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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Got Real Chess Talent?

This has been around awhile but maybe you haven’t seen it. GM Jonathan Levitt created a simple, self-test to determine chess aptitude. This test is discussed in his book, 'Genius in Chess.'  All it requires is a clock, board, one white knight, and one black queen.  Place the white knight on square b1. Place the black queen on square d4. The knight has to move up the ranks, visiting the squares that are not controlled by the Black Q in order.
      So you visit c1, e1, f1, h1 then a2, c2, e2, g2, h2, and so on until you reach g8.  During the test you cannot take the black queen or put the knight en prise.
      Only do the test once, and time yourself. Supposedly if you can’t do the test in ten minutes or less on the first try then according to Levitt, you don’t have real chess talent.
      This was a lot harder than it looks and I won’t reveal my score but will only say it showed what I already knew: I don’t have real talent. GM Matthew Sadler completed the test in 4 min. and 20 sec. GM Michael Adams in 5 min. and 30 sec. GM Julian Hodgson 7 min.


  1. 5 minutes even, and I'm just in the 1800s USCF. I guess that means I have a lot of headroom? I am much better at logic puzzles than I am at chess...

  2. I think GM Levitt needs to read a book entitled, "Talent is Overrated." It is book about how hard work and deliberate practice are more often the cause of success. I don't totally agree with the premise of the book in that he thinks there is NO such thing as innate talent or proclivities. But I also think that GM Levitt's test is silly. It is like IQ tests or the SAT for college. I know plenty of people who go GREAT scores on the SAT and performed barely above average in college.

    Tests like these are borderline useless. I won't even take the test because I don't want it to influence me either way.