriding motive to cross the threshold must exist, being sufficiently strong that virtually all those capable of crossing the threshold do.

    You need to go back and read your own article. Those measures of group intelligence, Noble science prizes, Fields Medals, etc., are ridiculous. It is apparent that you have no knowledge of people outside of your cultural group, social or professional. Let’s see, signs of intelligence are things that you know white people are good at. How white of you.

    In the US, basketball and boxing used be “intelligent” sports until blacks started competing.

    I have never even heard of GO, but I would like to think that I am at least slightly above mentally retarded. I never even knew what a high school Advanced Placement course was until my first year of university. The British equivalent would be a British student at the University of Leeds who never heard of A-levels.

    Luck is what drives an individual and group’s perceived intelligence. Luck determines your family, socialization, schools attended, etc. The black physicist Clifford Johnson was born in London but grew up on the island of Montserrat. Before 1986, if you wanted a secondary education on the island you had to pass an exam, otherwise your formal education was over. Johnson failed the secondary school entrance exam. Later that year a Canadian charity came to Montserrat and tested everyone’s eyesight. Johnson got glasses and passed the secondary school entrance exam the next year. (Note that he didn’t go to school with underachievers.)

    Around that time Johnson’s father abandoned the family and went to London. With his father gone, Johnson’s older siblings had to drop out of school and work, but Johnson got to do sissy things like crochet and draw. He also learned to cook and play the guitar. There was no TV on the island. Since his father installed the original telephone equipment on the island, Johnson got to read his father’s old work manuals. When his mother decided to look for his father, the family moved back to London, just in time for Johnson to study for O-levels then A-levels. The only reason he didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge was because he did not meet the Greek or Latin admissions requirement that the two universities had at the time.

    http://www.idvl.org/sciencemakers/Bio39.html

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  47. @Triumph104

    I suspect populations that are biased towards verbal IQ rather than math or spatial IQ would do better at Scrabble and that might help explain the African success. My experience has been that a similar phenomenon exists for men/women in chess/scrabble, but my experience is limited.
     
    No, Scrabble is geared for those who do well in math. Chanda Chisala dealt with this in his column.

    The Spanish World Scrabble Championship is dominated by three countries, Spain, Argentina, and Venezuela. The 2004 World runner-up is an American named Hector Klie, apparently a Venezuelan immigrant. He has a PhD from Rice University in Computational Science and Engineering. LINK

    I'm confused about your experience. Women do better in verbal than men. According to your theory that would make women better at Scrabble, but obviously that is not the case or are you talking about competitions at the local community center?

    No, Scrabble is geared for those who do well in math. Chanda Chisala dealt with this in his column.

    Even relative to chess? Can you point me to where Chisala deals with that? I vaguely remember him referencing an article talking about spatial skills being important in Scrabble, but I do not recall any chess comparison.

    I’m confused about your experience. Women do better in verbal than men. According to your theory that would make women better at Scrabble, but obviously that is not the case or are you talking about competitions at the local community center?

    Again, relative to chess.
    This says 1% of chess grandmasters are women and there has never been a female world champion: http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/12/23/why-are-there-so-few-female-chess-grandmasters/
    This says typically 45/50 of top Scrabble players are men (i.e. 10% women): http://feministing.com/2005/05/31/scrabble_study_reveals_women_a/

    To be clear, I am not saying math is unimportant in Scrabble and verbal is all. I am saying that verbal is more important in Scrabble than it is in chess. Do you disagree with that assertion?

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  48. @syonredux

    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art.
     
    RE: Fields Medals,

    Africa is noticeable only by its absence (and Latin America, with a grand total of one, is only slightly better)

    United States 12

    France 10

    Soviet Union (3) / Russia (6) 9

    United Kingdom 7

    Japan 3
    Belgium 2

    West Germany (1) / Germany (0) 1

    Australia 1

    British Hong Kong 1

    Finland 1

    Israel 1

    Italy 1

    Norway 1

    New Zealand 1

    Sweden 1

    Vietnam 1

    Iran 1

    Brazil 1

    (None Stateless) 1

    I’ve left out Manjul Bhargava. His background is complicated.

    And here's a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers produced:


    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/zones-of-thought/

    Africa and Latin America are dwarfed by Japan.

    “And here’s a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers ”

    Scientific papers production is well correlated with toilet paper usage.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    “And here’s a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers ”

    Scientific papers production is well correlated with toilet paper usage.
     

    On the hand, Europe, and Anglo-America produce a lot more STEM-stuff than Latin America and Africa combined.....You know, things like Information Theory, Integrated Circuits, the transistor, Population Genetics, television, the jet engine,.......
  49. @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, he did give many reasons indeed, that particular one stuck with me because of its exceptional stupidity.

    Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import. There are huge openings databases on sites like Chess Tempo. The information content there is probably an order of magnitude larger than in the entirety of the Soviet chess literature. You can play online, or download a free chess engine like Stockfish that is about 2 S.D. better than the top grandmaster. Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format. Lots of the software is free, and much of what isn't, can be pirated (which of course can be done completely without risk in Africa).

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access - Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access – Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.

    Access to literacy (and other building blocks) wasn’t universal among Jewish cognitive elites, which is why their contributions to science and other fields came into their own mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Political dominance determines relative wealth, and therefore access to these building blocks. Political dominance and IQ are different things, as the survivors among the Igbos – who died in the millions during the Biafran insurrection of the late 60′s- will tell you.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    Access to literacy (and other building blocks) wasn’t universal among Jewish cognitive elites, which is why their contributions to science and other fields came into their own mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries.
     
    Ashkenazi underperformance in STEM prior to the 19th century chiefly has to do with the fact that traditional Ashkenazi culture didn't care about science. It was concerned with producing Talmudic scholars and businessmen, not physicists and mathematicians.
  50. @utu
    "And here’s a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers "

    Scientific papers production is well correlated with toilet paper usage.

    “And here’s a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers ”

    Scientific papers production is well correlated with toilet paper usage.

    On the hand, Europe, and Anglo-America produce a lot more STEM-stuff than Latin America and Africa combined…..You know, things like Information Theory, Integrated Circuits, the transistor, Population Genetics, television, the jet engine,…….

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    • Replies: @utu
    You did not get it. My point about the TP usage was that it is a good indicator of society development. Scientific papers (SP) are produced in developed societies. So SP and TP correlate.
  51. @Johann Ricke

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access – Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.
     
    Access to literacy (and other building blocks) wasn't universal among Jewish cognitive elites, which is why their contributions to science and other fields came into their own mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Political dominance determines relative wealth, and therefore access to these building blocks. Political dominance and IQ are different things, as the survivors among the Igbos - who died in the millions during the Biafran insurrection of the late 60's- will tell you.

    Access to literacy (and other building blocks) wasn’t universal among Jewish cognitive elites, which is why their contributions to science and other fields came into their own mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Ashkenazi underperformance in STEM prior to the 19th century chiefly has to do with the fact that traditional Ashkenazi culture didn’t care about science. It was concerned with producing Talmudic scholars and businessmen, not physicists and mathematicians.

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  52. Ashkenazi underperformance in STEM prior to the 19th century chiefly has to do with the fact that traditional Ashkenazi culture didn’t care about science. It was concerned with producing Talmudic scholars and businessmen, not physicists and mathematicians.

    That’s probably more of a sign that Jewish elites weren’t the cognitive elites. The kinds of people who make successful Talmudic scholars and businessmen are not necessarily those who make great leaps in math and the sciences. One of the Finnish commenters on this site once wrote:

    That is art and art is often at its height in tyrannical and radically fractured societies that have some cultural competition going on. Science isn’t. Even mathematics requires political stability and infrastructure because mathematicians are people, people need to eat and funding mathematicians is not a high priority for most societies. Art that pleases the tyrant on the other hand will get funded even if the peasants are starving.

    The big achievement of the West is not some magically higher number of geniuses, it’s the culture of cultivation of geniuses. Godfrey Hardy used to say that discovering Ramanujan was his biggest achievement in mathematics. If he hadn’t dragged the guy out of India no one would know about his work. Hardy himself used to say that he didn’t want to do any “useful”, applied work because it could be used for war.

    In England, these guys could get paid to work on their “useless” number theory which actually has found a lot of use and Hardy would probably be disappointed by how much of his innocent number theory is now used in cryptography and war. In just about any other society Ramanujan would have been dismissed as a freak and Hardy would have been considered useless. The culture that tolerates and supports an academic subculture that produces nothing that the rulers can even understand, that is a rare achievement.

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    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @syonredux

    That’s probably more of a sign that Jewish elites weren’t the cognitive elites. The kinds of people who make successful Talmudic scholars and businessmen are not necessarily those who make great leaps in math and the sciences.
     
    I would say that it's a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study.....

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.
  53. @syonredux

    “And here’s a map of the world scaled according to the number of scientific papers ”

    Scientific papers production is well correlated with toilet paper usage.
     

    On the hand, Europe, and Anglo-America produce a lot more STEM-stuff than Latin America and Africa combined.....You know, things like Information Theory, Integrated Circuits, the transistor, Population Genetics, television, the jet engine,.......

    You did not get it. My point about the TP usage was that it is a good indicator of society development. Scientific papers (SP) are produced in developed societies. So SP and TP correlate.

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  54. @Triumph104
    Kenny Solomon is the world's fourth black chess grandmaster and the first of any race from South Africa.

    Thanks, I did think there were four, but my brief web search only showed the three I cited, so I thought I had misremembered.

