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Psychology

A children's chess tournament in the United States

There is an extensive scientific literature on chess psychology.Unknown extension tag "ref"Unknown extension tag "ref"<ref>De Groot & Gobet (1996)</ref><ref>Gobet, de Voogt, & Retschitzki (2004) </ref><ref>Holding (1985)</ref><ref>Saariluoma (1995)</ref> Alfred Binet and others showed that knowledge and verbal, rather than visuospatial, ability lies at the core of expertise.<ref>Binet (1894)</ref><ref>Robbins (1996), pp. 83–93</ref> In his doctoral thesis, Adriaan de Groot showed that chess masters can rapidly perceive the key features of a position.<ref>de Groot (1946)</ref> According to de Groot, this perception, made possible by years of practice and study, is more important than the sheer ability to anticipate moves. De Groot showed that chess masters can memorize positions shown for a few seconds almost perfectly. The ability to memorize does not alone account for chess-playing skill, since masters and novices, when faced with random arrangements of chess pieces, had equivalent recall (about half a dozen positions in each case). Rather, it is the ability to recognize patterns, which are then memorized, which distinguished the skilled players from the novices. When the positions of the pieces were taken from an actual game, the masters had almost total positional recall.<ref>Richards J. Heuer, Jr. Psychology of Intelligence Analysis Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency 1999 (see Chapter 3).</ref>

More recent research has focused on chess as mental training; the respective roles of knowledge and look-ahead search; brain imaging studies of chess masters and novices; blindfold chess; the role of personality and intelligence in chess skill; gender differences; and computational models of chess expertise. The role of practice and talent in the development of chess and other domains of expertise has led to a lot of research recently. Ericsson and colleagues have argued that deliberate practice is sufficient for reaching high levels of expertise in chess.<ref>Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. Th., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance.  PDF (1.25 MB) Psychological Review, 100, 363–406. Retrieved 20 May 2010.</ref> Recent research indicates that factors other than practice are also important. For example, Fernand Gobet and colleagues have shown that stronger players started playing chess at a young age and that experts born in the Northern Hemisphere are more likely to have been born in late winter and early spring. Chess players are more likely to be non-right-handed, though they found no correlation between handedness and skill.<ref>Gobet, F. & Chassy, P. (in press). Season of birth and chess expertise.  PDF (65.8 KB) Journal of Biosocial Science.
Gobet, F. & Campitelli, G. (2007). The role of domain-specific practice, handedness and starting age in chess. PDF (196 KB) Developmental Psychology, 43, 159–172. Both retrieved 2007-07-15.</ref>

Chess and intelligence

Although the link between performance in chess and general intelligence is often assumed, researchers have largely failed to confirm its existence.<ref>Binet, A. (1966). Mnemonic virtuosity: A study of chess players. Genetic Psychology, Monographs, 74, 127–162</ref> For example, a 2006 study found no differences in fluid intelligence, as measured by Raven's Progressive Matrices, between strong adult chess players and regular people.<ref>Unterrainer, J. M., Kaller, C. P., Halsband U., & Rahm. B. (2006). Planning abilities and chess: A comparison of chess and non-chess players on the Tower of London. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 299–311.</ref> There is some evidence towards a correlation between performance in chess and intelligence among beginning players. However, performance in chess also relies substantially on one's experience playing the game, and the role of experience may overwhelm the role of intelligence. Chess experts are estimated to have in excess of 10,000 and possibly as many as 300,000 position patterns stored in their memory; long training is necessary to acquire that amount of data.<ref name="Bilalic">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

A 2007 study of young chess players in the United Kingdom found that strong players tended to have above-average IQ scores, but, within that group, the correlation between chess skill and IQ was moderately negative, meaning that smarter children tended to achieve a lower level of chess skill. This result was explained by a negative correlation between intelligence and practice in the elite subsample, and by practice having a higher influence on chess skill.<ref name="Bilalic" />


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Psychology
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