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Topic: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!  (Read 2844 times)

Offline sevencircles

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A friend of mine was a childprodigy in both maths and chess.

He decided that he wanted to become a concertpianists in his early twenties however and his bright mind is very helpfull indeed.

He can create a mirrorimage of any theme in real time or play it backwards without even thinking.

He can see if 2 themes could work together as a fugue as soon as he hear and tell what modifications that has to be done to avoid dissonances or conflicting melodies in a a few seconds.

He can sightread like a master as well!

Unfortunately he doesn´t have the time to compose since he has to practice pianotechnique up to 7 hours a day.

His late start as a pianist forced to him to work as a madman on his technique but he has the potential to become a great improviser and composer without any doubt.

Offline mozoot

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #1 on: August 22, 2005, 07:43:29 PM
cool....

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #2 on: August 22, 2005, 07:45:37 PM
I was huge into math and chess when I was young.



Sometimes I wonder how much playing chess and doing math helps piano abilities.


Offline franzliszt2

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #3 on: August 22, 2005, 08:16:59 PM
I learnt to play chees at a very early age, way before I began piano.  Horowitz was an amazing chess player, and I have seen many pictures of various musicians, not just pianists playing chess, and according to the articles based on the pictures they were all amzing. One guy.. I don't no if he was a proffesional musician, but he could play an instrument to a high standard could beat anyone blindfolded. The referee just called out the opponents move. Meaning he had to memorize everythibg, and keep it all in his head  :o :o

Offline xvimbi

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #4 on: August 22, 2005, 08:45:20 PM
I learnt to play chees at a very early age, way before I began piano.  Horowitz was an amazing chess player, and I have seen many pictures of various musicians, not just pianists playing chess, and according to the articles based on the pictures they were all amzing. One guy.. I don't no if he was a proffesional musician, but he could play an instrument to a high standard could beat anyone blindfolded. The referee just called out the opponents move. Meaning he had to memorize everythibg, and keep it all in his head  :o :o

Yes, that does look impressive, but it is in fact not that difficult at all. At a certain level one develops a "board map" similar to a keyboard map in piano playing. In a split second one just knows which squares are covered by a knight, or where on the h-file that bishop can go. Another impressive feat is the fact that advanced chess players can go through all the moves of a casual game that was just played ("How can you remember all that stuff?"). As a chess player myself, I am much more impressed with Olga Kern whizzing through a difficult passage in Rach3 while looking at the ceiling with dreamy eyes ;).

Offline pion

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #5 on: August 23, 2005, 07:07:01 AM
The prize for "world's best concert pianist amongst chess players" surely has to go to Mark Taimanov - he is featured in the Phillips CD series 100 greatest pianists of the 20th centry.

The prize for "world's best chess player amongst concert pianists" again has to go to Mark Taimanov - in 1952 he reached Grandmaster ranking and in 1956 he became chess champion of the USSR. From 1946-56 he was in the world's top 10, and in 1971 he reached the world chess championship quaterfinals, only to be beaten (badly) by the one and only Bobby Fischer.

You can read more about this remarkable guy here  https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=320

Offline Waldszenen

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #6 on: August 23, 2005, 07:41:20 AM
And if you suck at maths and piano (such as myself) then that means you're a pretty shoddy pianist, right?

Hmm that explains it then.
Fortune favours the musical.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #7 on: August 23, 2005, 07:46:49 AM
Pion: Don´t forget Valentina Lisistia!

Offline hodi

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #8 on: August 23, 2005, 12:29:00 PM
i think it has to do with IQ..

mendelssohn was said to be a chess master

and saint saens was also expert in math

Offline quasimodo

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #9 on: August 23, 2005, 12:50:09 PM
Pion: Don´t forget Valentina Lisistia!

it's LISITSA, darn, it's not that hard to spell  ;D !!

I read that she wanted to be chess champion rather than a pianist and hated practicing piano. Is she really good at chess ?

If she plays chess like she plays piano, her favorite opening must be the king's gambit  :P.
" On ne joue pas du piano avec deux mains : on joue avec dix doigts. Chaque doigt doit être une voix qui chante"

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Offline xvimbi

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #10 on: August 23, 2005, 01:52:37 PM
it's LISITSA, darn, it's not that hard to spell  ;D !!

I read that she wanted to be chess champion rather than a pianist and hated practicing piano. Is she really good at chess ?

If she plays chess like she plays piano, her favorite opening must be the king's gambit  :P.

That's hilarious ;D I guess we should now find correlations between the playing style of pianists and their choice openings if they were chess players :D

I start:

Lang Lang: Fischer Random Chess ;D

Offline prometheus

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #11 on: August 23, 2005, 02:43:25 PM
I would love to get really good at all three. But I am very louzy at all three.