    Incidentally, its worth pointing out that all four African GMs are around the 2400-2500 Elo level – that is, just marginally above the 2400 level typically considered as a rough reference point for being a considered a grandmaster (Kenny Solomon is actually currently below that level). The world’s best players are in the 2800s. The peak Elo rating of the top Black, Maurice Ashley, was 2579; the peak rating ever achieved was 2882, by Magnus Carlsen. In both cases, this translates to an effective performance difference of slightly larger than one S.D. between the top African vs. top world (white) player.

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  55. I don’t want to denigrate Scrabble players, but I suspect that 130 IQ is too high a threshold to be an elite Scrabble player. Scrabble rewards intense memorization of a sizable word list. Combined with significant rewards for elite-level mastery, that could be achieved at the 115-120 range.

    “Me too” on those who pointed out that Scrabble rewards verbal intelligence over mathematical, and that stereotypes and anecdote give black people higher marks for verbal intelligence.

    (On the other hand, those same stereotypes and anecdotes give black people the very highest marks for high-level improvisational art styles–jazz, rap, basketball. The “they’d make good fighter pilots” theory.)

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    • Replies: @res

    I don’t want to denigrate Scrabble players, but I suspect that 130 IQ is too high a threshold to be an elite Scrabble player. Scrabble rewards intense memorization of a sizable word list. Combined with significant rewards for elite-level mastery, that could be achieved at the 115-120 range.
     
    I tend to agree with this. I think more IQ is better for Scrabble, but there are issues with prevalence of high IQ being accompanied by other important talents, and given those important talents (especially memory) an extremely high IQ is less important.

    I think there is a stronger Scrabble/IQ connection in recreational play since you encounter fewer truly rare talents like eidetic memory there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eidetic_memory#Prevalence
    and the correlation of IQ with (unpracticed) vocabulary helps.

    I think there is more research on IQ and chess so following up in that direction. This paper found some correlation between IQ and chess skill among young players. Among young elite players this correlation went away or even reversed (they explained this by noting an inverse practice IQ correlation): http://v-scheiner.brunel.ac.uk/bitstream/2438/642/1/Does%20Chess%20Need%20Intelligence-revision-finalINT.pdf

  56. @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, he did give many reasons indeed, that particular one stuck with me because of its exceptional stupidity.

    Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import. There are huge openings databases on sites like Chess Tempo. The information content there is probably an order of magnitude larger than in the entirety of the Soviet chess literature. You can play online, or download a free chess engine like Stockfish that is about 2 S.D. better than the top grandmaster. Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format. Lots of the software is free, and much of what isn't, can be pirated (which of course can be done completely without risk in Africa).

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access - Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.

    “Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import.”

    “Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format”

    It nevertheless seems that the knowledge/information required to play master-level chess is probably more speciallized—and requires a greater specific investment in time/effort for instance, quite impractical likely for all but the more elite—(learning the content of the aforementioned ever growing literature on chess theory; of theoretical opening lines, “memorizing long openings”, etc) than in the case of scrabble where vocabulary may (more easily) be acquired during the course of one’s life and there is not such a large body of literature/theory to absorb and engage with.

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    • Replies: @Jm8
    Edits:

    "...knowledge ...to play master-level chess is probably more speciallized (though strategy is important both in it and scrabble)—and requires a greater specific investment..."

    "..than in the case of scrabble where vocabulary may (more easily) be acquired during the course of one’s life (though of course study can and sometimes does aid this)..."

  57. @Jm8
    "Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import."

    "Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format"

    It nevertheless seems that the knowledge/information required to play master-level chess is probably more speciallized—and requires a greater specific investment in time/effort for instance, quite impractical likely for all but the more elite—(learning the content of the aforementioned ever growing literature on chess theory; of theoretical opening lines, "memorizing long openings", etc) than in the case of scrabble where vocabulary may (more easily) be acquired during the course of one's life and there is not such a large body of literature/theory to absorb and engage with.

    Edits:

    “…knowledge …to play master-level chess is probably more speciallized (though strategy is important both in it and scrabble)—and requires a greater specific investment…”

    “..than in the case of scrabble where vocabulary may (more easily) be acquired during the course of one’s life (though of course study can and sometimes does aid this)…”

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  58. @syonredux

    To develop as a chessplayer, you need strong opposition. If you’re really good, training is also useful. The Soviet Union used to produce many more good chessplayers than the United States. I don’t think it’s because the Soviet mean IQ was a standard deviation higher than the American mean IQ.
     
    Yes, I know. The fabled Soviet Chess Machine

    Today computers can provide grandmaster-strength opposition to anyone, and the internet provides as many human 0pponents as you have time for.

    But if you haven’t got a computer or an internet link, well….
     
    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)....

    And, of course, many Blacks live in Western countries, where internet access is readily available....

    The fabled Soviet Chess Machine

    I hope your use of the word “fabled” isn’t intended to cast doubt on the machine’s existence. Top 10 in the fall of 1972, when Bobby Fischer won the world title: 1 American, 1 Hungarian, and 8 Soviets. Do you think 80% of the geniuses in the world resided in the USSR at that time?

    http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/SingleMonth.asp?Params=199510SSSSS3S038178197210151000000000000010100

    And yet great players existed long before the internet era (Morphy, Capablanca, Spassky, etc)….

    Most certainly. And these great players sprang from a chessplaying family (Morphy) a strong chess culture (Capablanca — Cuba was the site of several world championship matches and strong tournaments in his time), or culture plus infrastructure (Spassky, ditto Fischer and just about every other great player before the internet age). And as chess developed, the need for study and training became greater (as Anon points out). Capablanca and Fischer were both incredible natural talents, but Fischer worked much harder than Capablanca, because he had to. The Soviets put a big effort into developing chess in India, which produced Vishy Anand, Carlsen’s predecessor as world champion.

    And, of course, many Blacks live in Western countries, where internet access is readily available….

    I’m not asserting anything about relative black and white mean IQs. I’m asserting that using chess as a proxy for national IQ is no more valid than using Scrabble. I suspect (though I don’t know enough about Scrabble to be sure) that it is less valid.

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  59. But scrabble that is correlated with verbal intelligence is not more g-loaded than chess??

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  60. @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, he did give many reasons indeed, that particular one stuck with me because of its exceptional stupidity.

    Anyhow, while these might have once been factors, they have ceased to be of any import. There are huge openings databases on sites like Chess Tempo. The information content there is probably an order of magnitude larger than in the entirety of the Soviet chess literature. You can play online, or download a free chess engine like Stockfish that is about 2 S.D. better than the top grandmaster. Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format. Lots of the software is free, and much of what isn't, can be pirated (which of course can be done completely without risk in Africa).

    And before you make the obvious rejoinder, the Africans do now have Internet access - Nigeria, S. Africa, and Kenya are at 50%, even Ethiopia is at above 10%. Amongst the cognitive elites there, it should be close to universal.

    Computers and the internet have definitely changed the competitive landscape in chess and given more resources to the isolated player. It’s hard to imagine a Norwegian world champion without computers.

    But it’s my sense that physical “infrastructure” — a network of clubs and trainers — still makes a huge difference. India and China have really come up in the league tables in chess in the past few generations, but they’ve also made a big effort to develop strong players. Wesley So from the Philippines, now in the top 3, seems like a good example of a computer-nourished player, but chess in the Philippines received a huge boost from Fischer, then it hosted the 1978 world championship, and the world chess federation was run by a Filipino for decades.

    Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format.

    Bit of a side issue, but most of the classic literature on chess is crap, at least when you try to get beyond the basics of strategy and endgame technique. Generally speaking, pre-engine “classics” contain serious errors in calculation on almost every page, as the computers ruthlessly reveal. I’m looking at Paul Keres’ book on the 1948 championship now. He was a gifted and conscientious annotator, but even he can’t help but make error after error. You’re much better off working with an engine and a trainer than a book. Even if an African has the engine, he’s likely to lack the trainer.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Fair enough, those are all very good points. I agree that trainers become pretty vital once you get into IM territory. However, I think getting that far without them is perfectly doable in the Internet era. Since even IM-quality African players are such a rarity, I don't imagine they'd have much difficulty finding international sponsorship (that is precisely what happened with Amon Simutowe, anyway!).

    Incidentally, are you familiar with the work of Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko on trying to objectively assess world champion player strength from Steinitz onwards? According to their analysis, the strongest players (as tallied against "optimal moves" given by chess engines) were the giants of the late 20th century - Kramnik, Karpov, Kasparov, Spassky, etc (Fischer was surprisingly middling). So that would bear out your points on the poor state of the classic chess literature. However, the guy who took first place was a total surprise: Capablance!

    I don't know if they've done any follow up studies assessing whether the game quality of the engine-trained generation (Carlsen, So, Caruana, Karjakin, etc.) has definitely surpassed that of the last book & club generation.
  61. @James Thompson
    Any discussion about whether one person (or one group) is more intelligent than another depends on intellectual competition of one sort or another. Nobel prizes in science, Fields Medals, patents, innovations in technology, implementations of new manufacturing techniques, companies with new products are some examples. Others are scientific publications, publications generally, computer programs, apps, books, films, music and art. Others are based on actual competitions: Go, chess, Scrabble, Turing and AI competitons. For example, Alpha Go is an intellectual achievement. All of those things are actual real-life measures of achievement.
    On the other hand, tests of ability and scholastic aptitude must be considered as variables to be tested for their ability to predict real-life achievement.
    Chisala argues that African achievement in intellectual competitions is far better than would be expected from test results. My impression is that the achievements are within the predicted range. Hope this is clearer.

    Your age Don’t give for you wisdom is not sir??

    Intelligence is not just that bigger achievements but i don’t want explain again what I already told you and others here. waste of time.

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  62. @Discordiax
    I don't want to denigrate Scrabble players, but I suspect that 130 IQ is too high a threshold to be an elite Scrabble player. Scrabble rewards intense memorization of a sizable word list. Combined with significant rewards for elite-level mastery, that could be achieved at the 115-120 range.

