Intuition And Decision-Making In Chess
As a young man, the Argentinian chess grandmaster, Miguel Najdorf, witnessed a game between the world champion Alekhine and Finnish Master Böök. In this famous game, Alekhine sacrificed a piece for no apparent compensation at move thirteen. Twelve moves later, however, Böök was forced to resign.
After the game, Najdorf marvelled at Alekhine's genius, who, it seemed, had seen 12 moves into the future. Later, Najdorf had the chance to ask Alekhine about this game. Had the world champion really seen 12 moves into the future? "Not at all", replied Alekhine. "Then, how is it possible for you to play such a game?" to which Alekhine replied: "I have a big nose."
In the same way, I am often asked how many moves I can see ahead in time when I play chess. The general assumption seems to be that it takes a lot of calculation to play good chess. However, calculation is merely one component of good chess. Positional understanding, tactical vision, memory and other abilities that come about due to innate capacity, experience or training, are also important components of good chess.
Furthermore, calculation cannot exist in isolation. It has to be based on something. If chessplayers only calculated , they would have to take every legal move into account. Even if they only considered three candidate moves at each turn, the task would be nearly insurmountable. Seeing three moves into the future would then take a calculation of a total of 27 positions. Seeing twelve moves into the future would take a calculation of 531.441 positions. This had all been pointed out early in the last century by the Czech grandmaster Richard Réti, who replied to the question of how many moves he could calculate with: "I see only one move. But it is a very good move."
Therefore, chessplayers frequently turn to the other components of good chess to help them in their decision-making. More often than not, their experience assures them that they have made the right decision. Perhaps they have played or witnessed a similar position before. Sometimes, however, players find themselves in uncharted territory and sometimes the position is too complex to be categorized. It is precisely at this moment that the truly good players rely on their intuition.
Great players like Alekhine have intuition in abundance. That is why Alekhine referred to himself as having a "big nose". He had a feeling for the position, a feeling for what was the right move, and this feeling rarely let him down.
It is interesting that Alekhine chose to call his intuition a big nose, rather than big eyes or big ears or any other of the five senses. I myself have often felt a sensation in my nose during a game of chess when I have an intuitive vision of how to proceed in the game. This sensation also makes an appearance when I am faced with decision-making in other areas of my life, and I have come to regard it as the harbinger of intuition.
In life, as in chess, we are constantly faced with the need to make decisions. It is tempting to try to calculate the results of each of the possibilities, but this is usually impossible. At the chessboard, the possibilities are limited and yet they are too many for extensive calculations. In life the possibilities are unlimited, which makes extensive calculations impossible. Therefore, the best method is to rely on our intuition.
The only problem is that our intuition does not seem to be switched on at every moment. In life and in chess, most of my decisions are based on experience or some kind of knowledge, simply because my intuition was not working at that moment. However, this does not necessarily have to be so, for intuition can be cultivated.
The reason why Alekhine had such a great intuition in chess was because he had such love for the game. I feel that anyone can increase their intuition in chess, simply by cultivating their love for the game. In the same way, I feel that by cultivating our love of life, we increase our access to intuition in life.
As my spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy has explained: "Intuition is an inner faculty which all human beings have. But everyone has not developed this faculty or brought it to the fore so that he can use it, so some people are not yet convinced that they have it." (Aspiration-Plants by Sri Chinmoy. New York, 1974). In my case, intuition is something I have felt and something I would like to feel a lot more of in all areas of my life.
Related Tags: chess, intuition
Suren is a student of Sri Chinmoy living in Iceland. He is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and participates in various running races. He is also a keen chess player and writes about techniques for improving performanceYour Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
Recent articles in this category:
- Is Subliminal Audio Better Than Hypnosis?
Subliminal messages have been around a long time, not quite as long as hypnosis, but since the sixti
- Creating Change: Step 2a - Construct A Vision Of What You Want
In order to create change you have to know what you want. But sometimes it's easier to figure out fi
- Creating Change - Step 2b- Techniques For Finding What You Want
Drilling Down to your CoreTo get to a deeper level of what you want, to find your true core desires,
- Creating Change: Step 2c- Who Do You Want To Be?
Being Trumps DoingUsually when we think about what we want, we focus on an activity or experience we
- Creating Change: Step 3 - Identify Your Inner Obstacles To Change
I'm sure you aware of some things you want to change in your life, that your heart longs for. It is
- The Importance Of People In Innovation
When we talk about innovation, you may reply-who needs people? Chances are that you, me and all of u
- Five Kinds Of Self Improvement Cds
If you have ever considered buying self improvement CDs, you know there are a lot to choose from. It
- Biodiesel Kits And Processors
Heat is needed during the biodiesel conversion process for the following reasons:1. Preheating your
- Fred Alan Wolf Phd Is The Kooky Guy With The Quirky Personality In The Movies: The Secret &what The Bleep
This guy is my favorite -hands down -I really love Fred Alan! He is so brilliant intellectually spea
- How Important Is Innovation In My Life?
It's a talent that everyone has, yet they think they don't. The power of innovation. If you've ever
Most viewed articles in this category:
- Discover Your Past Life
Do you have any idea about your past life? Have you ever wondered who you are or what you are before
- Deceptive Diagnosis
The book, Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin is Called Sickness, explores the major shift in how Ch
- Decreasing High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure, by its simplest definition is a reflection of how hard your heart is pumping.
- Teaching -
As important as what is to be learned might be, perhaps the greater import needs to be placed on the
- Rhubarb Romance - A Little Honey Works Wonders
Spring is in the air. It is a time of new life. There are green grass, kittens, puppies,
- The Greatest Invention In History
Before we get to what is the greatest invention in the history of the world, we should visit Germany
- Are You Living the Life You Imagined?
Do you feel strong, healthy, financially secure? Are you too busy working to take the time to make m
- Armchair Olympian
I am not a die-hard sports enthusiast, but confess I enjoyed watching the winter Olympics held in Tu
- The Truth about Being A Responder Or A Reactor
Do you often react or response to a situation? Or it depends? A story was told that while a man was
- Innovation: Thinking Outside the Box and the Four Types of Innovation
Why do we love new gadgets? Why did the Renaissance marked as the period when history, science, phil