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The Queen's Gambit
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The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is a fictional TV miniseries about a girl in an orphanage in postwar America who, somehow, develops herself into a Bobby Fischer-like chess prodigy.

From a nature-nurture perspective, the premise sounds implausible.

The one great woman chess player, Judit Polgar (a solid world top ten player for a number of years), didn’t emerge self-made from an orphanage like the heroine in this TV show. Instead, she was the successful product of a nurture experiment by her parents to raise their daughters to be outstanding chess players (Judit was the youngest and best), rather like the Williams sisters in tennis and Tiger Woods in golf. Here is Scott Alexander’s review of her dad’s advice book Raise a Genius!

The Polgar sisters are interesting evidence supporting the Social Constructionist viewpoint. I suspect girls are more influenced by societal expectations than boys are. Judit Polgar is a pretty normal woman (she’s married to a surgeon and has two children). I suspect if she’d been raised by a different family, she wouldn’t have become a professional chess player.

In contrast, Bobby Fischer always did only what Bobby Fischer wanted to do. Short of abolishing the game and hiding all evidence it ever existed, I don’t know how you could have stopped Fischer from being a chess fanatic.

 
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  1. Anon[206] • Disclaimer says:

    Have you seen Borat 2 yet? Would be interested in your review of it.

  2. duncsbaby says:

    I was wondering if this was based upon Walter Tevis’s book of the same name. You have confirmed it for me. Still, I don’t foresee myself watching it. For one thing I don’t have Netflix.

    Walter Tevis as you might know wrote The Hustler and The Man Who Fell To Earth. I think he died relatively early in his 50’s. He’s a great middle brow writer, mostly sci-fi but also everyday novels like the Queen’s Gambit. In the book the idea of a girl chess wizard is believable because she is an unbelievable character, if you know what I’m saying. She is presented as other-worldly in her abilities although Queen’s Gambit isn’t a sci-fi book; she ain’t an alien.

    Tevis was an interesting character, bit of a drunk, he felt himself to be an alien when as a child his family moved from San Francisco to Kentucky. He was an outsider most of his life, like a lot of writers.

    • Thanks: MEH 0910
    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    , @pyrrhus
  3. @Anon

    Watch this 22 second clip.

    • Replies: @Anon
  4. Bobby Fischer always did only what Bobby Fischer wanted to do. Short of abolishing the game and hiding all evidence it ever existed, I don’t know how you could have stopped Fischer from being a chess fanatic.

    Don’t give them any ideas. If fictional Netflix series can’t make it happen…which reminds me, I don’t watch Netflix (or anything else) so is this fictional girl properly intersectional, or at least high on the Progressive Stack? Otherwise cancel.

    • Replies: @Highlander
  5. @Anon

    Discussed at length in this very forum. All you have to do is search.

    “Stephen Miller” is good evidence that membership in the Tribe is a necessary but not sufficient condition for acceptance in the higher echelons.

    Yes, Hebrews, there are exceptions. Thanks ever so.

  6. Mr. Anon says:
    @Anon

    Have you seen Borat 2 yet? Would be interested in your review of it.

    I haven’t seen it (and never will) but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s a piece of insulting, offensive crap made by a rather exteme example of a particular kind of ethnic-chauvinist a**hole.

    • Thanks: Bill Jones
    • Replies: @Seneca44
  7. Mr. Anon says:

    This raises an interesting question: how many outstanding and/or successful people have been orphans or foundlings?

  8. wwebd – Fischer was autistic. That is sad.

    Autistic people are like stupid people – stupid people do not know they are stupid, and most of the suffering caused by their stupidity is experienced by those around them. There are many parents who love their autistic children, but loving somebody is not incompatible with fervently wishing they had not been afflicted with a very difficult condition.

    This will all be very clear to those who care.

    That being said, we need to be kind to people who struggle with autism or stupidity, even if the sufferers are not always the ones who suffer the most from their condition.

    After all, first – there but for the grace of God go I —
    and second — they are human too, and they have a right to experience kindness, friendship and the joy of a life virtuously lived.

    Don’t bully them. Don’t disparage them.

    By the way, “achievement at chess” is not real achievement.

    Being a good biologist, being a poet of genius, being a therapist who can help someone who needs help – those are achievements.

    Being somebody who “dominates” at a game that was invented a long time ago by someone who was not even as intelligent as me ——- that is not really a worthwhile achievement, if there are alternatives.

    I remember, and I know what I am saying.

    • LOL: Rufus Clyde
  9. neutral says:

    I am surprised that nobody raised the fact that they used a white woman in their fiction, I thought that having a black female world champion is the only acceptable depiction allowed these days.

    • Replies: @Mike Zwick
  10. And Bobby Fischer was a touch more unstable than Judit Polgar.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  11. unit472 says:

    I’d put chess champions down with idiot savants. Talented but not particularly exceptional people. Of more interest to me are people like Alex Honnold, Felix Baumgartner and Nick Wallenda. What drives people to develop such exceptional skills with no apparent rewards unless they can succeed EVERY TIME!

  12. Dumbo says:

    I haven’t watched it, but if this is produced by Netflix, I expect there will be a scene in which the young lady falls for for a black chess master, and they have hot sex.
    Does she play with the white or with the black pieces?

  13. Anonymous[162] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve Sailer:

    “In contrast, Bobby Fischer always did only what Bobby Fischer wanted to do. Short of abolishing the game and hiding all evidence it ever existed, I don’t know how you could have stopped Fischer from being a chess fanatic.”

    This statement is more true than you imagine. Fischer actually dropped out of high school not so much because of acdemic difficulty, but because of disciplinary problems. He once flat out told a teacher: “You are stupid and I don’t want to listen to anything that you have to say.” Remembering his high school experience, Fischer commented that:

    “I never understood why I had to attend school with all of those stupid kids. The teachers are even stupider than the kids. Half of them are crazy, and enjoy having power over the kids.”

    The reason why Fischer constantly played chess everywhere he went was to hide his deep insecurities over his lack of education. Chess is played mostly by the culturati, and Fischer was an ignoramus. And Pulling out the chess board in the middle of a dinner at a restaurant when people were talking about things he knew nothing about was his way of saying:

    “Look, I am smart too, I can play chess, even better than you guys. And you guys do play chess, so the reason why you can’t out play me is not due to a lack of trying.”

    Many saw Fischer’s obsession as a sign of Asperger’s. The problem with this is, Fischer was not a nerd. And I am not saying this because he was 6’2, handsome and extremely athletic. I am saying this because Fischer was way too self-confident to the point of brashness, especially in public, and way too outgoing to be a nerd. Nerdy guys don’t roll like that.

    Fischer was ignorant, but not a dummy. When he was a kid, he went on a T.V show, and after demonstrating his chess prowess, they asked him what else he could do. So Regina Fischer told them to give Bobby a math problem. So they gave him a differential equation, and he solved it almost instantly in his head, without having to write it down. Again: not a dummy.

    But even though he wasn’t stupid, Fischer had mental problems and the older he got, the worse the problems became.

    To give you an idea of how paranoid and delusional Fischer became in his latter years, he believed that there was a Jewish conspiracy to bring down the West, and that Jewish intellectuals were engineering the downfall of Western Civilization. He spent the last 8 years of his life ranting on radio about the Jews, and he even called the U.S:

    “The United States of America is a political, institutional and juridical fraud controlled by hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards.”

    Fischer didn’t finish his life gracefully.

  14. TGGP says: • Website

    Yeah, the series comes down on the side of nature. The protagonist’s birth mother is a math PhD who went nuts and committed suicide, so as an orphan child she’s smarter than her peers and finishes her work in every class quickly enough to wander around and discover the janitor playing chess against himself. I suppose the fact that it was chess she discovered rather than some other quasi-mathematical topic to devote her substantial spare mental energy was arbitrary. The question is raised as to whether she might also have inherited her mother’s mental problems, but she seems to have gotten luckier on that trait.

  15. JimB says:

    Thanks, Steve. You just reminded me that I need to cancel my Netflix subscription.

  16. Anon[456] • Disclaimer says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    He’s an obscene person and he’s going to be punished. Sorry, but being Jewish isn’t an excuse for him pulling the s*** that he tries to pull.

    From a nature-nurture perspective, the premise sounds implausible.

    It doesn’t matter anymore. We’re being taken over by people who don’t care about scholarship, discernment, or facts. How they feel, and the narrative they’ve been fed, is automatically the truth. There is no room for further discussion. Any dissenting voices will be silenced in service of the state.

  17. El Dato says:
    @TGGP

    Tow interesting questions are raised hereby:

    1)

    While some math prodigies were a bit deficient in human-interaction skills, are there any which commited suicide? They seem to be rare.

    Wikipedia does not deliver. There are 22 entries, but

    – Turing doesn’t count, as his death is not a confirmed suicide, could have been an accident.
    Walter Pitts is missing, basically he drank himself to death (he had a tough childhood).

    Others committed suicide to escape illness (Ramaujan) or Nazi camps (Hausdorff), these are different cases.

    2)

    I suppose the fact that it was chess she discovered rather than some other quasi-mathematical topic.

    Is chess quasi-mathematical? It is definitely both algorithmical and about pattern-matching, but would you expect a chess player to write a book about the consistency of the real number axioms?

  18. @Dumbo

    Whaddya mean, “play with”?

  19. El Dato says:
    @Anonymous

    To give you an idea of how paranoid and delusional Fischer became in his latter years, he believed that there was a Jewish conspiracy to bring down the West, and that Jewish intellectuals were engineering the downfall of Western Civilization.

    Whatever could have given him that idea? Hard to fathom.