    "Me too" on those who pointed out that Scrabble rewards verbal intelligence over mathematical, and that stereotypes and anecdote give black people higher marks for verbal intelligence.

    (On the other hand, those same stereotypes and anecdotes give black people the very highest marks for high-level improvisational art styles--jazz, rap, basketball. The "they'd make good fighter pilots" theory.)

    I don’t want to denigrate Scrabble players, but I suspect that 130 IQ is too high a threshold to be an elite Scrabble player. Scrabble rewards intense memorization of a sizable word list. Combined with significant rewards for elite-level mastery, that could be achieved at the 115-120 range.

    I tend to agree with this. I think more IQ is better for Scrabble, but there are issues with prevalence of high IQ being accompanied by other important talents, and given those important talents (especially memory) an extremely high IQ is less important.

    I think there is a stronger Scrabble/IQ connection in recreational play since you encounter fewer truly rare talents like eidetic memory there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eidetic_memory#Prevalence
    and the correlation of IQ with (unpracticed) vocabulary helps.

    I think there is more research on IQ and chess so following up in that direction. This paper found some correlation between IQ and chess skill among young players. Among young elite players this correlation went away or even reversed (they explained this by noting an inverse practice IQ correlation): http://v-scheiner.brunel.ac.uk/bitstream/2438/642/1/Does%20Chess%20Need%20Intelligence-revision-finalINT.pdf

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  63. @keypusher
    Computers and the internet have definitely changed the competitive landscape in chess and given more resources to the isolated player. It's hard to imagine a Norwegian world champion without computers.

    But it's my sense that physical "infrastructure" -- a network of clubs and trainers -- still makes a huge difference. India and China have really come up in the league tables in chess in the past few generations, but they've also made a big effort to develop strong players. Wesley So from the Philippines, now in the top 3, seems like a good example of a computer-nourished player, but chess in the Philippines received a huge boost from Fischer, then it hosted the 1978 world championship, and the world chess federation was run by a Filipino for decades.

    Virtually all of the classic literature on chess is floating around in PDF format.

    Bit of a side issue, but most of the classic literature on chess is crap, at least when you try to get beyond the basics of strategy and endgame technique. Generally speaking, pre-engine "classics" contain serious errors in calculation on almost every page, as the computers ruthlessly reveal. I'm looking at Paul Keres' book on the 1948 championship now. He was a gifted and conscientious annotator, but even he can't help but make error after error. You're much better off working with an engine and a trainer than a book. Even if an African has the engine, he's likely to lack the trainer.

    Fair enough, those are all very good points. I agree that trainers become pretty vital once you get into IM territory. However, I think getting that far without them is perfectly doable in the Internet era. Since even IM-quality African players are such a rarity, I don’t imagine they’d have much difficulty finding international sponsorship (that is precisely what happened with Amon Simutowe, anyway!).

    Incidentally, are you familiar with the work of Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko on trying to objectively assess world champion player strength from Steinitz onwards? According to their analysis, the strongest players (as tallied against “optimal moves” given by chess engines) were the giants of the late 20th century – Kramnik, Karpov, Kasparov, Spassky, etc (Fischer was surprisingly middling). So that would bear out your points on the poor state of the classic chess literature. However, the guy who took first place was a total surprise: Capablance!

    I don’t know if they’ve done any follow up studies assessing whether the game quality of the engine-trained generation (Carlsen, So, Caruana, Karjakin, etc.) has definitely surpassed that of the last book & club generation.

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    • Replies: @res
    Wow. Just looked at their plots and Capablanca dominates. I haven't paid much attention to chess history recently, but doesn't that align OK with historical reputation?

    This link is from 2011, but the data only runs through 2006 or 2008:
    https://en.chessbase.com/post/using-che-engines-to-estimate-human-skill
    , @keypusher
    I am generally familiar with a number of these studies, which tend to come to very different conclusions. There was a recent one that had Carlsen on top, but I don't know enough about it to evaluate it. I will say I am surprised by Fischer's result in the Bratko and Guid study. That calls into question the value of their study for me -- I've seen another survey which concluded he made an inhumanly small number of errors in the matches on his way to the title match against Spassky, which is consistent with (i) the opinions of other grandmasters (2) Fischer's results (6-0 against Taimanov, 6-0 against Larsen, 6 1/2 - 2 1/2 against ex-world champion Petrosian). If I recall correctly the study rated Fischer and Kramnik tops for accuracy.

    It's important to remember that a chess game is a struggle, not a quiz show -- players who are able to confuse or intimidate their opponents (Mikhail Tal, Garry Kasparov) can be enormously successful even if a computer doesn't approve of all their moves. If you asked me who was the greatest chessplayer of all time, looking at results I'd probably say Kasparov or Emanuel Lasker, neither of whom tends to get the palm in computer evaluations.

    Capablanca tends to do very well in computer studies because (in addition to his gigantic talent) (i) he had a fairly simple, uncomplicated style (ii) compared to later masters, he faced weaker opposition. I'm no great shakes, but when I show one of my games against a weak opponent to a computer, I can look surprisingly good. But under the pressure exerted by a real master, I make errors by the bushel. In studies that try to take complexity of position into account, Capablanca tends to do less well. But of course properly measuring complexity is very, very hard to do.

    I think these studies have the potential to be very useful in evaluating human masters, so I hope people keep doing them and trying to do them better. But I don't think we are there yet.
  64. Thanks for all the comments. They raise general questions about the power of practice and strategy in games, and by implication in scientific discovery. A vast topic. With few exceptions, great ability seems more important than repeated practice, though real productivity certainly requires great application, which I see as a broader approach to learning, rather than repetition of specific skills. For example, to be good pilot you have to practice all your skills frequently. To be a good test pilot you have to know more than just how to fly.

    Anyway, here are two chess-related pieces I wrote some time ago.

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-oscars-for-intelligence

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/practice-makes-one-third-perfect-other

    Read More
  65. @Johann Ricke

    Ashkenazi underperformance in STEM prior to the 19th century chiefly has to do with the fact that traditional Ashkenazi culture didn't care about science. It was concerned with producing Talmudic scholars and businessmen, not physicists and mathematicians.
     
    That's probably more of a sign that Jewish elites weren't the cognitive elites. The kinds of people who make successful Talmudic scholars and businessmen are not necessarily those who make great leaps in math and the sciences. One of the Finnish commenters on this site once wrote:

    That is art and art is often at its height in tyrannical and radically fractured societies that have some cultural competition going on. Science isn’t. Even mathematics requires political stability and infrastructure because mathematicians are people, people need to eat and funding mathematicians is not a high priority for most societies. Art that pleases the tyrant on the other hand will get funded even if the peasants are starving.

    The big achievement of the West is not some magically higher number of geniuses, it’s the culture of cultivation of geniuses. Godfrey Hardy used to say that discovering Ramanujan was his biggest achievement in mathematics. If he hadn’t dragged the guy out of India no one would know about his work. Hardy himself used to say that he didn’t want to do any “useful”, applied work because it could be used for war.

    In England, these guys could get paid to work on their “useless” number theory which actually has found a lot of use and Hardy would probably be disappointed by how much of his innocent number theory is now used in cryptography and war. In just about any other society Ramanujan would have been dismissed as a freak and Hardy would have been considered useless. The culture that tolerates and supports an academic subculture that produces nothing that the rulers can even understand, that is a rare achievement.
     

    That’s probably more of a sign that Jewish elites weren’t the cognitive elites. The kinds of people who make successful Talmudic scholars and businessmen are not necessarily those who make great leaps in math and the sciences.

    I would say that it’s a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study…..

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    I would say that it's a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study.....

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.
     

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible - that qualitative differences don't exist - and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block. (It's the equivalent of thinking that Michael Phelps could be the top athlete in any sport he chose). In reality, success in both of these pursuits does not necessarily accrue to the smartest guys, if by smartest, you mean the individuals with the most path-breaking ideas, uses for which are not immediately apparent. Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?

    For instance, Steve Jobs wasn't smart enough to understand, let alone discover, the science underlying many of the technologies that were the basis of his signature products. And yet he ended up the richest guy in the world, for a time, thanks to his instinctive feel for what users wanted, even before they knew they wanted it.

    Trotsky was the general who won the Russian empire for the Bolsheviks. In raw IQ terms, he probably lapped Stalin, and then some. And yet, from the standpoint of political maneuvering, he was unable to defeat Stalin, who ended up the tsar-in-all-but-name of the empire Trotsky had conquered from the Whites.

    History is replete with instances of men of great ability in practical pursuits ruled by men of limited talents but impeccable bloodlines and superior political skill. Is it such a stretch to think of potential geniuses in completely useless endeavors (from a day-to-day standpoint) like math and science not getting the education, let alone the financial support, they need to flourish in those fields, given their status as peasants in the shtetls of Central Europe? Note that the Irish famine occurred in the 19th century, meaning that much of the world was just one bad harvest away from starvation, so it wasn't as if there was enough surplus for everyone to get an education.

  66. @Keypusher,

    The fabled Soviet Chess Machine

    I hope your use of the word “fabled” isn’t intended to cast doubt on the machine’s existence. Top 10 in the fall of 1972, when Bobby Fischer won the world title: 1 American, 1 Hungarian, and 8 Soviets.

    No, I was using “fabled” in the sense of something of great renown or fame. The Soviet Chess Machine was very real.

    Do you think 80% of the geniuses in the world resided in the USSR at that time?

    Obviously not. The Soviet Chess Machine shows the interplay between talent and culture. The Soviets put a lot of effort into chess, and it payed off.However, if the mean IQ in the Soviet Union had been 75 , I tend to think that the pay-off would have been substantially less.

