Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chess Paranoia

I have read about chess tournaments since the days of Bobby Fisher, though I am a poor player myself.  Reading about the lead-up to this year's World Championship, I was struck again by how frequently flat paranoia seems to enter the picture.  Is it because many of the players come from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, from environments where paranoia might not be that unreasonable?  (Note also there are many top Jewish players, and used to be more.)

Does paranoia confer some advantage, whether in the skill, the intensity, or the psychology?

Or perhaps most likely, is there a cast of mind which is extreme in over-interpreting simple things, which leads to both paranoia in everyday life and protective caution in chess?

4 comments:

james said...

If paranoia were such an advantage in chess, you'd think it would be an advantage in other games, such as go. You need to compare to a popular game in order to get the statistics.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

There is some compilation of psychoanalytic articles on cultural subjects, 2 red volumes in a red box case, has an article about the chess world champion from New Orleans in the mid 19th century, absolutely lovely story.

Hugh Lygon said...

it's neither.

thanks for your incompetent insight/

the reason is that immoral and crazy people can expend their eneergy on stupid, useless things like drama or "the arts" or chess.

very likely sexual deviants are also over-represented.

Hugh Lygon said...

and I say that as a former chess player.

i never read any books on the game.

so my limited facility i can explain by blaming myself or blaming my lack of study.

so naturally i chose lack of study.

but i made it to USCF "expert" level without study.

so there chess nerds!