    “The United States of America is a political, institutional and juridical fraud controlled by hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards.”

    Kissinger in the background: “You are getting hysterical!”

    Also, US tries to get Bobby:


    U.S. Tyranny Against Bobby Fischer

    U.S. officials then sent a letter to Fischer advising him that if he played his chess match in Yugoslavia, they would have him indicted, which meant a possible 10-year jail sentence. Imagine: 10 years in a federal penitentiary for playing chess, in supposed violation of Bush’s decree law.

    To Fischer’s everlasting credit and to the U.S. government’s ever-lasting rage, Fischer responded to the letter by spitting on it. He proceeded to play the match, defeated Spassky again, and walked away with the winner’s prize.

    But he could never return home again because the U.S. government secured a one-count federal criminal indictment against him for violating Bush’s decree-law.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  20. I liked ‘Queen’s Gambit’ and would recommend it to anyone sick of the ham-fisted wokeness that Netflix usually hammers us with.

    Almost all of the male characters are decent, supportive people who don’t conform to an all-too predictable radical feminist narrative. They teach her – it’s clear they want to help her – and she grows as a character and a player by learning from them.

    Only one black female, who is indeed annoying, but she doesn’t dominate the series. The obligatory gay character isn’t overtly gay, and is at least sympathetic, while not being made an innocent victim of Straight Male Aggression.

    The main character is an attractive, appealing and feminine girl, and not a lesbian. There is a lot of drug-taking and drinking because she is hooked on prescription sedatives as a child, given to her by the people running the foster home.

    The man who first teaches her to play chess is gruff, old, and not overtly affectionate on screen, but neither is he portrayed as a lecherous pervert like one would expect from a more feminist interpretation.

    Good story, good acting, good casting, good period scenery and costuming, good music, and a decent character arc. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s a damn sight better than most of the crap coming out lately. I’d say four out of five stars – worth watching.

  21. @TGGP

    It’s fiction! The “fact that it was chess” wasn’t arbitrary at all. The writer thought it would make a better tale.

  22. something on Cultural Marxism Television wasn’t plausible? Sailer column at 11!

    hey Steve – stop watching television. stop even paying attention to anything on there.

    when i’m at the gym in between sets, i see a firefighter EMT show where every firefighter is a white woman, every EMT is black, the one white guy is the bad guy, and the white woman and the black man team up to stop the forest fire.

    it’s a total crock of pure bullshit.

    by the way, did anybody notice, almost literally as soon as Biden “won” the election, the commercials on television went HYPER BLACK. i don’t mean like 1 in 3 people in ads were black, i mean almost all of the people in ads are black, overnight. at one point at my gym, 3 televisions on the wall went to commercial, and there was a black guy on all of them.

    • Agree: Pop Warner
    • Replies: @Simon
    , @Dan Smith
  23. @Dumbo

    Watch it, it’s good. Almost none of your expectations of woke stupidity will be met.

    • Replies: @ltravail
  24. Queen’s Gambit is a weird show. Seems mostly, like Marvelous Mrs Maizel, to exist as an excuse for a bunch of designers to play with early 1960s fashion.

    • Replies: @BB753
    , @Steve Sailer
  25. @Dumbo

    I made deal with myself that I would give it a try. But if it turned out to be a hacky movie about a plucky girl overcoming cartoon sexism I would bail out.

    It seemed okay at first. But sure enough, about 15 min. in, some guy turns up to tell the plucky heroine in a totally implausible scene that “girls can’t play chess!” I was out at that point.

  26. BB753 says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Invariably, protagonists in any Netflix show are female. Whether as warriors, detectives, action heroines, magicians, etc you name it. Even the main character in the new Star Trek series is a proud black woman who can do no wrong and is equally intelligent, athletic and strong, and wiser than both Tsun Tzu and Confucius.
    When I was kid I hated it even when there was a female side-kick to the masculine hero. I wonder what kids today feel like. Emasculated?

    • Replies: @Gordo
    , @Alice
    , @J.Ross
  27. bispora says:

    The roots of Polgár Judit and Bobby Fischer are the same: brilliant hungarian ashkenazim ancestors.
    Judit is a fine example, what will happens with a + 150 IQ girl with constant hard 10 hours work from her 3 years old age…

    • Agree: Gordo
    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Andy
  28. Simon says:
    @prime noticer

    From what I’ve seen, commercials — TV commercials, print ads, even bus shelter advertising — went “hyper black” well before the election.

    • Replies: @HallParvey
    , @Alden
  29. Gordo says:
    @Anonymous

    To give you an idea of how paranoid and delusional Fischer became in his latter years, he believed that there was a Jewish conspiracy to bring down the West, and that Jewish intellectuals were engineering the downfall of Western Civilization.

    Truly insane.

    • LOL: JohnnyWalker123
  30. Gordo says:
    @BB753

    I wonder what kids today feel like. Emasculated?

    That’s the plan. May not work though. Unintended consequences and all that.

    • Replies: @BB753
  31. Gordo says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    It seemed okay at first. But sure enough, about 15 min. in, some guy turns up to tell the plucky heroine in a totally implausible scene that “girls can’t play chess!” I was out at that point.

    Some of these things would be okay if you could edit out the predictable compulsory scenes or episodes that seem to be prewritten for insertion into anything and everything.

    Like Gattaca, a couple of edits and it would be a perfect film.

  32. @Dumbo

    Can you imagine the witty banter?

    “What do you think of the Ruy Lopez?”

    “I liked him better when he just sang, not so much when he tries to rap.”

    “What about the Nimzo-Indian Defense?”

    “I hate Indian food. Too spicy.”

    “Ah, then, surely you are partial to the French Defense?”

    “On the first date? What kind of girl do you think I am?”

  33. Anonymous[192] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Fischer didn’t finish his life gracefully.

    According to the best biography on Fischer, Endgame by Frank Brady (Crown, 2012), near the end of his life Fischer read extensively on Catholicism and said, “The only hope for the world is the Catholic Church.” Fischer requested and received a Catholic funeral and burial.

    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/chess_champion_bobby_fisher_requested_catholic_burial_in_iceland

    Chess champion Bobby Fisher requested Catholic burial in Iceland

    Washington D.C., Jan 23, 2008 (CNA).-

    Legendary chess player Bobby Fischer, who made history by dethroning the Soviet chess king Boris Spassky in 1972, asked to be buried as a Catholic, according to officials of the Catholic Church in Iceland, where he had been living since 1992.

    The famous and eccentric chess player, who died last Thursday at the age of 64, was buried Tuesday in Iceland during a private Catholic ceremony.

    The French news agency AFP reported that Fischer, who was born into a Jewish family in New York, expressly asked to be buried according to the Catholic rite. Father Jakob Rolland of the Diocese of Reykiavik, the capital of Iceland, presided at the funeral.

    So Fischer did finish his life gracefully, through the baptism of desire, and was an heir of life everlasting inheriting eternal life. Checkmate.

    • Agree: Icy Blast
    • Thanks: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Jake
    , @Keypusher
  34. @Peter Akuleyev

    That makes sense. Women really like fashion.

    On the other hand, chess seems about the last field where you’d look for excellent Mad Men era fashions.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Keypusher
  35. Rosie says:
    @bispora

    Judit is a fine example, what will happens with a + 150 IQ girl with constant hard 10 hours work from her 3 years old age…

    What I don’t understand is how you maintain your passion for the game being drilled like that. I guess that’s part of what makes a prodigy a prodigy.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @bispora
    , @Reg Cæsar
  36. @TGGP

    Thanks.

    How many super high achieving women have come out of random backgrounds? My vague impression is that most have been the daughters of high achieving men.

  37. @Dumbo

    Diversity is present, but I don’t think a diverse person actually touches a chess piece in the entire series.

  38. 100,000.

  39. Beth Harmon, the protagonist of Queen’s Gambit, is a superprodigy and a pure product of nature: A quick scene at the beginning shows her insane and suicidal mother’s doctoral dissertation in math from Cornell. Not much of the father was revealed, but my guess he is a married math prof at U Kentucky or Transylvania U, with whom the mother had an affair. I knew a lawyer, both of whose parents were math profs, who was probably the person most fluent in the Tax Code in the whole country.

    • Replies: @Keypusher
  40. @Steve Sailer

    Steve, see my comment: the protagonist of Queen’s Gambit is a superprodigy and the daughter of two math Ph.D.s.

    • Replies: @Plausible deniability
  41. Anon[299] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Some of those later radio interviews when he was exiled from the U.S. were honest and lucid.

  42. BB753 says:
    @Gordo

    I’m not sure. At best, they might end up as BSM masochists, or into butt-kicking babes fetishism.
    Kids today lack testosterone. And they only get laid because teen girls are taught to being easy and spread their legs.

  43. Jake says:
    @Dumbo

    You are behind the times. Now, she needs to be a lesbian and find and reveal the sacred female healing powers that will grant us peaceful equity, taming even the mist Bantu Numinous Negro man.

    • Replies: @Skylark Thibedeau
  44. Anonymous[330] • Disclaimer says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Maybe the coup is kinder this way, rather than having Trump’s brains splattered behind a motorcade by a “magic bullet”. BTW does it strike anyone how lacking in patience the November 1963 coup conspirators were? If done 2020 style, they might have only had to wait until November 1964 (one year). However, I don’t think Goldwater was their man, maybe Nelson Rockefeller could have been though. Their man was LBJ.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  45. Twinkie says:
    @Rosie

    What I don’t understand is how you maintain your passion for the game being drilled like that. I guess that’s part of what makes a prodigy a prodigy.