    @ UTU:

    You did not get it. My point about the TP usage was that it is a good indicator of society development. Scientific papers (SP) are produced in developed societies. So SP and TP correlate.

    Yes, and having a decent mean IQ helps a lot when you are attempting to create a developed society………..

    Read More
  67. @syonredux

    That’s probably more of a sign that Jewish elites weren’t the cognitive elites. The kinds of people who make successful Talmudic scholars and businessmen are not necessarily those who make great leaps in math and the sciences.
     
    I would say that it's a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study.....

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.

    I would say that it’s a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study…..

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible – that qualitative differences don’t exist – and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block. (It’s the equivalent of thinking that Michael Phelps could be the top athlete in any sport he chose). In reality, success in both of these pursuits does not necessarily accrue to the smartest guys, if by smartest, you mean the individuals with the most path-breaking ideas, uses for which are not immediately apparent. Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?

    For instance, Steve Jobs wasn’t smart enough to understand, let alone discover, the science underlying many of the technologies that were the basis of his signature products. And yet he ended up the richest guy in the world, for a time, thanks to his instinctive feel for what users wanted, even before they knew they wanted it.

    Trotsky was the general who won the Russian empire for the Bolsheviks. In raw IQ terms, he probably lapped Stalin, and then some. And yet, from the standpoint of political maneuvering, he was unable to defeat Stalin, who ended up the tsar-in-all-but-name of the empire Trotsky had conquered from the Whites.

    History is replete with instances of men of great ability in practical pursuits ruled by men of limited talents but impeccable bloodlines and superior political skill. Is it such a stretch to think of potential geniuses in completely useless endeavors (from a day-to-day standpoint) like math and science not getting the education, let alone the financial support, they need to flourish in those fields, given their status as peasants in the shtetls of Central Europe? Note that the Irish famine occurred in the 19th century, meaning that much of the world was just one bad harvest away from starvation, so it wasn’t as if there was enough surplus for everyone to get an education.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    but impeccable bloodlines

    I follow everything in your comment except this concept.
    , @syonredux

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible – that qualitative differences don’t exist – and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block
     
    It's certainly not a delusion that share. After all, Cecil Rhodes was far richer than James Clerk Maxwell, but I tend to doubt that he was smarter.


    That being said, my point stands thusly: Traditional Ashkenazi culture had two main intellectual outlets: Talmudic studies and business. And, as Greg Cochran has pointed out, that kind of specialization seems to have done wonders for their average IQ:

    http://web.mit.edu/fustflum/documents/papers/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

    Who knows what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton........But they didn't. Why? Because traditional Jewish culture didn't care about things like physics.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?
     
    Absolutely.

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) expressed it tersely when he heard a noted historian pro­ claim that it was by virtue of their very different gifts that Caesar became a great commander, Shakespeare a great poet, and Newton a great scientist. Dr. Johnson replied, ‘ ‘No, it is only that one man has more mind than another; he may direct it differently, or prefer this study to that. Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”
     
  68. @Anatoly Karlin
    Fair enough, those are all very good points. I agree that trainers become pretty vital once you get into IM territory. However, I think getting that far without them is perfectly doable in the Internet era. Since even IM-quality African players are such a rarity, I don't imagine they'd have much difficulty finding international sponsorship (that is precisely what happened with Amon Simutowe, anyway!).

    Incidentally, are you familiar with the work of Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko on trying to objectively assess world champion player strength from Steinitz onwards? According to their analysis, the strongest players (as tallied against "optimal moves" given by chess engines) were the giants of the late 20th century - Kramnik, Karpov, Kasparov, Spassky, etc (Fischer was surprisingly middling). So that would bear out your points on the poor state of the classic chess literature. However, the guy who took first place was a total surprise: Capablance!

    I don't know if they've done any follow up studies assessing whether the game quality of the engine-trained generation (Carlsen, So, Caruana, Karjakin, etc.) has definitely surpassed that of the last book & club generation.

    Wow. Just looked at their plots and Capablanca dominates. I haven’t paid much attention to chess history recently, but doesn’t that align OK with historical reputation?

    This link is from 2011, but the data only runs through 2006 or 2008:

    https://en.chessbase.com/post/using-che-engines-to-estimate-human-skill

    Read More
  69. @Dan Hayes
    James Thompson:

    Linda Gottfredson is a real gutsy lady. She was instrumental in ending the University of Delaware's Residence in Life program, which sought to indoctrinate every student in its dorms with a heavily politicized definition of "sustainability".

    I believe that there was at least one other instance where the University of Delaware administration tried to bring her to heel, but Gottfredson successfully counteratacked and made them abjectly surrender (with a monetary sweetener - poetic justice).

    Interesting. I love Gottfredson. I read reviews about her on Rate My Professor and people said she talks about herself too much, doesn’t like when people disagree and tells her students to read papers she authored.

    I’d love that class.

    You have any more information on that?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    RaceRealist 88:

    A very fine discussion of Gottfredson's academic and personal life appears in:

    "2007 Interview of Linda S Gottfredson by Howard Wainer & Daniel Robinson - University of Delaware"

    It details her professional life and in the process covers her personal life. The professional abuse she has been subjected to and her guts in fighting and overcoming them are very well covered. It discusses the academic cowardnice of many of her colleagues in stark contrast to her own behavior.
  70. @Johann Ricke

    I would say that it's a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study.....

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.
     

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible - that qualitative differences don't exist - and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block. (It's the equivalent of thinking that Michael Phelps could be the top athlete in any sport he chose). In reality, success in both of these pursuits does not necessarily accrue to the smartest guys, if by smartest, you mean the individuals with the most path-breaking ideas, uses for which are not immediately apparent. Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?

    For instance, Steve Jobs wasn't smart enough to understand, let alone discover, the science underlying many of the technologies that were the basis of his signature products. And yet he ended up the richest guy in the world, for a time, thanks to his instinctive feel for what users wanted, even before they knew they wanted it.

    Trotsky was the general who won the Russian empire for the Bolsheviks. In raw IQ terms, he probably lapped Stalin, and then some. And yet, from the standpoint of political maneuvering, he was unable to defeat Stalin, who ended up the tsar-in-all-but-name of the empire Trotsky had conquered from the Whites.

    History is replete with instances of men of great ability in practical pursuits ruled by men of limited talents but impeccable bloodlines and superior political skill. Is it such a stretch to think of potential geniuses in completely useless endeavors (from a day-to-day standpoint) like math and science not getting the education, let alone the financial support, they need to flourish in those fields, given their status as peasants in the shtetls of Central Europe? Note that the Irish famine occurred in the 19th century, meaning that much of the world was just one bad harvest away from starvation, so it wasn't as if there was enough surplus for everyone to get an education.

    but impeccable bloodlines

    I follow everything in your comment except this concept.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
    Don't you know that there are literally pure people with no outside admixture? It's #2016, get with the times!
  71. @Anatoly Karlin
    Fair enough, those are all very good points. I agree that trainers become pretty vital once you get into IM territory. However, I think getting that far without them is perfectly doable in the Internet era. Since even IM-quality African players are such a rarity, I don't imagine they'd have much difficulty finding international sponsorship (that is precisely what happened with Amon Simutowe, anyway!).

    Incidentally, are you familiar with the work of Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko on trying to objectively assess world champion player strength from Steinitz onwards? According to their analysis, the strongest players (as tallied against "optimal moves" given by chess engines) were the giants of the late 20th century - Kramnik, Karpov, Kasparov, Spassky, etc (Fischer was surprisingly middling). So that would bear out your points on the poor state of the classic chess literature. However, the guy who took first place was a total surprise: Capablance!

    I don't know if they've done any follow up studies assessing whether the game quality of the engine-trained generation (Carlsen, So, Caruana, Karjakin, etc.) has definitely surpassed that of the last book & club generation.

    I am generally familiar with a number of these studies, which tend to come to very different conclusions. There was a recent one that had Carlsen on top, but I don’t know enough about it to evaluate it. I will say I am surprised by Fischer’s result in the Bratko and Guid study. That calls into question the value of their study for me — I’ve seen another survey which concluded he made an inhumanly small number of errors in the matches on his way to the title match against Spassky, which is consistent with (i) the opinions of other grandmasters (2) Fischer’s results (6-0 against Taimanov, 6-0 against Larsen, 6 1/2 – 2 1/2 against ex-world champion Petrosian). If I recall correctly the study rated Fischer and Kramnik tops for accuracy.

    It’s important to remember that a chess game is a struggle, not a quiz show — players who are able to confuse or intimidate their opponents (Mikhail Tal, Garry Kasparov) can be enormously successful even if a computer doesn’t approve of all their moves. If you asked me who was the greatest chessplayer of all time, looking at results I’d probably say Kasparov or Emanuel Lasker, neither of whom tends to get the palm in computer evaluations.

    Capablanca tends to do very well in computer studies because (in addition to his gigantic talent) (i) he had a fairly simple, uncomplicated style (ii) compared to later masters, he faced weaker opposition. I’m no great shakes, but when I show one of my games against a weak opponent to a computer, I can look surprisingly good. But under the pressure exerted by a real master, I make errors by the bushel. In studies that try to take complexity of position into account, Capablanca tends to do less well. But of course properly measuring complexity is very, very hard to do.

    I think these studies have the potential to be very useful in evaluating human masters, so I hope people keep doing them and trying to do them better. But I don’t think we are there yet.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks, this was really interesting.

    Capablanca did very well even when they adjusted it for complexity, though Kramnik edged in just ahead. That said you are right, Capablanca generally did not face the most rigorous competition, relative to other periods of chess history, so that would have favored him.