Actually, I am also practicing all three dayly... Not because I really believe they are linked but because I like all three.
"As an artist you don't rake in a million marks without performing some sacrifice on the Altar of Art." -Franz Liszt

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #12 on: August 24, 2005, 12:14:41 AM
I am a concert pianist and an avid chess player (I'm Franzliszt on FICS :)) and I studied engineering in univeristy for 3 years which is practically maths and physics. I think there is a connection between each of the three disiplines.

Music however has that physical aspect to it, and a lot of people simply don't have the patience to train their hands to do uncomfortable things in a comfortable manner. So even though chess and maths geniuses are mentally fit for music, perhaps the physical aspect of it will pose little interest for them to push them to practice.

People who study piano are very intersted in the process to control the physical effort at the keys and try to make it feel as effortless and comfortable as possible to produce the desired sound. They get a lot of joy out of the physical transfer at the piano when it is done without effort. I don't think everyone in this world has such a facination. And I think that alone is what makes good players. A lot of people are facinated in the sound of the piano but don't have this facination in the physical perfection to create the sound.
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Offline bernhard

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #13 on: August 24, 2005, 12:19:55 AM
I am a concert pianist and an avid chess player (I'm Franzliszt on FICS :)) and I studied engineering in univeristy for 3 years which is practically maths and physics. I think there is a connection between each of the three disiplines.

Music however has that physical aspect to it, and a lot of people simply don't have the patience to train their hands to do uncomfortable things in a comfortable manner. So even though chess and maths geniuses are mentally fit for music, perhaps the physical aspect of it will pose little interest for them to push them to practice.

People who study piano are very intersted in the process to control the physical effort at the keys and try to make it feel as effortless and comfortable as possible to produce the desired sound. They get a lot of joy out of the physical transfer at the piano when it is done without effort. I don't think everyone in this world has such a facination. And I think that alone is what makes good players. A lot of people are facinated in the sound of the piano but don't have this facination in the physical perfection to create the sound.

Very perceptive and very true. Being exhilarated by the physicla act of playing is a necessary condition for all that follows (including practice).
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline chromatickler

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #14 on: August 24, 2005, 01:04:29 AM
it's LISITSA, darn, it's not that hard to spell  ;D !!

I read that she wanted to be chess champion rather than a pianist and hated practicing piano. Is she really good at chess ?

If she plays chess like she plays piano, her favorite opening must be the king's gambit  :P.
i would like to see her play against lugansky

Offline piazzo23

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #15 on: August 24, 2005, 03:52:21 AM
i think it has to do with IQ..

mendelssohn was said to be a chess master

and saint saens was also expert in math

I never really understood very well the concept of IQ.
I mean, brain plasticity is so complex a human can´t understand.
Even when you´re looking at a tree you´re conditioning your brain to form certain abilities.

So, if you don´t do some things, you´re doing others in that time (it could be sleeping, or watching tv), and all that sums up. People who play the piano, do not have the same conditioning that those who play basketball.

We already know in these days that the brain is too complex to use the word intelligence.

And genius is a person that does better than most in some particular tasks, but he lacks in others anyway

I don´t understand.

Offline janne p.

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #16 on: August 24, 2005, 11:07:36 AM
I never really understood very well the concept of IQ.
I mean, brain plasticity is so complex a human can´t understand.
Even when you´re looking at a tree you´re conditioning your brain to form certain abilities.

So, if you don´t do some things, you´re doing others in that time (it could be sleeping, or watching tv), and all that sums up. People who play the piano, do not have the same conditioning that those who play basketball.

We already know in these days that the brain is too complex to use the word intelligence.

And genius is a person that does better than most in some particular tasks, but he lacks in others anyway

I don´t understand.

IQ (Intelligence Quote) measures your ability to see logical patterns, which is only one of many intelligence branches.
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Offline gruffalo

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #17 on: August 24, 2005, 01:43:39 PM
Im 17 now and havent played chess for a few years. my Dad is expert in chess and maths but has no musicality whatsoever. i was hopeless at chess when i did play, or maybe thats because i always played against my Dad. i was very weak in maths, but then someone gave me a bit of confidence at the college i just moved to and said i am good at maths and since i have been doing maths at A-Level (exams taken to get into Uni usually between the ages of 16-18) and have been passing exams with over 90%. i think i am quite good at the piano but i have seen other amazing pianists who are hopeless at maths and chess so i dont think that pianists in general are amazing at maths and chess, but i do believe composers are. its just coincidence that some pianists are good at maths.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #18 on: August 24, 2005, 02:03:55 PM
I used to play chess "semi-professionally" ("professionally", because I got money for it; "semi", because it wasn't nearly enough to make a living). I have seen many chess players who were totally inept at doing anything other than playing chess. This is partially, because they never tried their hands at anything else, partially because they just didn't have a nack for it.