    Jimmy Pedro is an Ivy Leaguer, who won a world championship in Judo and two Olympic bronze medals, and who later mentored and coached the first and only American to win a gold medal at the Olympics in Judo (Kayla Harrison who did it twice). He once said that it’s not the athletes who like to win who become champions, but those who hate to lose. He told Kayla “You are not a thoroughbred, you are a workhorse.”

    Ryan Hall, a highly decorated Jujitsu champion and a notable UFC fighter who also coaches several high level competitors, including his wife, observed that all the elite competitors have one trait in common – persistence.

    One of my daughters is probably the most athletically gifted child in my family. She is ungodly strong for her age and sex and taught herself to swim as a toddler by imitating her siblings. She is still young, so easily beats her male peers in swimming, pull-ups, etc. She also has that personality of just loving to win. Everyone says she’ll be a champion in something.

    But *I* don’t think so. If she wins, she doesn’t care about improving her game (her attitude becomes “Hey, I won, I want to feel good about it, stop talking to me about the mistakes I made”). She’s ecstatic with victory and becomes less coachable. She gets over-confident. If she loses, she gets discouraged and if she keeps losing, she wants to do something else. She is more “normal” that way. Everybody loves to win.

    My eldest son has a very different personality. He doesn’t care about winning all that much. He has a very gentle and forgiving soul. He hates it if he inadvertently hurts his training partner. If it were up to him, everybody should win and nobody would be a loser. But above all, he DETESTS losing. He is not quite as physically gifted as the daughter I mention above, but he is extremely persistent. If he loses (and he hasn’t in a LONG time) in Judo or Jujitsu, the world is not right. He is not happy with himself. He will spend crazy hours to figure out why he lost, watch the film again, again, and again, train obsessively to remedy the necessary techniques and next time he’ll not only not make the same mistake, but beat his opponent with the technique that defeated him. Losing is like a giant, irresistible puzzle, which he must, must solve to make the world right.

    His three coaches are all former Olympians and told me that, if he kept going like this, he’d be a champion and an Olympian, because he is the most coachable kid they have ever met in their whole careers. The vast majority of youths who must train intensively and obsessively to be really good at something – sooner or later – burn out. Even most adults can’t focus that long and that intently on something, forget about youngsters. But he just goes on like a sewing machine. If he misses training, he’s extremely unhappy. My wife and I had to have a serious conversation with him to prevent him from hiding his injury to keep training (he actually had a moderate spine injury and we were pretty angry at him for not letting us or his coaches know).

    Yet it’s not guaranteed that he’ll excel at the international level. He might have a career-ending injury at some point. And there are legions of supremely talented children in other places (Japan, Korea, Russia, France) who sleep, eat, breathe the sport and enjoy extensive support from their respective governments and who face and survive vicious competition starting in grade school (specialized for the sport).

    As I mentioned numerous times, “easy genius vs. grinding bore” is a false dichotomy. In reality, accomplished geniuses (e.g. high level physicists) are maniacal workers. It’s just that what is seemingly a chore or boring grind to you and me (even if we understood it) are not so to such personalities.

    • Agree: nebulafox, Keypusher
    • Thanks: ic1000, Alden, vhrm
    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @nebulafox
    , @Muggles
  46. Jake says:
    @Anonymous

    A not insignificant number of ethnic Jews of some merit do something similar. They will know it is what they should do, but they wait until the end. I think that is because, in part, that they wish to avoid the furor that would accrue if talented Jews start converting while in the prime of life. Doing so late means any descendants and heirs avoid the Jewish backlash.

    bobby Fischer did what we all should do. It is either Christ and Christendom or Chaos.

  47. @Anonymous

    he went on a T.V show… Regina Fischer told them to give Bobby a math problem. So they gave him a differential equation, and he solved it almost instantly in his head, without having to write it down.

    Not only is it unlikely that Fischer knew how to solve differential equations, it’s unlikely that this would be “someone from a TV show’s” idea of a math problem. There’s something wrong with this anecdote.

    • Agree: Liza, ScarletNumber
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
  48. @Jake

    She lost to the Soviet the second time cause she was infatuated with a French Model and got into a drunken orgy with her the night before.

    • Replies: @tertius
    , @TWS
  49. The thought processes of geniuses cannot be understo0d by us non-geniuses. I met Bobby Fischer’s mother and sister when a girlfriend I was going with took me to their apartment in a brownstone in an unfashionable neighborhood somewhere in Brooklyn. There was a full size loom in the main room. Fischer’s mother was dressed in the full hippy style of that era – mid-1950s – sandals, hand-woven shawl, hand-made skirt, artsy sweater. Familiar as I was to that style, her outfit struck me as bizarre. (I write this merely to recall the event to myself). As for chess fanatics, I used to observe them when I attended college in the “Classical Lounge” at Brooklyn College. It seems that Stanley Kubrick hung out there to feed his chess jones. He also hung out in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village at the concrete chess tables installed there. Kubrick famously claimed to have never attended college no more than Fischer.

    How did Fischer suss out the vast otherwise invisible Jewish conspiracy against white civilization, imperceptible to ordinary non-geniuses except for the loose nuts and bolts who frequent this forum? Answer: he was a genius and could pick up that truth out of the ether without evidentiary evidence. Tesla another jew conspiracy nut and unquestioned genius picked up that truth vibrating in the universe’s electro-magnetic field through the tin-foil helmet he invented.

  50. I’ll tell you something else about it, the computers and the internet have really changed the situation drastically since Bobby Fischer and the Netflix characters’s time. My boy uses a site called chesskid.com. You can do lessons with videos, puzzles and tests. You can play other kids anytime day or night, or play bots.

    In contrast, when a family member of mine learned to play and get pretty damn good, he had to slowly accumulate chess books, play postal games in which you made about a move each week, and travel a ways for tournaments. We lived nowhere near any big city where there’d be a club with really good people to play.

    Chesskids is set up really well, though the instructors sound pretty faggy, but it may just be their voice used just to the kids. It is really a “game changer”, as any kid with a slight interest can go a long ways without any help from the parents, besides the purchasing (30-something bucks) of a subscription, allowing one to see all the videos and to move up to the “King” levels where strategy and tactics get taught.

    My kid played that family member after he had started playing, of course got whipped, and didn’t play for 9 months or so. This summer, with no pool to go to, he picked it back up with chesskids and got pretty good quickly. He’s no Bobby Fischer or the girl on Netflix, but he’s about a 1,200 player after 3 months, I think. The main thing is, whatever the videos teach him, he just soaks up and remembers, while I don’t exactly do that. I still beat him a few times in a row recently recently, after a bout of losses.

    • Thanks: ic1000
    • Replies: @Muggles
  51. Hibernian says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Something will happen similar to what happened to the postal worker in Philly who witnessed irregularities.

  52. @neutral

    Her best friend in the movie was black.

  53. Hibernian says:
    @Anonymous

    BTW does it strike anyone how lacking in patience the November 1963 coup conspirators were?

    It has struck me. If it were a revenge killing as some say, that would explain the impatience.

    • Replies: @Keypusher
  54. bispora says:
    @Rosie

    The careers of Polgár Judit sisters (Zsófia, Zsuzsa) answer your question: it is very difficult…

  55. @Hypnotoad666

    Excellent move, Mr. Toad, bailing out early, at first sign of PC. When I pick up movies that I know nothing about, I hope they either get that stuff in early, so I can bail out like you did, or that I’ll be lucky and none of it ever appears. I have a post, “Tried to watch a movie – here’s 3 reviews in one!”, describing my having quit watching 2 movies to get to the 3rd one (last one I had on me) that was watchable) in one night. Turns out, that 3rd one was from the 1960s.

    I remember returning a VHS video to the store one time after only 20 minutes. “What’s up? Did the tape jam?” “No, the movie just sucks.” “OK, pick out another then.” I was some kind of platinum member or something.

  56. tertius says:
    @Skylark Thibedeau

    A scene that does not appear in the book. Why was it necessary to imply that Beth Harmon is at least bi-sexual? The character of Townes is portrayed as being gay. Again, the screenwriter’s alteration. One can be forgiven for thinking an agenda is being advocated.

    • Replies: @Skylark Thibedeau
  57. @Steve Sailer

    A friend died recently, in her 90’s, who had been orphaned quite young. Her mom died and her dad drifted, so she was raised by relatives, group homes, orphanages… whatever the structure was for those kids in the 30’s and 40’s. She turned out to be brilliant, becoming a computer programmer and an eventual multi-millionaire through savvy real estate investing. My husband met her through the NY bridge clubs where she was a constant winner. Extremely unlikely, but she had quite an entertaining life to tell tales about. I only knew her in her early 80’s, but she was sharp as a tack.

  58. Dan Smith says:
    @prime noticer

    The blackness in current advertising will eventually generate enough cognitive dissonance that rioting will grow worse and worse. I’ve been watching on demand First 48 from 15 years ago and the large fraction of black cops and detectives in cities like Memphis, Miami and Dallas is impressive, as is their dedication to solving murders committed by blacks against blacks. Speaks volumes to contradict the conventional wisdom that cops hate blacks and don’t care about crime in Hood.

  59. Andy says:
    @bispora

    Hungarian Jews are probably, on a per capita basis, the smartest people ever given its share of geniuses despite a relatively small population: Von Neumann, mathematician Paul Erdos, Edward Teller, Nobel physicist Eugene Wigner, Leo Szilard (the first person to conceive a nuclear chain reaction), Theodore Von Karman (one of the fathers of aeronautics), George Soros (an evil man, perhaps, but a very smart person, for sure)

  60. @Mitchell Porter

    There’s something wrong with this anecdote.