    Incidentally, I did find an article today by Guid/Branko with an updated analysis, for the FIDE Candidates 2013 tournament.

    https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-quality-of-play-at-the-candidates-090413

    Can't make strong conclusions based on one tournament, but Carlsen really might be the all time best, ever.
  72. @RaceRealist88
    Interesting. I love Gottfredson. I read reviews about her on Rate My Professor and people said she talks about herself too much, doesn't like when people disagree and tells her students to read papers she authored.

    I'd love that class.

    You have any more information on that?

    RaceRealist 88:

    A very fine discussion of Gottfredson’s academic and personal life appears in:

    “2007 Interview of Linda S Gottfredson by Howard Wainer & Daniel Robinson – University of Delaware”

    It details her professional life and in the process covers her personal life. The professional abuse she has been subjected to and her guts in fighting and overcoming them are very well covered. It discusses the academic cowardnice of many of her colleagues in stark contrast to her own behavior.

    Read More
  73. FWIW-I know of one high-IQ constituency so distrustful of the good will and decision-making ability of its high-IQ leaders that forty years ago its members banded together into a protective society mostly associated with folks in jobs such as factory sweepers and bricklayers.

    The constituency is my local Podunk Tech’s faculty. The protective society is its faculty labor union.

    Read More
  74. Did someone misspell the ‘Scramble for Africa’?

    I read a story called ‘Seven Kill Tiger’ about the Chinese involvement in Africa but wondered why they didn’t transfer the genes for tetanospasmin from the plasmid in Clostridium tetani to Neisseria gonorrhoeae. That would seem to be more efficacious.

    Read More
  75. @Johann Ricke

    I would say that it's a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study.....

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.
     

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible - that qualitative differences don't exist - and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block. (It's the equivalent of thinking that Michael Phelps could be the top athlete in any sport he chose). In reality, success in both of these pursuits does not necessarily accrue to the smartest guys, if by smartest, you mean the individuals with the most path-breaking ideas, uses for which are not immediately apparent. Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?

    For instance, Steve Jobs wasn't smart enough to understand, let alone discover, the science underlying many of the technologies that were the basis of his signature products. And yet he ended up the richest guy in the world, for a time, thanks to his instinctive feel for what users wanted, even before they knew they wanted it.

    Trotsky was the general who won the Russian empire for the Bolsheviks. In raw IQ terms, he probably lapped Stalin, and then some. And yet, from the standpoint of political maneuvering, he was unable to defeat Stalin, who ended up the tsar-in-all-but-name of the empire Trotsky had conquered from the Whites.

    History is replete with instances of men of great ability in practical pursuits ruled by men of limited talents but impeccable bloodlines and superior political skill. Is it such a stretch to think of potential geniuses in completely useless endeavors (from a day-to-day standpoint) like math and science not getting the education, let alone the financial support, they need to flourish in those fields, given their status as peasants in the shtetls of Central Europe? Note that the Irish famine occurred in the 19th century, meaning that much of the world was just one bad harvest away from starvation, so it wasn't as if there was enough surplus for everyone to get an education.

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible – that qualitative differences don’t exist – and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block

    It’s certainly not a delusion that share. After all, Cecil Rhodes was far richer than James Clerk Maxwell, but I tend to doubt that he was smarter.

    That being said, my point stands thusly: Traditional Ashkenazi culture had two main intellectual outlets: Talmudic studies and business. And, as Greg Cochran has pointed out, that kind of specialization seems to have done wonders for their average IQ:

    http://web.mit.edu/fustflum/documents/papers/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

    Who knows what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton……..But they didn’t. Why? Because traditional Jewish culture didn’t care about things like physics.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    But since that time already exist secular and urban Jews AND Newton was Christian, very religious, very traditional culture that don't give a cents to the physics, even worse. Vicious people love to excuse their own fails and rarely try to conclude that often "they" are responsible for their own attitudes.
    , @utu
    "what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton……..But they didn’t. "

    It was rather Newton who emulated Jewish interests. He actually spent more time on numerology, bible studies a Kabbalah than on physics and mathematics. I think that for a long time there was no access to the papers Newton left. The embarrassing facts were suppressed to maintain the myth of Newton for the glory of the English and the British Empire.
    , @anon

    Who knows what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton……..But they didn’t. Why? Because traditional Jewish culture didn’t care about things like physics.
     
    Given the marriage laws and small population I'd say there's a possibility that the selection for higher IQ was partly countered by inbreeding depression. If so then Jews adopting the western marriage model may have removed the depression part.

    hbdchick has looked at that but i can't remember if she found a specific time when the marriage model changed (if it did).

  76. @iffen
    but impeccable bloodlines

    I follow everything in your comment except this concept.

    Don’t you know that there are literally pure people with no outside admixture? It’s #2016, get with the times!

    Read More
  77. @syonredux

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible – that qualitative differences don’t exist – and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block
     
    It's certainly not a delusion that share. After all, Cecil Rhodes was far richer than James Clerk Maxwell, but I tend to doubt that he was smarter.


    That being said, my point stands thusly: Traditional Ashkenazi culture had two main intellectual outlets: Talmudic studies and business. And, as Greg Cochran has pointed out, that kind of specialization seems to have done wonders for their average IQ:

    http://web.mit.edu/fustflum/documents/papers/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

    Who knows what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton........But they didn't. Why? Because traditional Jewish culture didn't care about things like physics.

    But since that time already exist secular and urban Jews AND Newton was Christian, very religious, very traditional culture that don’t give a cents to the physics, even worse. Vicious people love to excuse their own fails and rarely try to conclude that often “they” are responsible for their own attitudes.

    Read More
  78. @syonredux

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible – that qualitative differences don’t exist – and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block
     
    It's certainly not a delusion that share. After all, Cecil Rhodes was far richer than James Clerk Maxwell, but I tend to doubt that he was smarter.


    That being said, my point stands thusly: Traditional Ashkenazi culture had two main intellectual outlets: Talmudic studies and business. And, as Greg Cochran has pointed out, that kind of specialization seems to have done wonders for their average IQ:

    http://web.mit.edu/fustflum/documents/papers/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

    Who knows what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton........But they didn't. Why? Because traditional Jewish culture didn't care about things like physics.

    “what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton……..But they didn’t. ”

    It was rather Newton who emulated Jewish interests. He actually spent more time on numerology, bible studies a Kabbalah than on physics and mathematics. I think that for a long time there was no access to the papers Newton left. The embarrassing facts were suppressed to maintain the myth of Newton for the glory of the English and the British Empire.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon

    He actually spent more time on numerology, bible studies a Kabbalah than on physics and mathematics.
     
    Interesting - so he accomplished the math and physics stuff in his spare time from his main interests - like during his tea break.

    And people think he was clever, tsk, tsk.

  79. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    He required that there should be equal access and motivation to play the game in question

    I generally buy the specialization -> higher average IQ argument but i don’t believe IQ is the sole factor (cos East Asia).

    I think it’s high IQ + x

    where x is
    - ADD for “leap” type innovation
    - OCD for “breakthrough” type innovation
    (and aggression as a general multiplier)

    and i think chess fits in the high IQ + OCD camp.

    Personally i liked the idea of chess but never had the patience. After a few moves I got bored and wanted to charge my cavalry at the opposing king – this doesn’t work in chess even though it has worked in history.

    On Scrabble I’d imagine if you were a bright chess player in Africa with only a few opponents you might switch down to Scrabble where you had more people to play against but you also might have more “leap” type people who are possibly well suited to that game through having a wider vocab (from reading around multiple subjects).

    At the other end high IQ + OCD types in East Asia might be more inclined to play Go – so they wouldn’t show up in the chess or scrabble rankings.

    (So the top end of other populations may be playing chess or Go but at the same time Africans might possibly have an advantage assuming more ADD?)

    If East Asians switched to chess would disproportionate Jewish success, and therefore perception of relative IQ, decline?

    I’d imagine so.

    Which ties back to innovation: if this idea is correct and high IQ + OCD is one of the two main routes to innovation then once East Asia has fully caught up to the West and that segment of their population are fully working on the cutting edge, rather than completing the foundations for being on the cutting edge, then they should start producing some dramatic inventions – as there’s a lot of them.

    (Although I also think high IQ + ADD type “leaps” are probably needed also to prevent eventual stagnation and ADD is selected against by civilization.)

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  80. @Johann Ricke

    I would say that it's a sign that the pre-1800 Jewish cognitive elite devoted their energies to business and Talmudic study.....

    Spinoza offers an interesting example. In order to pursue philosophy, he had to leave the Jewish community.
     

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible - that qualitative differences don't exist - and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block. (It's the equivalent of thinking that Michael Phelps could be the top athlete in any sport he chose). In reality, success in both of these pursuits does not necessarily accrue to the smartest guys, if by smartest, you mean the individuals with the most path-breaking ideas, uses for which are not immediately apparent. Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?

    For instance, Steve Jobs wasn't smart enough to understand, let alone discover, the science underlying many of the technologies that were the basis of his signature products. And yet he ended up the richest guy in the world, for a time, thanks to his instinctive feel for what users wanted, even before they knew they wanted it.

    Trotsky was the general who won the Russian empire for the Bolsheviks. In raw IQ terms, he probably lapped Stalin, and then some. And yet, from the standpoint of political maneuvering, he was unable to defeat Stalin, who ended up the tsar-in-all-but-name of the empire Trotsky had conquered from the Whites.

    History is replete with instances of men of great ability in practical pursuits ruled by men of limited talents but impeccable bloodlines and superior political skill. Is it such a stretch to think of potential geniuses in completely useless endeavors (from a day-to-day standpoint) like math and science not getting the education, let alone the financial support, they need to flourish in those fields, given their status as peasants in the shtetls of Central Europe? Note that the Irish famine occurred in the 19th century, meaning that much of the world was just one bad harvest away from starvation, so it wasn't as if there was enough surplus for everyone to get an education.

    Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?

    Absolutely.

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) expressed it tersely when he heard a noted historian pro­ claim that it was by virtue of their very different gifts that Caesar became a great commander, Shakespeare a great poet, and Newton a great scientist. Dr. Johnson replied, ‘ ‘No, it is only that one man has more mind than another; he may direct it differently, or prefer this study to that. Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    It's a conjecture. You can't predict it/ conclude like that at least by now. The greater social accuracy to become a greater commander usually is not followed by greater scientific accuracy to become a scientific genius, of course other factors like to be lucky (born in the right place, often just to born and live also in pacific and minimally sane place) is important to complete this equation. Also the greater verbal, more-observative and less active social accuracy even with more similarities tend to not be followed by practical social accuracy to become a "great" commander and of course scientific accuracy to become a great scientist. Over sensitiveness of most of "great" artists usually make them inappropriate to occupy leadership positions specially based on current/always social conjuncture/ read: Sociopathy or stupidity (vulgar men and women commanding vulgar masses). Hypo sensitiveness of many great scientists make them inappropriate to become a great artists. And to become a greater commander anti social personalities seems by now strongly required. Even I believe there is such rare people with more than one type of talent and genius they seems to be even rarer than one-type genius.
    , @James Thompson
    Samuel Johnson had great powers of understanding, as well as magnificent powers of explaining.
    , @utu
    "Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West."

    Where does the vigor come from? If IQ is 50%-80% accounted by heredity then the twin that went East may not get as far the one that went South.
    , @Johann Ricke

    The great Arthur Jensen:
     
    Given that the only area in which he was great was his field of expertise, and then only in asserting and supporting the fairly commonplace observation that talent is heritable...
    , @Anonymous
    IQ denialists and IQ absolutists contending for the palm of partial-mindedness.

    A Newton a Shakespeare and a Cæsar all have superior brains, yet very different ones from one another.

    We see it at Unz: all columnists and bloggers have high horsepower brains, but each one's brain has its particular architecture and strong points: therefore, it's interesting and pleasurable to read all (or many) of them, and I think Unz has purposefully picked them to make for a very varied, pluralistic set of minds.

    It's your nature to set whether you are going to go North, South, West, East, and you are going to go where you feel better (where you do what you are best at).
  81. @keypusher
    I am generally familiar with a number of these studies, which tend to come to very different conclusions. There was a recent one that had Carlsen on top, but I don't know enough about it to evaluate it. I will say I am surprised by Fischer's result in the Bratko and Guid study. That calls into question the value of their study for me -- I've seen another survey which concluded he made an inhumanly small number of errors in the matches on his way to the title match against Spassky, which is consistent with (i) the opinions of other grandmasters (2) Fischer's results (6-0 against Taimanov, 6-0 against Larsen, 6 1/2 - 2 1/2 against ex-world champion Petrosian). If I recall correctly the study rated Fischer and Kramnik tops for accuracy.

    It's important to remember that a chess game is a struggle, not a quiz show -- players who are able to confuse or intimidate their opponents (Mikhail Tal, Garry Kasparov) can be enormously successful even if a computer doesn't approve of all their moves. If you asked me who was the greatest chessplayer of all time, looking at results I'd probably say Kasparov or Emanuel Lasker, neither of whom tends to get the palm in computer evaluations.

    Capablanca tends to do very well in computer studies because (in addition to his gigantic talent) (i) he had a fairly simple, uncomplicated style (ii) compared to later masters, he faced weaker opposition. I'm no great shakes, but when I show one of my games against a weak opponent to a computer, I can look surprisingly good. But under the pressure exerted by a real master, I make errors by the bushel. In studies that try to take complexity of position into account, Capablanca tends to do less well. But of course properly measuring complexity is very, very hard to do.

    I think these studies have the potential to be very useful in evaluating human masters, so I hope people keep doing them and trying to do them better. But I don't think we are there yet.

    Thanks, this was really interesting.

    Capablanca did very well even when they adjusted it for complexity, though Kramnik edged in just ahead. That said you are right, Capablanca generally did not face the most rigorous competition, relative to other periods of chess history, so that would have favored him.

    Incidentally, I did find an article today by Guid/Branko with an updated analysis, for the FIDE Candidates 2013 tournament.

    https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-quality-of-play-at-the-candidates-090413

    Can’t make strong conclusions based on one tournament, but Carlsen really might be the all time best, ever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res
    The Lasker vs. Capablanca result there makes a case for what Capablanca could do when facing the best competition (available then):
    Capablanca Lasker-Capablanca, 1921 5.48
    (fifth best of the world championship matches they looked at, top four all 1995 or more recent)
    , @artichoke
    A significant omission from that article's data is Karjakin, who just played one of the closest championship matches ever against Carlsen.

    I don't think Karjakin would be super high because at least before the WC I saw him as a bit of a gambler at the board. But he has a very fine sense of just how far he can go without quite being lost. This would not be captured by the given methodology. In the match, several times he got almost-lot positions and willingly suffered for hours to get draws from them. And then the same the next game, and the next!

    To be an outstanding player, all one needs is never to make a move that converts a win to a draw or loss, or a draw to a loss. We can't assess this skill with our computers, because our computers cannot classify positions reliably into those categories. One may still not have the very best results, as shown by Grischuk's low Candidates result given play that's assessed very high. Even though accurate, he was unable to push opponents into many mistakes. So there's a wide "psychological" aspect to play, but at a high level one should really avoid making "step-down" moves, because the punishment tends to be ruthless.

  82. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @utu
    "what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton……..But they didn’t. "

    It was rather Newton who emulated Jewish interests. He actually spent more time on numerology, bible studies a Kabbalah than on physics and mathematics. I think that for a long time there was no access to the papers Newton left. The embarrassing facts were suppressed to maintain the myth of Newton for the glory of the English and the British Empire.

    He actually spent more time on numerology, bible studies a Kabbalah than on physics and mathematics.

    Interesting – so he accomplished the math and physics stuff in his spare time from his main interests – like during his tea break.

    And people think he was clever, tsk, tsk.

    Read More
  83. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @syonredux

    People have this idea that intelligence is fungible – that qualitative differences don’t exist – and that accumulating the most power and money is the result of being the smartest guy on the block
     
    It's certainly not a delusion that share. After all, Cecil Rhodes was far richer than James Clerk Maxwell, but I tend to doubt that he was smarter.


    That being said, my point stands thusly: Traditional Ashkenazi culture had two main intellectual outlets: Talmudic studies and business. And, as Greg Cochran has pointed out, that kind of specialization seems to have done wonders for their average IQ:

    http://web.mit.edu/fustflum/documents/papers/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

    Who knows what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton........But they didn't. Why? Because traditional Jewish culture didn't care about things like physics.

    Who knows what might have happened if Ashkenazi Jews in the 18th century had decided to emulate Gentiles like Newton……..But they didn’t. Why? Because traditional Jewish culture didn’t care about things like physics.

    Given the marriage laws and small population I’d say there’s a possibility that the selection for higher IQ was partly countered by inbreeding depression. If so then Jews adopting the western marriage model may have removed the depression part.

    hbdchick has looked at that but i can’t remember if she found a specific time when the marriage model changed (if it did).

    Read More
  84. @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks, this was really interesting.

    Capablanca did very well even when they adjusted it for complexity, though Kramnik edged in just ahead. That said you are right, Capablanca generally did not face the most rigorous competition, relative to other periods of chess history, so that would have favored him.

    Incidentally, I did find an article today by Guid/Branko with an updated analysis, for the FIDE Candidates 2013 tournament.

    https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-quality-of-play-at-the-candidates-090413

    Can't make strong conclusions based on one tournament, but Carlsen really might be the all time best, ever.

    The Lasker vs. Capablanca result there makes a case for what Capablanca could do when facing the best competition (available then):
    Capablanca Lasker-Capablanca, 1921 5.48
    (fifth best of the world championship matches they looked at, top four all 1995 or more recent)

    Read More
  85. @Anatoly Karlin

    Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?
     
    Absolutely.

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) expressed it tersely when he heard a noted historian pro­ claim that it was by virtue of their very different gifts that Caesar became a great commander, Shakespeare a great poet, and Newton a great scientist. Dr. Johnson replied, ‘ ‘No, it is only that one man has more mind than another; he may direct it differently, or prefer this study to that. Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”
     

    It’s a conjecture. You can’t predict it/ conclude like that at least by now. The greater social accuracy to become a greater commander usually is not followed by greater scientific accuracy to become a scientific genius, of course other factors like to be lucky (born in the right place, often just to born and live also in pacific and minimally sane place) is important to complete this equation. Also the greater verbal, more-observative and less active social accuracy even with more similarities tend to not be followed by practical social accuracy to become a “great” commander and of course scientific accuracy to become a great scientist. Over sensitiveness of most of “great” artists usually make them inappropriate to occupy leadership positions specially based on current/always social conjuncture/ read: Sociopathy or stupidity (vulgar men and women commanding vulgar masses). Hypo sensitiveness of many great scientists make them inappropriate to become a great artists. And to become a greater commander anti social personalities seems by now strongly required. Even I believe there is such rare people with more than one type of talent and genius they seems to be even rarer than one-type genius.

    Read More
  86. @Anatoly Karlin

    Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?
     
    Absolutely.

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) expressed it tersely when he heard a noted historian pro­ claim that it was by virtue of their very different gifts that Caesar became a great commander, Shakespeare a great poet, and Newton a great scientist. Dr. Johnson replied, ‘ ‘No, it is only that one man has more mind than another; he may direct it differently, or prefer this study to that. Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”
     

    Samuel Johnson had great powers of understanding, as well as magnificent powers of explaining.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    A great historian trying to explain psychological stuff. Yesssssss
  87. Incidentally, I did find an article today by Guid/Branko with an updated analysis, for the FIDE Candidates 2013 tournament.

