Science & Technology

How the best chess players affect the people around them, and why it matters

We talked in detail about who Best chess player That’s why it’s so difficult to estimate (when comparing players from different years, there really isn’t a clear conclusion). To make it even more complicated, there also seems to be stylistic or psychological implications, in addition to all the difficulties that make comparisons very difficult. Some chess players have a “superstar” aura around them, and their opponents may play differently than usual.

In a new study, two US researchers investigated the superstar effect and found significant results. Their findings not only reveal who the best chess player in history really is, but also the psychological relationships that exist not only in chess (and popular competitive games), but also in the work environment. Helps you understand better.

Fisher was famous for putting immeasurable pressure on his opponents.

Legendary chess player Bobby Fischer once said, “I don’t believe in psychology — I believe in good moves.” Fisher took over the Soviet “chess machine” in 1972 and became a world champion, virtually destroying all the opposition he encountered along the way. Although Fisher’s rule was relatively short (he withdrew from top chess after a disagreement with the chess federation), he is still considered one of the best (if not). NS Best) Historical chess player. At that time, Fisher was almost universally feared by the board. Former World Champion Boris Spassky declared: [Fischer], It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. It’s a matter of whether you survive. “

This psychological impact of chess superstars like Fisher is well known and widely discussed not only in the chess world, but also in other sports and workplaces. Large companies often try to hire “superstar employees,” but it’s not clear if this will have a positive or negative impact on the company as a whole (and other employees).

This study, led by Eren Bilen, focused on chess because this centuries-old game provides a lucrative way to eliminate confounding factors and unwanted effects.

To get started, chess is a game of complete knowledge — both players look at the entire board and know what’s going on. It’s also a game where both players play the same piece doing the same thing. The only difference is that one moves first and the other moves next.

In addition, computer algorithms are now much better than humans in chess, so analyze the games (and individual movements) to see not only who played well, but which games were more complex. Can also be used for.

“I’m fortunate to be able to answer this interesting question with the help of neural networks,” Bilen told ZME Science by email. “Using such a network, we can estimate how” complex “or” creative “a particular chess game was. For example, if a player follows theory and exchanges all pieces at any time and the game ends in a draw, for example 15 moves, the network identifies the game as an uncomplicated game. “

The team has noticed that the effects of superstars are always negative — at least directly. In other words, when other players play superstars, they always seem to perform worse than usual. However, indirect effects can be positive. When playing in an event where superstars are also present, other players will perform better than usual, but only if the superstars are not very dominant.

Chess superstar

File: FIDE World FR Chess Championship 2019-Magnus Carlsen.jpg
Current world chess champion Magnus Carlsen.

When it comes to the ultimate chess superstar (the best player ever), it’s impossible to be completely objective, but you’ll usually see a few names. The three most common to appear are Fisher, Garry Kasparov, and Magnus Carlsen (current World Champion).

The three have different arguments to support their claim to the “best ever” title. Fisher dominated the world of chess with authority that was not seen before or after, but only for a few years. Kasparov has been at the top for about 20 years, and Karlsen is now an undisputed champion for almost a decade, but opposes the field of unprecedented strength.

To take a deeper look at these games, researchers also looked at the complexity of the games and how “troublesome” or difficult it is to play against these superstars. According to research, it is Fisher who holds the crown here.

“The most complex game we’ve seen was Fisher, followed by Kasparov. In other words, when you play against Fisher, you’re definitely faced with a very complex game and can be full of tactics. Being sexual, you can see that he outperforms you with better techniques, as does Kasparov, “explains Billen.

Garry Kasparov

“Of course, you might ask: is it Fisher or another player who starts the’trouble’? The answer is that it’s a combination of the two. If you are a higher rated player (as in the case of Fisher, Kasparov, or Karlsen), you can make the game more complex and show how skilled you are compared to your opponents. Certainly there is an incentive to do so. For example, if you’re playing a boring game where you keep exchanging pieces, the game probably ends in a draw because there aren’t enough pieces left to give the board an edge. Therefore, superstar players definitely want to make the game more complicated, and other players have less say in this. Keep in mind that you cannot force a draw against a strong opponent. Most players these days want a draw against Karlsen to score rating points. “

Why this is important

This study adds more fuel to the debate “Who is the best chess player ever?”, But it is unlikely to actually resolve the debate. It’s interesting to see how these great champions performed, but the practicality of the research lies elsewhere.

The indirect superstar effect seems to depend on the skill gap between the superstar and the competitors. In other words, if the champion is too dominant and too good compared to the opposition, everyone except the superstar will suffer poor performance and increase mistakes. Perhaps there is psychological pressure. However, when the gap was small and the challengers felt they had a chance, they actually tended to perform better than usual.

What this means for companies considering contracts with “superstar” employees is that the smaller the skill gap between superstars and other cohorts, the more motivated and everyone is better. It can encourage performance. However, if the gap is too large, the opposite can happen. Of course, it’s not yet entirely clear if the findings apply to the workplace.

“The point for companies looking to hire superstar employees is that hiring superstar employees can have a positive or negative impact on cohort performance, depending on skill level gaps. However, if the gap is too large, hiring superstar employees can have a negative impact. In these settings, highly skilled team members break the competition and negatively impact the rest of the team members. It does, “the study concludes.

How the best chess players affect the people around them, and why it matters How the best chess players affect the people around them, and why it matters

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