    You’re right, any supposedly spontaneous thing that happens on a TV talk show is usually arranged in advance.

  61. Andy says:
    @Percy Gryce

    Chess tends to be among the whitest of activities. To be very good at chess you need a combination of high IQ and a degree of autism that is not present in other groups. It’s also very male-centered. Without the constant prodding of their father, the Polgars would have never entered chess.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  62. Rosie says:
    @Twinkie

    But *I* don’t think so. If she wins, she doesn’t care about improving her game (her attitude becomes “Hey, I won, I want to feel good about it, stop talking to me about the mistakes I made”). She’s ecstatic with victory and becomes less coachable.

    Yes. One might call this the coachability paradox. The most talented kid at the club is often the one who thinks he already knows everything and won’t listen.

    Anyway, I had decided not to watch this show, and this article got me to thinking about why. The best I can come up with is that I don’t like the suggestion that women in chess should be like men in chess. Personally, I’ve never cared that much about winning. There’s no shame in losing to a superior opponent. Better yet, as long as you’re learning, you’re not losing.

    Alexandra Botez will never be Judit Polger, but she loves the game, plays well, and is willing to take some risks for an exciting game. One of the guys, but a lady at the same time, an excellent role model for gifted girls.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_Botez

  63. Corvinus says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Awesome! I look forward to those four alleged witnesses coming forward on national TV with Guiliani sometime this week. Obviously, they each will be able to clearly identify the person/people who brought in those ballots at that news conference. Please make sure to provide a link to that event for all of us to rejoice!

    • Troll: YetAnotherAnon
  64. @Simon

    But not black enough. When they achieve pure blackness, the people starring will be invisible. Pure black reflects no light at all. They will always have to make do with pretend blackness. Some shade of brown, perhaps.

  65. Are they pushing sexism as an explanation for the dearth of female top level players?

    It isn’t very plausible, although it does happen – when Anna Rudolph had a good run of games, a few yeras ago, the rumour spread that she was cheating by communicating with an engine via a device in her lipstick. In the last game of the tournament her opponent even used anti-engine tactics!

    But a bit of Mean Girls bitchiness isn’t going to stop a great player. Guys like Rashid Nezhmetdinov overcame really hellish hardscrabble upbringings to succeed.

    There ought to be more good female players as chess isn’t all that high g. Someone like Grigory Perelman is going to be much rarer than a Kasparov. AI is nowhere near capable of proving the Poincare Conjecture, with just the basic axioms as an input.

    I guess doing very difficult, and apparently pointless, things for bragging rights is just very male behaviour.

    • Replies: @Muggles
    , @Twinkie
    , @AnotherDad
  66. Life expectancy before COVID was 54 years in Chad, so why prioritize American vaccines for Chadians so they can die of something else at 54?

    For the sake of clarity, let’s remember that 54 is an average that includes people who die before age 5. So, life expectancy in Chad may well be 75 for a person who has already attained age 54, or 60, etc.

    The question I have is what fraction of world population is in countries that do not develop vaccines.

    Has China developed a vaccine? India? We are constantly told how fabulously smart some folks are in those highly populous countries. Combined the top 0.1% of people there number about 300k with a supporting group of top 1% folks numbering 3million. Surely that is a sufficient pool of talent to develop a vaccine nowadays given that they have plenty of pharmaceutical companies in those countries. Europe and the US combined have only about 1/4 the population they do and a correspondingly smaller talented top fraction, and we have pulled it off.

    Finally, I lean a little towards the national preference model insofar as although the two Turks built the company that came up with the Pfizer vaccine, every German butcher, baker and candlestick maker played a role in creating the decent sort of place that nice people want to come to. These Turks left Turkey because they thought Germany was better. It seems only fair that ordinary Germans deserve to be the first to benefit from the fruits of such combined efforts as they supported the society that created the educational institutions for these individuals to flourish.

  67. @Anonymous

    “The United States of America is a political, institutional and juridical fraud controlled by hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards.”

    Like you said, he was no dummy

  68. Alden says:
    @Simon

    I’ve noticed that too.

  69. Jack D says:

    Geniuses seldom emerge from orphanages. Genius is usually a combination of both nature AND nurture. Nurture without nature won’t produce a genius (or an athlete or a musician or whatever) but neither, in most cases, will nature without nurture.

    Johns Hopkins has done demographic surveys on the kids who qualify for their “Study of Exceptional Talent” over the years. The overwhelming majority of them come from intact two parent families despite the fact that maybe 1/3 all kids are living in single parent households. Only a tiny handful of the thousands in the study were adopted.

    Fischer came from a single parent home but had two very high IQ (if perhaps a little crazy) parents. His father was a Hungarian Jewish mathematical genius. When Fischer was only 7 he became obsessed with chess but had no one to play against and his mother was concerned that he was spending too much time alone playing against himself. She sent a postcard to place a classified ad in the local (Brooklyn) newspaper seeking other children for him to play with (this would not have worked anyway because he was already playing chess far beyond the level of other children his age). The paper did not know under what category to place the ad but miraculously they did not throw her postcard in the trash but connected him with the world of chess clubs. His genius was recognized immediately and from that point onward he receive appropriate top level mentorship. It was perhaps very lucky that she lived in NY and not in some rural area where there would have been no such chess infrastructure.

    • Agree: vhrm
  70. JimDandy says:
    @Dumbo

    In the orphanage, she does have a Strong Black Woman Best Friend who calls her “cracker” and, in adulthood, suddenly returns to her life in a deus ex machina moment to pull Ms. Cracker up out of the gutter with Magical Negress Wisdom.

    Am I kidding? Am I?

  71. JimDandy says:

    Jordan Peterson is fond of pointing out that the most egalitarian governments that give women the most rights produce the greatest differences between the sexes. Why does A lead to B?

    • Replies: @annon
    , @Rufus Clyde
  72. Alden says:
    @Anonymouse

    I’m no genius. I just noticed the names of every anti White activist, attorney etc who wasn’t black. Trinity is right when he says behind every black is a Jew. And the billions ADL AJC and the rest have at their disposal to genocide Whites.

  73. @Dumbo

    I think the only black characters were in the orphanage, but I was wondering would she have gone to a desegregated orphanage in 1950’s Kentucky? Was that normal?

  74. Have any other TV shows focused on chess? Mission Impossible did two episodes where Martin Landau and later Peter Graves posed as chess pros — hooked up to Barney out in a truck with a computer promptly dictating their next move. Now there’s an ending for this Netflix series.

    Sci-fi author Barry Malzberg did a brilliant short-short story, Closed Sicilian, where two old rivals play a game of chess for the fate of the galaxy, one of them having traitorously sided with the evil X’Thi. Needless to say, the narrator playing for Earth is a total loon, and since the story is so short you can guess how the game ends.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  75. JW says:
    @unit472

    Honnold in his interview with Joe Rogan said he’d thought being a world class climber was attractive to women.

  76. ic1000 says:

    By coincidence or synchronicity, Mrs. ic1000 and I binge-watched the first three or four episodes of “Queen’s Gambit” last night. Each of us found it “watchable,” faint praise that is high praise given the near ubiquity of anti-science wokeness in the shows Netflix greenlights.

    That said, it’s a peculiar production; I was puzzled by many of the director’s and screenwriters’ choices. For instance, it opens in 1950s rural Kentucky, but the characters have mid-Atlantic accents. Except a few that seem to affect a James Fenimore Cooper diction and vocabulary. If there’s a message, it wasn’t obvious to me.

    As mentioned above, there’s a nod to “Nature” in a flashback that shows the protagonist’s mother as a math genius. But mostly the show evades the Nature/Nurture controversy by charting Beth’s rise as a prodigy through chance encounters, tranquilizers, and alcohol. Like Tomb Raider Lara Croft, she grows into a knockout body, and her Best-Of chess status parallels Lara’s Best-Of ninja status — it just kinda happens, ‘cuz she’s awesome.

    Oh, and Teen Alienation from an oft-cruel and oft-uncaring world. Lots of that.

    So an awkward launch, and uncertainty as to where the showrunner plans to take the story arc.

  77. Alice says:
    @BB753

    My 3 sons ages 9-15 aren’t emasculated. They watch almost no TV, broadcast cable or netflix/Amazon. They have no need for fake grrrl power (their mother went to MIT at 16 and left w an SB in math and currently stays home and homeschools them.) Boys nowadays watch YouTube channels w minecraft speedruns and pvp contests, musicians, sword makers. They don’t do social media and they don’t hear feminism or CRT. What little TV they do watch is anime w strong male characters.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  78. I always though that Laszlo Polgar should have run his experiment on a random orphan gypsy kid. It would be impressive if he could have turned that kid into a chess genius

  79. George says:

    “In contrast, Bobby Fischer always did only what Bobby Fischer wanted to do. Short of abolishing the game and hiding all evidence it ever existed, I don’t know how you could have stopped Fischer from being a chess fanatic.”

    I was an incompetent chess player in the 70s and 80s, but I did play in the NYC area and was a FIDE low level member.

    There were multiple all day and all night chess club venues in NYC and numerous weekly tournaments with cash prizes. So a prodigy like Fischer had an entire world he could exist in, with many chess clubs filled with wealthy and wealthyish middle aged chess fanatics that treated him like the young Tiger Woods at the local country club. Fischer had local fame at a very young age and with it the approbation of numerous middle aged men with $$$ and impressive resumes. And when I say impressive resumes I mean NYC/World Class impressive. So that is what IMO propelled the young Fischer.