    Can’t make strong conclusions based on one tournament, but Carlsen really might be the all time best, ever.

    https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-quality-of-play-at-the-candidates-090413

    Sorry to have gotten so far off topic, but I wanted to address this briefly.

    Even though the computer liked him a lot more, Carlsen tied for first with Kramnik in that tournament. In fact, he lost two games (against five wins), and Kramnik only one (against four wins). Luckily for Carlsen, the tiebreak was most wins (or, to put it another way, most losses).

    Grischuk, who finished second only to Carlsen in computer evaluation, finished with one win, two losses, and 11 draws.

    So, there wasn’t a really close relationship between computer evaluations and results. Maybe the sample size is just too small, but I suspect the computer search was set too shallow as well.

    Complete results for the tournament here:

    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?tid=80233

    Read More
  88. @James Thompson
    Samuel Johnson had great powers of understanding, as well as magnificent powers of explaining.

    A great historian trying to explain psychological stuff. Yesssssss

    Read More
  89. @Anatoly Karlin
    Here is a map of chess grandmasters per capita:

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/world-chess-grandmasters-2016.png

    With the downwards exception of East Asia (where they play go and xiangqi instead), and the upwards tilt of Eastern Europe (due to state support for the game under Communism), it might as well be one of those global IQ maps. There are a grand total of three Black grandmasters throughout history: Maurice Ashley (a Jamaican immigrant to US), Pontus Carlsson (an African adopted by a Swedish family at the age of one), and Amon Simutoue (the only African African, a Zambian).

    I recall Chandra Chisala theorizing that the cost of chess sets is holding Africans back from success in chess.

    One more point about this map — you’d need to consider the effect of immigration, at least if you’re going to use it as some kind of IQ proxy. The top three “American” players are Wesley So (a Filipino until very recently), Fabiano Caruana (holds Italian citizenship, though he was born in Brooklyn) and Hikaru Nakamura (born in Japan, though he came to this country at the age of 3). Below those guys there’s a raft of ex-Russians. If you took away those guys the USA might wind up a very pale shade of pink on this map.

    Read More
    • Replies: @artichoke
    You were right 10 or 20 years ago. Now we've got a number of good young GM's who were born here, and the Russian immigrants like Kamsky and Onischuk are fading due to age and perhaps the greater domestic competition.
  90. @Anatoly Karlin

    Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?
     
    Absolutely.

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) expressed it tersely when he heard a noted historian pro­ claim that it was by virtue of their very different gifts that Caesar became a great commander, Shakespeare a great poet, and Newton a great scientist. Dr. Johnson replied, ‘ ‘No, it is only that one man has more mind than another; he may direct it differently, or prefer this study to that. Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”
     

    “Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”

    Where does the vigor come from? If IQ is 50%-80% accounted by heredity then the twin that went East may not get as far the one that went South.

    Read More
  91. @Anatoly Karlin

    Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?
     
    Absolutely.

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) expressed it tersely when he heard a noted historian pro­ claim that it was by virtue of their very different gifts that Caesar became a great commander, Shakespeare a great poet, and Newton a great scientist. Dr. Johnson replied, ‘ ‘No, it is only that one man has more mind than another; he may direct it differently, or prefer this study to that. Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”
     

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Given that the only area in which he was great was his field of expertise, and then only in asserting and supporting the fairly commonplace observation that talent is heritable…

    Read More
  92. @jacques sheete
    Thanks for the response but I'm not complaining about whether intelligence is important or not.

    I do believe that the concept of IQ is poorly named and that I doubt it actually proves what the vast majority of people think it proves. This is evident in a lot of the comments on these articles by those who obviously pride and preen themselves over their vaunted "IQs."

    As you probably know, any tool can be used for good or ill, and this tool is one that is as easily abused by the usual lamebrains as anything else.

    In other words, you can do all the testing you want, discover and transmit all kinds of truths, and much more often than not the IQ junkies will manage to mangle, misinterpret and misapply the results.

    In a doofus society like ours it is quite easy to make the case that stupider is better, which is one reason schools are organized and administered as they are. George Carlin had it right.

    Start at 1:07... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dBZDSSky0


    Furthermore, more is not always better, and it ain't watcha got,but how ya use it.

    Great stuff. I am sure the Princeton science faculty will take the same view of my feeble IQ proxy test results. I’m also sure the US military will waive the IQ test when I sign up.

    The Bell Curve made the very clear and rather poignant point that in a ruthless, G-loaded world, the global elite, unshackled from social responsibilities (though throwing smoke to disguise this) will break the historical compact between the clever and the good and loyal of all abilities within self-identifying communities.

    You presumably cackle at the lazy losers that “it ain’t watcha got, but how ya use it”.

    The IQ issue was thrust on people like me – who years ago thought it impolite and unnecessary – by progressives who insist that all peoples have the same innate abilities and that social justice requires equal outcomes. Clearly the agenda is destructive and ultimately aimed at destroying the West.

    Africa clearly needs to encourage its “scrabble players” to be fecund, to deploy some noblesse oblige and not flee at the first opportunity.

    By the way I am suspicious that scrabble is a good proxy for the G factor given Thailand’s good performances. Thai scrabble players, as I understand it, generally speak rudimentary English but merely remember a lot of words, including certain ‘banker’ words.

    Read More
    • Replies: @artichoke
    The Bell Curve as I recall was an account of current statistical evidence about race and IQ, not a prediction of any particular social breakdown or recommendation of social policy. If it also wrote about the latter things, I probably put them in the "speculative" category since those interpretations lacked the same sort of empirical support as the race and IQ data.
  93. Clearly the agenda is destructive and ultimately aimed at destroying the West.

    Other than social justice what is on the agenda? Who aims at destroying the West?

    Read More
  94. @res

    I presume it is less challenging than chess, which is in turn less challenging than Go.

     

    I think that is an interesting question. My initial reaction is that one funny thing is I think the rules of each game are in the opposite order of complexity.

    Second reaction is that I think you are dead on with respect to how computer AIs perform in these games. A surprisingly informative cartoon related to this topic (though a little outdated given recent advances in Go AI): https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1002:_Game_AIs

    Third reaction is the games are very different. Both in terms of verbal vs. math/spatial focus and in the role of memorization. I would expect there would be some difference in which people excel at which games. I play both recreationally fairly well (more chess than Scrabble), but have never really played either competitively and don't have delusions about excellence. What strikes me about Scrabble is how important vocabulary and the memorization of useful (e.g. uncommon short) words is. Chess (and Go, I think, but much less experience and knowledge there) has memorization of openings, but I don't think that is quite as critical. Worth mentioning that computers excel at memorization.

    Final reaction is I basically agree with you, but think Scrabble is a very different game. I suspect populations that are biased towards verbal IQ rather than math or spatial IQ would do better at Scrabble and that might help explain the African success. My experience has been that a similar phenomenon exists for men/women in chess/scrabble, but my experience is limited.

    Here is a Quora take on Scrabble vs. chess: https://www.quora.com/Scrabble-vs-chess-which-is-more-difficult-to-master

    P.S. One nit, his first name is Chanda. Thanks for covering this topic!

    In chess, if all you know is openings, you can be dead within a few moves after the openings. And at the penalty of making one or two weakish moves, one can get the game out of book very fast, then kill the guy who just knows openings. In scrabble, you can pretty much make a living on such memorization, and it’s impossible to direct the game away from it.

    So some Africans excel at word memorization, but almost none have learned the non-memory skills required by chess. (It’s possible there’s an African chess genius who just doesn’t learn any openings and that’s what keeping him or her from the GM title, but I’ve never heard that nor have any reason to expect it.)

    Read More
  95. @Bill B.
    Great stuff. I am sure the Princeton science faculty will take the same view of my feeble IQ proxy test results. I'm also sure the US military will waive the IQ test when I sign up.

    The Bell Curve made the very clear and rather poignant point that in a ruthless, G-loaded world, the global elite, unshackled from social responsibilities (though throwing smoke to disguise this) will break the historical compact between the clever and the good and loyal of all abilities within self-identifying communities.

    You presumably cackle at the lazy losers that "it ain’t watcha got, but how ya use it".

    The IQ issue was thrust on people like me - who years ago thought it impolite and unnecessary - by progressives who insist that all peoples have the same innate abilities and that social justice requires equal outcomes. Clearly the agenda is destructive and ultimately aimed at destroying the West.

    Africa clearly needs to encourage its "scrabble players" to be fecund, to deploy some noblesse oblige and not flee at the first opportunity.

    By the way I am suspicious that scrabble is a good proxy for the G factor given Thailand's good performances. Thai scrabble players, as I understand it, generally speak rudimentary English but merely remember a lot of words, including certain 'banker' words.

    The Bell Curve as I recall was an account of current statistical evidence about race and IQ, not a prediction of any particular social breakdown or recommendation of social policy. If it also wrote about the latter things, I probably put them in the “speculative” category since those interpretations lacked the same sort of empirical support as the race and IQ data.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res

    The Bell Curve as I recall was an account of current statistical evidence about race and IQ
     
    Race was the primary concern of a small part of The Bell Curve. But, since that got 90+% of the media outrage, everyone (that's hyperbole folks, I know it's not literally true) thinks it was the sole topic. It's worth remembering that the subtitle was: "Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life." You can preview the book (e.g. the Table of Contents at Google Books to see this.

    If it also wrote about the latter things, I probably put them in the “speculative” category since those interpretations lacked the same sort of empirical support as the race and IQ data.
     
