How smart are chess grandmasters

Chess: Smart through chess

Don't despair - you can still become a politician, ”said Peer Steinbrück, SPD candidate for Chancellor in 2013, two-time resident and also a good chess player, to worried parents whose children had to repeat school classes.

That reminds me of the multiple Russian chess master Peter Swidler, a man also bursting with intelligence, full of self-irony, who once explained how he became a chess player: “In Russia you first look to see whether a child is mathematically or scientifically gifted, I couldn't do that serve. Then the musical aptitude is checked, again negative for me. That's how I became a chess player. "

The wife of the multiple World Cup candidate Viktor Korchnoi, who incidentally has (had) a high opinion of the medical profession in her job as a pharmaceutical representative, once told me that many chess players are stupid, but this is more likely to be her exquisite opinion. In general, it is said that chess players are not rarely unworldly, but that they mostly have a good intelligence.

After numerous studies have shown that chess as a school subject significantly improves the general grade average even in so-called hot-spot schools with a high proportion of migrants, i.e. not only in mathematics, school chess is flourishing more and more in Germany and elsewhere. “Chess makes you smart”, advertises the “Munich Chess Foundation”. Presumably in the spirit of the Federal President a. D. Richard von Weizsäcker: "The sport of chess promotes skills such as concentration, good observation and comprehension, ability to combine and perseverance, skills that are generally useful in life."

Still, I was amazed when I read in the “New York Times” some time ago that games that train the brain - isn't that kind of chess par excellence ?! - Improved cognitive skills in people of all ages. And almost in the blink of an eye. In a study by Jäggi six IQ points after only six hours of training - maybe after the next German Medical Championship all participants will understand the theory of relativity ?!

Unfortunately (or fortunately ?!) the results could not be confirmed, nor does Homo sapiens have to strive long-term. “No hard work, no gain”, is written above the portal of the Bamberg Luitpold School - but why only accompanied by the ugly and chilling grimace of a monster?

I don't know Dr. med. Ralf-Alexander Schön before and after the renowned “Böblinger Open”, in any case he succeeded in creating “clever” combinations that were worth seeing, not least the one against Alexander Häckler.

How could he win quickly and beautifully after a previous runner sacrifice as white on the move?


The queen sacrifice 1. Qxh6! Black was allowed to go after 1.. . . Bxh6 2. Nf7 mate not accept. So only 1. remained. . . Kg8, but now the lively king's drive went with 2. Nf7! Kf8 3. Qxg7 + Ke8 4. Nd6 + continue - after that Black had finally had enough of the abuse, which in his case may not be intelligence-promoting.