    Fischer never had to pay for drinks at:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Chess_Club

    As an early teen Fischer would also have played in tournaments at places like the Harvard Club, the Union Club and other fancy venues people have to make partner to get into. Club members with no interest in chess who wandered in would be informed that the kid, who’s game everyone was crowding around to watch, was the young Bobby Fischer. Imagine that when you were say 15. Chess tournaments also paid cash prizes that would have been significant for young Fischer.

  80. @Jack D

    “Geniuses seldom emerge from orphanages.”

    That’s true, something about being raised in an institution. But orphans per se haven’t done too badly, Moses and Mohammed for starters.

    (I see the UN call a child an orphan if only one parent is dead)

  81. nebulafox says:
    @Twinkie

    >In reality, accomplished geniuses (e.g. high level physicists) are maniacal workers. It’s just that what is seemingly a chore or boring grind to you and me (even if we understood it) are not so to such personalities.

    “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

    -Isaac Newton: who is a candidate for the most maniacally working genius of all time.

    Jack up the intensity and semi-voluntary compulsion by a factor of around 10000 or so, and that sums it the dynamic as well as any words can.

  82. nebulafox says:
    @Anonymouse

    >The thought processes of geniuses cannot be understo0d by us non-geniuses.

    Not necessarily. The experimental genius of a Da Vinci or a Faraday is not replicable, but it provides a lot that an ordinary person can learn from, above all on preserving a basic curiosity about life and learning how to observe what other people don’t bother to.

    Men like Newton and Einstein were gifted with mental processing powers beyond the comphension of most people and thus are tougher to learn from. But you can still learn from them. Einstein’s major breakthrough on special relativity came not because it was fancy math (general relativity was another story-Einstein had to go redraw his mathematical foundations for several years to pop out that baby!), but because it was counterintuitive math: he had the willingness to pursue it where no one else would go, to trust that it was right. Part of that was his second-to-none visualization abilities, but part of that was the kind of pluck that could serve you well in life.

    That was what doomed Fischer, I think, and he himself knew it. There came a time where his own brain’s power became his own worst enemy, when he started compulsively distrusting what it produced because he couldn’t distinguish madcap from genius, and he didn’t have a social network that could help him effectively filter it. Wasn’t a flaw of the intellect, it was a flaw of character turning intellect from a weapon into a curse. I’ve seen this dynamic elsewhere: it’s really awful to watch.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  83. conatus says:

    I saw it  a few weeks ago. I thought it was one of the better series I had seen on Netflix because there was little violence and little sex, two staples of most productions today. Also the woman as winner was credible because it wasn’t ‘Hannah’ (who weighed about 100 pounds), kicking the asses of 200 pound ex Ranger/LURP types, it was a woman winning in a contest not dependent upon physical strength.

    I also liked the throwback fifties/sixties time machine quality such as the old cars,  fifties decor(paint colors from childhood) and in particular,  a one second shot of the ashtray where the cig butts and ashes disappear beneath the two  with the push of the handle.

    Here is one you can buy at Walmart:
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Visol-Taz-Blue-and-Silver-Metal-Air-Tight-Push-Down-Cigarette-Ashtray/191800420?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1812

  84. Try to watch it but it soon turned unwatchable…the female genius that is also dizzingly hot and dresses to the latest fashion..despite growing up in an orphanage and fighting an out of control addiction…unbelievable crap

    • Replies: @Jack D
  85. prosa123 says:

    If chess is really so intellectual, there’s a strangely high number of excellent players in prisons 🙂

  86. TWS says:
    @Skylark Thibedeau

    I remember the drunk but I missed the orgy. We’re we watching the same show?

  87. @Percy Gryce

    Actually, the series only glosses over that part (which makes sense, since the intended audience is women) and largely focuses on the protagonist smoking, drinking, being chased by male and female prospective lovers and sticking it to the Man by beating him at his own game. And, of course, all the usual excuses to play dress up. Bonus PC points for the bossy black woman friend and the Russian final boss.

    It’s sad that so much money is poured in productions like this.

  88. Jack D says:
    @nebulafox

    Fischer came by both his genius and his mishegos (nuttiness) honestly – he inherited it from his parents. His father Nemenyi was a mathematical prodigy but also a nutcase. Nemenyi belonged to a Socialist party called the ISK, which believed that truth could be arrived at through neo-Kantian Socratic principles. He was an animal-rights supporter and refused to wear anything made of wool. In 1930, Nemenyi entrusted his 3 year old first son, Peter Nemenyi, to be looked after by the socialist vegetarian community, visiting him once a year. His mother was also quite bright and yet several sandwiches shy of a full picnic.

    Sometimes genius is associated with ‘spergy or even schizophrenic traits but other times it isn’t. By all accounts von Neumann, who definitely ranks in the top 10 or 20 of all time geniuses, was very well adjusted socially.

  89. @Anonymouse

    …imperceptible to ordinary non-geniuses…

    You sure about that?

    Pick a random inhabitant of Earth and ask him (or her) about Jews and conspiracies. What kind of answer do you think you’ll get?

    Answer truthfully now.

  90. Mr. Anon says:
    @Anonymous

    Fischer was ignorant, but not a dummy. When he was a kid, he went on a T.V show, and after demonstrating his chess prowess, they asked him what else he could do. So Regina Fischer told them to give Bobby a math problem. So they gave him a differential equation, and he solved it almost instantly in his head, without having to write it down. Again: not a dummy.

    I’m sure that never happened. No TV presenter would even know what a differential equation is, let alone know an example of one.

  91. Jack D says:

    If you think about it, the series is really a thinly disguised Roman à clef about Bobby Fischer but he has (like all stale pale males in 2020) been transformed into a female.

  92. Jack D says:
    @Andrei Illyich

    dizzingly hot and dresses to the latest fashion

    You really can’t reject a Hollywood production on this basis or you would have to reject almost all of them. Almost all Hollywood film stars as they appear on screen are more attractive looking and better dressed and made up than anyone in real life. People pay for fantasy. If you want to look at ugly people, you can do so for free at the nearest Wal-Mart. Very early in the history of the film business (and always remember it’s a business), movie producers realized that if you were going to look at someone on the screen for a couple of hours, it would better for business if the people on the screen (especially the females) were easy on the eyes. Audiences will not pay money to look at someone ugly for hours on end.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  93. JimDandy says:
    @Redneck farmer

    Because of his views on his people?

  94. Instead, she was the successful product of a nurture experiment by her parents to raise their daughters to be outstanding chess players (Judit was the youngest and best), rather like the Williams sisters in tennis and Tiger Woods in golf.

    And W A Mozart in music. Wolfi was no freak of nature. He earned it. He and Vati.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  95. @Rosie

    What I don’t understand is how you maintain your passion for the game being drilled like that.

    In the cases of Woods and Mozart, the release of being a brat.

    • LOL: Rosie
  96. @duncsbaby

    “middle brow”

    It’s where the action is.

    “bit of a drunk”

    Not all writers are dependent upon the spirits. I know a guy who takes mushrooms with his tea. Most grubby scribes require chemicals to face the day.

    “outsider”

    The writers I know are essentially anti-social; while blessed with numerous abilities they chose the precarious occupation of writer because it allows them solitude.

  97. @Andy

    “Hungarian Jews”

    Good list of suspects. You missed one, however: Dr. Emilio Lizardo. He believes in Science.

  98. Yes, there is a current vogue for alternative histories of the Sixties featuring some part of contemporary diversity:

    X-Men: First Class: The diverse mutants defuse the Cuban Missle Crisis

    For All Mankind (Apple TV): The Soviets beat the U.S. to the moon, which leads to a more diverse U.S. space program, which results in a permanent, nuclear-powered base on the moon by the mid-’80s.

    Queen’s Gambit: Female prodigy beats the Soviets at their own game but on her own terms.

  99. J.Ross says:

    But it’s all worth it for the scene where she self-exiles to Japan and blames Israel for IX/XI.

  100. J.Ross says:
    @BB753

    Not kids (one or two steps before), but we might ask Seth Rich, Ross Ulbricht, Gottfrid Svartholm, Aaron Svartz, and a few other young people who demonstrated real intellect and innovation and got smashed like a fly for it.

    • Thanks: Rufus Clyde
  101. @Andy

    Hungarian Jews are probably, on a per capita basis, the smartest people ever

    Even more specifically, Scott Alexander traced this amazing convergence (and subsequent diaspora) of talent to a particular high school and teacher in Budapest.

    The Atomic Bomb Considered As Hungarian High School Science Fair Project

    A group of Manhattan Project physicists created a tongue-in-cheek mythology where superintelligent Martian scouts landed in Budapest in the late 19th century and stayed for about a generation, after which they decided the planet was unsuitable for their needs and disappeared. The only clue to their existence were the children they had with local women.

    The joke was that this explained why the Manhattan Project was led by a group of Hungarian supergeniuses, all born in Budapest between 1890 and 1920. These included Manhattan Project founder Leo Szilard, H-bomb creator Edward Teller, Nobel-Prize-winning quantum physicist Eugene Wigner, and legendary polymath John von Neumann, namesake of the List Of Things Named After John Von Neumann.

    The coincidences actually pile up beyond this. Von Neumann, Wigner, and possibly Teller all went to the same central Budapest high school at about the same time, leading a friend to joke about the atomic bomb being basically a Hungarian high school science fair project.

    But maybe we shouldn’t be joking about this so much. Suppose we learned that Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach all had the same childhood piano tutor. It sounds less like “ha ha, what a funny coincidence” and more like “wait, who was this guy, and how quickly can we make everyone else start doing what he did?”