    Pretty much what the book said. You might want to read it if you have not already.
  96. @keypusher
    One more point about this map -- you'd need to consider the effect of immigration, at least if you're going to use it as some kind of IQ proxy. The top three "American" players are Wesley So (a Filipino until very recently), Fabiano Caruana (holds Italian citizenship, though he was born in Brooklyn) and Hikaru Nakamura (born in Japan, though he came to this country at the age of 3). Below those guys there's a raft of ex-Russians. If you took away those guys the USA might wind up a very pale shade of pink on this map.

    You were right 10 or 20 years ago. Now we’ve got a number of good young GM’s who were born here, and the Russian immigrants like Kamsky and Onischuk are fading due to age and perhaps the greater domestic competition.

    Read More
  97. @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks, this was really interesting.

    Capablanca did very well even when they adjusted it for complexity, though Kramnik edged in just ahead. That said you are right, Capablanca generally did not face the most rigorous competition, relative to other periods of chess history, so that would have favored him.

    Incidentally, I did find an article today by Guid/Branko with an updated analysis, for the FIDE Candidates 2013 tournament.

    https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-quality-of-play-at-the-candidates-090413

    Can't make strong conclusions based on one tournament, but Carlsen really might be the all time best, ever.

    A significant omission from that article’s data is Karjakin, who just played one of the closest championship matches ever against Carlsen.

    I don’t think Karjakin would be super high because at least before the WC I saw him as a bit of a gambler at the board. But he has a very fine sense of just how far he can go without quite being lost. This would not be captured by the given methodology. In the match, several times he got almost-lot positions and willingly suffered for hours to get draws from them. And then the same the next game, and the next!

    To be an outstanding player, all one needs is never to make a move that converts a win to a draw or loss, or a draw to a loss. We can’t assess this skill with our computers, because our computers cannot classify positions reliably into those categories. One may still not have the very best results, as shown by Grischuk’s low Candidates result given play that’s assessed very high. Even though accurate, he was unable to push opponents into many mistakes. So there’s a wide “psychological” aspect to play, but at a high level one should really avoid making “step-down” moves, because the punishment tends to be ruthless.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    In poker there is a concept of optimal vs. exploitative play.

    "Optimal" focuses on mistake avoidance. "Exploitative" tends to be suboptimal, but is likelier to goad opponents into mistakes, especially weaker ones.

    I am not near good enough at chess to know this for sure but I very strongly suspect that there is something similar there.

    So somebody like Grischuk would be more in the optimal category, and somebody like Karjakin would be more in the exploitative one.

    But optimal play is, by definition, optimal, and it stands to reason that as play converges to its theoretical best (I have seen it estimated that it will emerge at Elo = 3600 for chess) it will likwise converge to full optimality.

  98. @artichoke
    A significant omission from that article's data is Karjakin, who just played one of the closest championship matches ever against Carlsen.

    I don't think Karjakin would be super high because at least before the WC I saw him as a bit of a gambler at the board. But he has a very fine sense of just how far he can go without quite being lost. This would not be captured by the given methodology. In the match, several times he got almost-lot positions and willingly suffered for hours to get draws from them. And then the same the next game, and the next!

    To be an outstanding player, all one needs is never to make a move that converts a win to a draw or loss, or a draw to a loss. We can't assess this skill with our computers, because our computers cannot classify positions reliably into those categories. One may still not have the very best results, as shown by Grischuk's low Candidates result given play that's assessed very high. Even though accurate, he was unable to push opponents into many mistakes. So there's a wide "psychological" aspect to play, but at a high level one should really avoid making "step-down" moves, because the punishment tends to be ruthless.

    In poker there is a concept of optimal vs. exploitative play.

    “Optimal” focuses on mistake avoidance. “Exploitative” tends to be suboptimal, but is likelier to goad opponents into mistakes, especially weaker ones.

    I am not near good enough at chess to know this for sure but I very strongly suspect that there is something similar there.

    So somebody like Grischuk would be more in the optimal category, and somebody like Karjakin would be more in the exploitative one.

    But optimal play is, by definition, optimal, and it stands to reason that as play converges to its theoretical best (I have seen it estimated that it will emerge at Elo = 3600 for chess) it will likwise converge to full optimality.

    Read More
    • Replies: @artichoke
    You're right, I am making a comparison between optimal and exploitative play -- for example bluffing, or even thinking you've detected bluffing by an opponent. But in poker one can objectively rank things by probability and expected result, given some pretty natural assumptions about opponents' play.

    Chess is not quite the same. It's a game of full information, except that it's too much information for us to handle. Computer assessments too are just estimates.

    Optimal play could be any play that doesn't punt any won or drawn positions to lower categories. Beyond that, there are some draws that are almost wins and some that are almost losses, and the former is practically preferable to the latter and almost all human players would agree on which is which.

    Magnus Carlsen has grown up with and learned to play almost like a computer. It's a successful way to play, maybe the easiest way to play. But mathematically all that's required, and what he can't do all the time, is to avoid ever punting a win or draw to a lower category.
  99. @artichoke
    The Bell Curve as I recall was an account of current statistical evidence about race and IQ, not a prediction of any particular social breakdown or recommendation of social policy. If it also wrote about the latter things, I probably put them in the "speculative" category since those interpretations lacked the same sort of empirical support as the race and IQ data.

    The Bell Curve as I recall was an account of current statistical evidence about race and IQ

    Race was the primary concern of a small part of The Bell Curve. But, since that got 90+% of the media outrage, everyone (that’s hyperbole folks, I know it’s not literally true) thinks it was the sole topic. It’s worth remembering that the subtitle was: “Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.” You can preview the book (e.g. the Table of Contents at Google Books to see this.

    If it also wrote about the latter things, I probably put them in the “speculative” category since those interpretations lacked the same sort of empirical support as the race and IQ data.

    Pretty much what the book said. You might want to read it if you have not already.

    Read More
  100. @Anatoly Karlin
    In poker there is a concept of optimal vs. exploitative play.

    "Optimal" focuses on mistake avoidance. "Exploitative" tends to be suboptimal, but is likelier to goad opponents into mistakes, especially weaker ones.

    I am not near good enough at chess to know this for sure but I very strongly suspect that there is something similar there.

    So somebody like Grischuk would be more in the optimal category, and somebody like Karjakin would be more in the exploitative one.

    But optimal play is, by definition, optimal, and it stands to reason that as play converges to its theoretical best (I have seen it estimated that it will emerge at Elo = 3600 for chess) it will likwise converge to full optimality.

    You’re right, I am making a comparison between optimal and exploitative play — for example bluffing, or even thinking you’ve detected bluffing by an opponent. But in poker one can objectively rank things by probability and expected result, given some pretty natural assumptions about opponents’ play.

    Chess is not quite the same. It’s a game of full information, except that it’s too much information for us to handle. Computer assessments too are just estimates.

    Optimal play could be any play that doesn’t punt any won or drawn positions to lower categories. Beyond that, there are some draws that are almost wins and some that are almost losses, and the former is practically preferable to the latter and almost all human players would agree on which is which.

    Magnus Carlsen has grown up with and learned to play almost like a computer. It’s a successful way to play, maybe the easiest way to play. But mathematically all that’s required, and what he can’t do all the time, is to avoid ever punting a win or draw to a lower category.

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  101. Going for Nigeria is a weakman.

    Try explaining Gabon results.
    Copy paste from my post in the discussion thread under Chandy’s article:

    “It seems that you have either not read or understood the article. Gabon has 1.7m and several finalists; and Gabon supposedly has IQ of 64. Moreover, it is constantly suggested that means for blacks are narrower, so let’s say 14 instead of white 15. So top players in Gabon would have 5.4SD (equivalent of 181 in whites). The probability that there would be even one top level player in Gabon is almost zero, unless:

    * There is a minority of population in Gabon with a IQ significantly higher than whole population.
    * scrabble top players are equivalent to 1SD (115) meaning still 3.6SD for Gabons (equivalent of 154 for whites)
    * popularity of scrabble is DRASTICALLY (i.e. something like ten thousands more) higher in Gabon than in France.”

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  102. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Would Newton or Einstein have risen above mediocrity in fields other than science and mathematics?
     
    Absolutely.

    The great Arthur Jensen:

    Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) expressed it tersely when he heard a noted historian pro­ claim that it was by virtue of their very different gifts that Caesar became a great commander, Shakespeare a great poet, and Newton a great scientist. Dr. Johnson replied, ‘ ‘No, it is only that one man has more mind than another; he may direct it differently, or prefer this study to that. Sir, the man who has vigor may walk to the North as well as to the South, to the East as well as to the West.”
     

    IQ denialists and IQ absolutists contending for the palm of partial-mindedness.

    A Newton a Shakespeare and a Cæsar all have superior brains, yet very different ones from one another.

    We see it at Unz: all columnists and bloggers have high horsepower brains, but each one’s brain has its particular architecture and strong points: therefore, it’s interesting and pleasurable to read all (or many) of them, and I think Unz has purposefully picked them to make for a very varied, pluralistic set of minds.

    It’s your nature to set whether you are going to go North, South, West, East, and you are going to go where you feel better (where you do what you are best at).

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  103. No luck in chess, scrabble, luck is needed. Two equal players playing scrabble, the luck of the drawn tiles determines the winner. Chess is (by virtue of “luck” factor) a better indicator of the intelligence of the two players.

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  104. A homemade chess set is perfectly viable, while a homemade Scrabble set is flawed, at best. Scrabble has an element of secrecy at work (both in protecting the randomness of tile selection, and in each player’s current stock of tiles), similar to most card games, while chess does not.

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  105. A good IQ test is a better proxy for intellectual ability than chess or Scrabble or go, because experience matters less.

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