    In this case, the guy was Laszlo Ratz, legendary Budapest high school math teacher. I didn’t even know people told legends about high school math teachers, but apparently they do, and this guy features in a lot of them. There is apparently a Laszlo Ratz Memorial Congress for high school math teachers each year, and a Laszlo Ratz medal for services to the profession. There are plaques and statues to this guy. It’s pretty impressive. https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/05/26/the-atomic-bomb-considered-as-hungarian-high-school-science-fair-project/

    • Replies: @Andy
  102. OK, now do the new season of The Crown.

  103. @Jack D

    Von Neumann was probably so smart he could fake being socially adept.

  104. @Jack D

    Almost all Hollywood film stars as they appear on screen are more attractive looking and better dressed and made up than anyone in real life.

    My personal favorite example of this phenomenon is the schlocky Tom Cruise 1990 blockbuster Days of Thunder. Tom is a race car driver who keeps smacking his head when he crashes and much therefore get treatment for his brain injuries. As it turns out, however, the nation’s leading neurosurgeon happens to 23 year-old smoking-hot Nicole Kidman. It could happen.

  105. annon says:
    @JimDandy

    When asked in 2002 if she still desired to win the world championship she said, “Chess is my profession and of course I hope to improve. But I’m not going to give up everything to become world champion; I have my life.”

    That’s why.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  106. Muggles says:
    @Twinkie

    This subject reminds me of a truism.

    You learn the most by competing with the best. True in athletics as well as most other endeavors.

    That is the main (real) reason to attend any sort of elite school or training course. Not for status or resume burnishing but because you don’t know how really smart or good you are until you meet someone who can whip you or outscore you.

    The more talented or smart you are, the more important this is to know.

    I attended the same university as Steve here. When I arrived as a freshman from the sticks, first time in the Big City, word at freshman orientation was that two guys had scored perfect SATs. Back when it was very hard to do so. I did pretty well, I thought. Back home I was near the top. But here, I was running scared.

    Later I gained confidence and knew I could hold my own, in some but not all subjects. I was never cocky about “smarts.” The first to go out of my group were those who couldn’t accept the fact that they were no longer the smartest student in the class. I think top athletes also have to deal with this.

    Some of the most talented freshmen in college athletics fail quickly because they can’t accept coaching or the fact that they aren’t (any longer) among the “best.” Of course in academics there are no coaches or others who coddle you before you advance. In my case I faced being drafted into the Vietnam War if I flunked out. I suspect some washout collegiate athletes ended up there, unless they could manage a transfer elsewhere.

  107. Muggles says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I’ve read that the Asian strategy game “Go” is more challenging than chess ( which seemingly originated in what is now Iran.)

    Supercomputers like Watson are said to now be able to beat grand masters in both. Of course that’s due to iteration speeds and vast memory capacity.

    To me that’s like comparing a smart person (like most here) and their knowledge to some doofus who can come up with some obscure bit of knowledge only by doing a cell phone search.

    Tools are great but you have to know the right questions first.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  108. Muggles says:
    @jimmyriddle

    I guess doing very difficult, and apparently pointless, things for bragging rights is just very male behaviour.

    I guess female groupies is a counter example. Though perhaps not usually very difficult.

  109. Twinkie says:
    @Muggles

    I’ve read that the Asian strategy game “Go” is more challenging than chess

    East Asians have their own version of chess: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiangqi

    It’s similar to chess, but has Asian nuances (there is no queen, but the king has two guards; no bishop, but canons; the terrain is bisected by a river, etc.). And it is considered a game for children and less refined adults.

    Educated adults are supposed to play Go:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(game)

    Despite its relatively simple rules, Go is very complex. Compared to chess, Go has both a larger board with more scope for play and longer games, and, on average, many more alternatives to consider per move. The number of legal board positions in Go has been calculated to be approximately 2 × 10170,[11][a] which is vastly greater than the number of atoms in the known, observable universe, estimated to be about 1080.[13]

    There are professional leagues, and champions are minor celebrities.

    From my perspective, chess is very attritional (tit-for-tat), tactical, and battle-oriented. Go is deeply grand strategic and concentrates on territorial control (there could be unrelated “battles” raging at different corners of the board). The latter is a much subtler game.

  110. Twinkie says:
    @jimmyriddle

    I guess doing very difficult, and apparently pointless, things for bragging rights is just very male behaviour.

    Supposedly that demonstrates male sexual fitness like a peacock’s plume (“I can grow this beautiful plume AND still survive predators, because I am really fit and my genes are superior!”).

    • Replies: @Jack D
  111. Jack D says:
    @Twinkie

    Yeah, because chicks really dig chess nerds, stamp collectors, etc.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  112. It’s hilarious watching all you guys swear you’re not going to watch the show because of excessive wokeness when feminists and social justice types are busy complaining about Queen’s Gambit having not been written and directed by women while having only one black character and portraying the boys and men in Beth’s orbit as being uniformly gracious and supportive of her. A bit like the film from a few years back Brooklyn, the series never really has anything horrible happen to the heroine and realistically shows people mostly being nice to the attractive and polite young prodigy.

    In truth Walter Tevis who wrote the original novel was less interested in the you go girl aspects of the story than in exploring how addiction and compulsive behavior can keep the talented from realizing their potential. Tevis put a lot of himself into Beth– he was a chess enthusiast who spent time in a Kentucky orphanage and had a drinking problem for most of his adult life. It explains the nearly twenty year gap between his brilliant early novels The Hustler and The Man Who Fell to Earth and his late-career flowering with The Queen’s Gambit, Mockingbird, and The Color of Money.

    • Thanks: Twinkie
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  113. @Earl Lemongrab

    So Walter Tevis wrote what he knew — orphanage, addiction, career setbacks — and merged it with an exciting story a chess prodigy, which doesn’t fit together ideally, but sounds more entertaining than it could have been.

  114. I read the novel this was based on years ago!

    Like, thirty six years ago. It had some pretty interesting aspects — aspects which may well get smoothed out in the TV retelling. The girl had fairly serious mental issues, as I recall.

    Comes with growing up in orphanages and all that shit. She gets into chess playing with the janitor. It was pretty good. The book was written by a rated chess player, which made the matches interesting. That’ll probably be lost as well.

  115. ‘ I suspect girls are more influenced by societal expectations than boys are. ‘

    Hear hear. Hence the mildly depressing spectacle of so many of them going off and having careers they don’t particularly want to have.

  116. I might be willing to accept that the Polgar daughters were the product of a very focused upbringing, but I recall reading that one their Aunts ( A biological one ) was the a female grandmaster in chess as well, which could imply that there factors that were biological, although I can’t find a reference anywhere to it now.

  117. Keypusher says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    It’s set in the 60s, right? At the time
    Bobby Fischer himself said women can’t play chess and he could spot any woman in the world a knight and beat her (he couldn’t). So yeah, a man saying a woman can’t play chess then is not a reach.

    Of course there’s never been a female Bobby Fischer — a more or less lone genius. That Bobby Fischer is a woman in this series is the price we pay for wokeness, I guess. The price could have been heavier. As a chess fanatic, I’m sufficiently excited about the series (Gary Kasparov picked the games) that I’m willing to lump that.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  118. Keypusher says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Bobby Fischer wore bespoke suits to every event he played in. There would be some event in the tropics, the Soviets would be wearing sport shirts, Fischer would be wearing a suit.

    • Replies: @anonymous as usual
  119. Keypusher says:
    @Percy Gryce

    Basically she has Bobby Fischer’s parents, in other words.

    Obviously someone at Netflix said, let’s do a Bobby Fischer miniseries, but make him a girl.

  120. Andy says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    good, didn’t know about this teacher

  121. @Andy

    Chess tends to be among the whitest of activities.

    As Anonymouse mentions above, I recall that it is (or used to be) a common sight in New York City, in the summer, to see black guys playing chess in public parks and spaces. A few would offer to play interested any interested passersby for (small) money. But yes, very few black guys, let alone black women, play at the rated, tournament level, or make it to grandmaster.

    • Agree: Andy
  122. Rosie says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    youngest and best

    I wonder if being the youngest had anything to do with being the best (more practice with older sisters). Birth order is fascinating to me. My oldest, youngest, and one of my middles are textbook cases.

  123. Rosie says:
    @Keypusher

    Bobby Fischer himself said women can’t play chess and he could spot any woman in the world a knight and beat her (he couldn’t). So yeah, a man saying a woman can’t play chess then is not a reach.

    Indeed. I also thought that was a strange claim. Of course, it would be strange nowadays.

  124. Twinkie says:
    @Jack D

    Yeah, because chicks really dig chess nerds, stamp collectors, etc.

    I don’t know about all that, but chess is a competitive game with champs who are considered brilliant while stamp collecting is a solitary hobby. Why would you conflate the two? That it’s both for nerds?

  125. Dan Hayes says:
    @El Dato

    But Iceland never threw Fischer overboard! Three cheers for Iceland and its faithful people!!

  126. Keypusher says:
    @Hibernian

    Tards of a feather flock together.

    It’s funny, there’s a good conspiracy theory waiting out there about JFK. Because he was shot, a master legislator (which Kennedy wasn’t) became president. Johnson never could have won the presidency himself and he never could have generated the momentum that Kennedy’s “martyrdom” gave him. So the assassination made it possible to pass transformative civil rights laws. (Not Hart-Cellar, which no one thought at the time was a big deal and which would have passed no matter who was president.)

    But all we ever get is Vietnam and “military-industrial complex” crap. Or maybe Fidel.

    Another good conspiracy theory would be Reagan-Hinckley. A sort-of true conservative gets shot and the Deep State’s man, GHW Bush, takes the helm. But Reagan failed to die, so no one ever wasted any neurons on that. Or the two ladies who tried to kill President Ford, god help them.

    Oswald was a lone nut who killed a president. Hinckley, Fromme, and Sara Jane Moore were lone nuts who failed to kill a president. Deal with it.

    • Replies: @fnn
    , @Rufus Clyde
  127. @PiltdownMan

    The family member I mentioned above could beat guys like this and make a few bucks in NY City. We went there once, and yeah he beat some of these guys and it felt good (to me too!). It helped that they thought he was some rube. You had to keep on them for the cash though.

    I haven’t read all the comments yet – looking forward to it.

  128. The show is pretty well made, of course they had to up the gay stuff.

    This show has that same quality as many books and movies about real life famous genius types in all fields; at the end you don’t understand them any better than at the beginning. Maybe because the authors and filmmakers are not geniuses?

  129. @tertius

    Never read the book. I may pick it up now.

  130. The Polgar sisters are interesting evidence supporting the Social Constructionist viewpoint. I suspect girls are more influenced by societal expectations than boys are. Judit Polgar is a pretty normal woman (she’s married to a surgeon and has two children). I suspect if she’d been raised by a different family, she wouldn’t have become a professional chess player.
    In contrast, Bobby Fischer always did only what Bobby Fischer wanted to do. Short of abolishing the game and hiding all evidence it ever existed, I don’t know how you could have stopped Fischer from being a chess fanatic.

    Bobby actually lived with the Polgar’s for a bit. Judith remembers him fondly even though he was really pretty much flat out nuts at that point.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  131. @Anonymous

    Back in the 50s you could do this on the more sophisticated radio quiz shows, all of them completely forgotten today –

    phrase a differential equation as a math word problem.

    SO….
    start with an

    algebra word problem – Mr A leaves Penn Station on a train for LA that goes 50 miles an hour, 10 hours later Mr B leaves Penn Station on a train for LA that goes 60 miles an hour.
    How far from Penn Station does Mr B’s train go before it catches up with Mr A’s train….
    then switch it up a little to get a

    differential equation word problem —– exact same, but say “goes 50 miles an hour, and increases an average of 1 mile an hour” instead of “50 miles an hour”, and say “that goes 60 miles an hour and increases an average of 1 mile an hour” instead of “60 miles an hour”.

    I bet there are a million Americans right here and now in 2021 who could answer that without using pen and paper. But there is no audience for it on the radio, at least not on AM radio.

    That being said, I do get nostalgic for the days when Michael Savage was younger and fuller of vim and vigor and fuller of great information on bio-pharmaceuticals and Henry Miller’s failures and triumphs, and why Jack Kerouac was the only one of the Beat poets who did not consider himself a phony.

    I may not have mentioned this before, but I know A LOT about old time radio, the radio from the 60s and 70s that is forgotten, unrecorded, and which will never be understood ever ever again by anyone born after 1960.

    Or maybe I am just rambling on about things that neither I nor you nor anyone knows much about.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  132. @Keypusher

    If that is true about the bespoke suits he probably was not autistic, and I retract my previous claim that he was.

    Bespoke suits are the epitome of the opposite of not dressing in an autistic way.

    But something was going on in that weird noggin of his that should not be going on in anyone’s head, it is certainly a very very small reward to be a good chess player when the sacrifice you make is the sort of sacrifice that makes people think you are autistic.

  133. Keypusher says:
    @Anonymous

    “Iceland, where he had been living since 1992.”

    Since that is utter bullshit, I assume the rest of the article is also utter bullshit.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  134. pyrrhus says:
    @duncsbaby

    It is based on Tevis’s book, and its quite an entrancing alternate reality where an orphaned Kentucky girl learns chess in an orphanage and finds it’s a path out…Set in the same time period as Fischer’s rise to international fame, but much more charming…As a former chess master, I enjoyed it, and especially the ending…

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  135. @pyrrhus

    So it’s the author’s life story, plus Bobby Fischer’s life story, but with a girl protagonist. Sounds fairly audacious from a creative standpoint, but it would be fun if it works.

    • Replies: @duncsbaby
  136. duncsbaby says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The book definitely works. I enjoyed the hell out of it as I did all of Tevis’s books. Like I said he ain’t high literature but as SunBakedSuburb said middle-brow is where the action is.

  137. Polistra says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Requires a future time orientation.

  138. @duncsbaby

    no no no the action is not middle-brow action

  139. @Alice

    That’s true. And what is interesting is that the boys make that choice. My son could watch Netflix or TV but he prefers male YouTubers and Anime. At some point the advertising industry may realize what they‘ve done. Or maybe women control spending decisions in most households so advertisers are just fine with the way things are developing.

  140. @Twinkie

    And it is considered a game for children and less refined adults.

    (Chinese) Chess is vastly more popular in China than Go.

    Go is more of a historical curiosity than a living game in China.

    P.S. Xiangqi seems to me to be even more tactical and battle-oriented than standard chess. Chess feels like a long battle of attrition and trench warfare, while xiangqi is like a series of chess puzzles.

  141. @kaganovitch

    …even though he was really pretty much flat out nuts at that point.

    Was he really? Seems like he was a normal but brash man who got punished and slandered by the (((media))) for broaching The Question publicly.

  142. @Anonymous

    “The United States of America is a political, institutional and juridical fraud controlled by hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards.”

    Fischer didn’t finish his life gracefully.

    But he finished it honestly.

  143. @MEH 0910

    Thanks — the people who compile these things must be a little nuts themselves. Of course one big TV boost for chess was Spock’s beautiful multi-level board on Star Trek.

  144. Seneca44 says:
    @Mr. Anon

    I have seen it and think your review is too charitable.

  145. @Anon

    The “serious” version of Borat has been playing in America for my entire life–heck it is public life in America now.

    Why would i need to have it rubbed in my face, with the pretense that it’s funny?

  146. Haven’t worked the comment stack, so can’t say if anyone else has noted this. (I did a search on “animation” and “cartoon”.)

    At Netflix to watch something or another–maybe the midwife thing–with AnotherMom, the Queen’s Gambit ad/preview popped up.

    And at first, i thought it might be some sort of animated real-life computer generated thing. The girl just did not look fully real. More like half-cartoon. Maybe like those new true-to-life sexbots that the Japanese are supposedly producing.

    I realize it’s her makeup, but the actress clearly has a weird, distinct cartoonish look. Her eyes definitely–perhaps mostly. Maybe her cheeks, nose, shape of lips, face, smoothness of skin–not sure. Attractive girl, but definitely a bit odd. With the makeup and hairstyle they really make her look otherworldly.

  147. @personfellowindividual

    I agree. Our Leader Sailer mentioning it was enough for me to take a second look at it, and your recommendation got me to take a look. Not bad so far! Unrealistic, but the heroine’s nerdy intensity is convincing. A cross between Mad Men, Anne with an E, and The Big Bang Theory? Let’s just say she has superpowers.

  148. @jimmyriddle

    I guess doing very difficult, and apparently pointless, things for bragging rights is just very male behaviour.

    It’s not just that, males are by necessity interested in conflict.

    So guys are interested in direct physical conflict–ergo “sports”. But also interested in strategy, tactics and “gear”. How would i organize to ambush or surprise or have superior position on the enemy. How can i make our spears better than their spears. These are all things which naturally appeal to the male brains–with various males skewing toward this or that type of interest.

    BTW, as this is Steve’s blog, the appeal of golf to heterosexual males clearly involves the combination of several of these elements–male competition, trajectories, projectile distance and accuracy, reading the terrain, being outside (and of course the beer girl).

  149. JimDandy says:
    @duncsbaby

    What contemporary of Tevi was writing high literature, in your opinion?

  150. @Dumbo

    Today I learned about this guy:

    Maurice Ashley (born March 6, 1966) is a Jamaican-American chess grandmaster, author, and commentator.[1][2] In 1999 he earned the grandmaster title (GM),[3] making him the first black person to attain the title of grandmaster.[4]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Ashley

    The interesting thing to me about chess is (almost) everybody thinks chess players are smart, that you need to be smart to play chess well, and the smarter chess player has a clear advantage over the less smarter chess player. In Peak Anders Ericsson takes some pains to say that this is kind of bunk.

  151. ltravail says:
    @personfellowindividual

    I just stumbled upon the show myself and have sort of been binge-watching. I agree with you wholeheartedly. It’s a well-crafted, well-acted, and entertaining show with none of the noxious “woke” messaging we’ve come to expect from streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime (so far). Though fictional, it is not at all implausible. It’s an interesting romp through the world of high-stakes world-class competitive chess (at least in the 1960s pre-Bobby Fisher). The protagonist being an orphaned girl on the verge of physiologically and mentally blossoming into womanhood adds a fascinating “coming-of-age” dimension to the story. There are almost no other Netflix or Prime original productions that I’d recommend to anyone, or would even bother to watch myself (after seeing the trailers). But I’d recommend this one (along with perhaps “Black Mirror”). It is engaging, charming, and non-controversial in any way, shape, or form – unless someone wants to make an issue of the likelihood of a female genius chess player in an overwhelmingly male and macho mental sport. In fact, it’s refreshingly almost “old fashioned” in its portrayed values. I wouldn’t call it “must see” TV. But there certainly is satisfaction and enjoyment to be found in the program.

    • Replies: @anonymous as usual
  152. JimDandy says:
    @annon

    Thanks. Have a little patience with me, please–Peterson seems to be saying that in a fundamentalist Muslim country where women are given very few rights, there are fewer temperamental (etc.) differences between the genders than in a country like, say, Sweden. I appreciate the anecdote you shared, but can you spell it out a little more? Thanks.

  153. fnn says:
    @Keypusher

    Yes, Oswald definitely killed J.D. Tippit. If he wasn’t the assassin of JFK why did he kill Tippit? Only black males go around shooting people willy-nilly, and probably not even them much in 1963 Dallas.

  154. Lagertha says:

    it’s the usual propaganda about women being stronger than men. Boring. The first 2 shows bored me to sleep.

  155. bomag says:
    @MEH 0910

    Thanks.

    Unmentioned is my personal favorite, George RR Martin’s Unsound Variations, though it was in the nice anthology Pawn to Infinity, and his book Portraits of his Children.

  156. @ltravail

    “not at all implausible”

    —-

    as the saying goes, let’s look at this with a little more desire to understand:

    Years of chess history: several thousand

    Number of females , in all those thousands of years, who did well at chess in a way that made the top males nervous: zero.

    … but maybe, if you want to stretch the point, about one every 400 hundred years in smaller nations.

    Get back to me after you looked up the word “implausible”.

    It is plausible that, in say, some small country, the chess clubs get excited because for the first time in living memory a female is winning against the second tier and is not afraid to play against the first tier – but, on the other hand, in that small country, first tier is basically second tier, or third or fourth tier, if you look at it from a world-wide view.

    It is not very plausible that, in a large country, much less in the entire chess world, such a thing would happen. The statistical evidence of ZERO females, over thousands of years of a sport, reaching the actual top of the sport —– that is sort of important evidence to consider before saying something is “plausible”.

    • Agree: European-American
    • Replies: @ltravail
  157. @JimDandy

    Peterson never misses an opportunity to pass off some vague and glib comment as reasoned analysis. He remains a first-rank idiot’s smart person.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  158. @Jack D

    “An occasional heavy drinker, Von Neumann was an aggressive and reckless driver, supposedly totaling a car every year or so. According to William Poundstone’s Prisoner’s Dilemma, “an intersection in Princeton was nicknamed “Von Neumann Corner” for all the auto accidents he had there.” (p.25)

    His colleagues found it “disconcerting” that upon entering an office where a pretty secretary worked, von Neumann habitually would “bend way way over, more or less trying to look up her dress.” (Steve J. Heims, John Von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, 1980, quoted in Prisoner’s Dilemma, p.26) Some secretaries were so bothered by Von Neumann that they put cardboard partitions at the front of their desks to block his view.”
    Sounds like a great guy.

  159. @Keypusher

    I like to imagine the supper conversation between Neil Bush and Scott Hinckley on March 31, 1980, had the assassination attempt been successful and their engagement gone off as scheduled:
    NB: “Isn’t it awful that the President was shot and killed, and now my Dad is the President?”
    SH: “It really is awful that my brother shot and killed the President and now your Dad is the President”.

    If there’s any more stark evidence of Oswald as an angry lone nut, it’s surely his relationship with George de Mohrenschildt. Was there ever a better match made in heaven than a high-school dropout communist lunatic and a cosmopolitan geologist who knew Jacqueline Bouvier and H.L. Hunt and was a member of the Texas Crusade for Freedom?

    Deal with it indeed.

    • Replies: @fnn
  160. ltravail says:
    @anonymous as usual

    Lighten up, my friend. It’s just a piece of entertainment, a story, fiction. But the story has plausibility, which is what makes it interesting and engaging. Now whether it has happened before, is “historical”, is not important. Even your own comment does not rule out the very plausible notion that it could happen at some point in the future. The notion that NASA sent 12 men to the moon and back more than 50 years ago is an example of implausibility – especially when nothing remotely close to that alleged feat has been attempted, much less succeeded, since then. As we see here, sometimes fiction is far more plausible than supposed fact.

    • Replies: @anonymous as usual
  161. @ltravail

    Thank you for your informed comment, every word of which I agree with (I know that sounds like bad English, but it is basically the way W.C. Fields used to talk).

    I will certainly seek out your comments in the future. AD MULTOS ANNOS AMICE

  162. @personfellowindividual

    OK I watched it to the end but got thoroughly fed up with the “feminist” fantasy. Imagine if Bobby Fischer had been a pretty pixie who wore great fashion in lovely settings… Spoiler alert: she wins the world championship at the end and everyone is real happy for her. What a great victory for us all!

    We should rewrite all history, replacing the inevitable and oh-so-boring men with pretty girls wearing excellent clothes while kicking ass. Socrates was a sexy babe who set the male Greek philosophy world on its ear. Alexandra the Great proved skeptics wrong by conquering the male-dominated world while wearing lovely shoes. Etc., etc., etc. I Did It My Way, they all sing! Hidden figures finally out in full view! What a beautiful and emotionally satisfying world.

  163. Maya says:

    I think the reasoning of the plot was nature finding a way.

    Beth’s mother had a PhD, but she was severely mentally ill. I think they hint at bipolar, among other things.

    So Beth is portrayed as precocious, brilliant, in need of mental stimulation, emotionally unstable and prone to self-medication.

    Other orphans didn’t pick up on the janitor playing chess by himself, let along demand that he teach them. Nor did the other orphans break into the pharmacy when Valium was no longer issued to them. Beth did because she was naturally predisposed both to succeed in mental exercise and to develop serious addictions. She also seems to display signs of bipolar throughout the mini series. Lastly, obsessively studying chess (reading books on it and replaying matches from books in her mind while staring at the ceiling at night) and sedatives are shown to be her two major coping mechanisms while at the orphanage. And she did have a teacher.

    But, of course, it’s a tv show, so it’s not meant to reflect reality more than a fable or a fairy tale. Let’s not pretend that tv distorts reality only in the way that aligns with the social justice message. American TV, especially, likes to portray everyone as much more attractive than reasonable, and life stories as having meaning and reason for the way they unfold. With hope, love and redemption as everpresent undercurrents. That’s why American narrative art is so popular around the world.

  164. JimDandy says:
    @Rufus Clyde

    Ok, thanks. But I guess what I’m trying to learn is what Peterson would say the reason for this is. He’s not returning my calls.

    • Replies: @Rufus Clyde
  165. fnn says:
    @Rufus Clyde

    Oswald really was fluent in Russian and liked to speak it. He was a high school dropout, but he had a reasonably high IQ-coincidentally the same as JFK’s.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Rufus Clyde
  166. @fnn

    A social worker wrote an analysis of the adolescent Lee Harvey Oswald saying he was not untalented but headed for bad things.

  167. @fnn

    Was he really? There is no reason to believe that. Regardless, it hardly constitutes the basis for a relationship between de Morenschildt and Oswald. I have read that Oswald’s IQ was 103. Again, he was allegedly an ardent communist, this political ideology constituting the basis for his motive to kill JFK. Sounds like an ideal candidate to be pals with de Mohrenschildt.

  168. @unit472

    Felix Baumgartner

    No apparent relation to Bruce, the wrestler who was so well-regarded that he carried the American flag into the Olympic stadium the last time we hosted in 1996, or Brian, the actor who played Kevin on The Office. The name means “tree gardener” and Wikipedia lists 23 of them, plus the close James Bumgarner, who acted under the name

    [MORE]
    James Garner.

  169. @Keypusher

    He had been living in exile from the US since 1992, and was granted Icelandic citizenship in 2005, living there until his death in 2008. So I wouldn’t say it was “utter bullshit”.

    • Replies: @Keypusher
  170. @Jack D

    It was perhaps very lucky that she lived in NY and not in some rural area

    I suppose “lucky” is one word for the phenomena of (((Regina Wender))) living in Brooklyn.

  171. @Twinkie

    If you’re going to steal from Wikipedia, at least steal the formatting so we can understand the numbers.

  172. @anonymous as usual

    I know A LOT about old time radio, the radio from the 60s and 70s that is forgotten, unrecorded, and which will never be understood ever ever again by anyone born after 1960

    Bob and Ray?

  173. MEH 0910 says:

  174. bolteric says:

    Bobby Fischer’s life and chess have become somewhat of an obsession for me recently. Though I have not played a meaningful game – I can begin to teach my elder son. Clearly the producers of Queen’s Gambit intend to obfuscate Fischer’s life because of his problematic views throughout his life regarding the group he was born into. I was first alerted to this by an author who I won’t name, but who I think has done interviews with David Duke. I found it fascinating that a man could go through such a profound religious conversion and take aim at the culture that produced him. No doubt he was forced into the life he lived, the obsession, the rebelliousness, the genius and pure dominance of will – perhaps in no small measure due to the absence of a father.

    Here are a couple curios that I have come across:

    https://everything2.com/title/Bizarre+anti-Semitic+interview+with+Bobby+Fischer

    His “illegal” burial and the removal of a crucifix on his gravestone:

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/grave-of-bobby-fisher
    Scroll to the bottom for “As of July 2019, the cross on Fischer’s grave is no longer present.”

    I am also intrigued to read his final biography by an Icelandic friend, Helgi Olafsson, Bobby Fischer Comes Home. I do need some clarification from other readers if this is one that delves into his political and religious beliefs that have had to be whitewashed.

    However, after a more careful search the better volume might be Bobby Fischer -The Final Years by Gardar Sverrisson. This for one is NOT available on Amazon.

  175. Bolteric says:

    Correction: the later biography does appear for sale on Amazon, but I decided to go through a chess vendor out of Alabama.

    Also see:

    https://www.kveller.com/9-jewish-facts-about-the-queens-gambit-that-will-move-you/

  176. Keypusher says:
    @ScarletNumber

    I’ll bear that in mind when I read your posts in the future.

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