However, I must say that there are also a lot of chess players who excel in other intellectually taxing disciplines as well. For example, many of them are also very good at Backgammon, Poker, and particularly Bridge. I know mathematicians who are excellent at chess, and many other chess players are scientists. I know a few chess players who are also excellent at music. They do usually excell at Bach, I guess because of the mathematical nature of his music. Some of them can compose or decompose fugues in real time or can tell in an instance the relationship between chords and key signatures in most any piece. This is again because of the mathematical, locigal underpinnings of music. Knowledge of these underpinnings facilitates musical expression, and when these people make music, they are usually really good at playing their instrument. This shows that making music is a lot more than just technique, because some of these people are true klutzes, yet are able to produce stunning music.

Surprisingly, though, I found a large proportion of them being interested in modern, experimental music, perhaps because of the novel musical structures that are more exciting to them than the established ones.

Offline greenphase

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #19 on: August 24, 2005, 02:09:41 PM
I recall that Philip Glass got a major in math by the time he was 16. Whodathunk?

Offline jehangircama

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #20 on: August 24, 2005, 04:13:36 PM
einstein was almost a concert level violinist.. that should prove a point or two
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Offline sevencircles

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #21 on: August 24, 2005, 04:29:59 PM
Quote
i have seen other amazing pianists who are hopeless at maths and chess so i dont think that pianists in general are amazing at maths and chess, but i do believe composers are. its just coincidence that some pianists are good at maths.

math and chessmasters are often very good at sighreading and musictheory.

They are often quicklearners when it comes to playing the guitar in particular since the can find the correct positions so quickly.

Offline franken

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #22 on: August 24, 2005, 05:43:16 PM
I must say I do believe in Math Chess and Music being very related.  I've played piano since I was young and only really picked up chess a few years ago but have since extremely excelled above my peers at it so quickly that only after playing for a couple years I started playing semi proffesionally.  Now of course I gave up chess a little bit ago for a social life but must say it's quite intruiging how things seem so clear in chess and you just find yourself looking at people like how come you can't see it it's right there?

Offline thierry13

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #23 on: August 25, 2005, 08:09:40 AM
Music is a science that is emotionally involving. You're good at sciences, you'll be good in music, at least on his scientifical aspect. Doesn't mean you'll be able to transmit enough emotion to be a good musician tough.

Offline nanabush

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #24 on: August 25, 2005, 09:36:02 PM
I play chess, and am pretty good not a child prodigy.  I think math/science is where I excel at school, so ya I guess that math and music skills are common within a person.
Interested in discussing:

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Offline kolmogorov

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #25 on: August 25, 2005, 09:55:09 PM

I am myself a "good" player ( I was for some years over 2320 ELO, now I stand as inactive at 2250). I've also a Ph.D. in Math.
I 'm an intermediate piano player (I'm struggling with the Pathetique now).

I like the three things, but I easily get bored with the "technical" stuff. For example, chess openings theory always bothered me, and i am too lazy to learn all the harmonic music theory "just for fun". I'm surprised that so many people plays chess in this forum.

A book entitled Godel, Escher, Bach tries to explain some connections between music and math but I don't like it much.

Cheers to chess-math-piano players!!






Offline xvimbi

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #26 on: August 25, 2005, 10:12:49 PM
I am myself a "good" player ( I was for some years over 2320 ELO, now I stand as inactive at 2250). I've also a Ph.D. in Math.

That explains your nickname ;)

I am wondering, who is Markov and where the hell is he hiding?

2320 ELO? Not bad. I only got to 2285, but I'm at 2357 in quick chess (haven't played in a while, though)

Offline rapmasterb

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #27 on: August 25, 2005, 10:15:51 PM
It was put forward before that one of the things tht all 3 have in common is that they all have their own unique notation. It something to think about.

Also, a lot of concert pianists have extremely good language skills. Is there a link there? Or are these just all-rounders who happen to be good at both?

Offline kolmogorov

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #28 on: August 26, 2005, 12:09:50 PM
Quote
I am wondering, who is Markov and where the hell is he hiding?

He was a mathematician. He founded important theory in statistics : Markov inequality, Markov chains based on the "Markov property": variables in sequence are related to each other with the property that any of them only depends on the previous one, not on the first, second...,or other variables in the sequence.

Nowadays there exist new simulation methods called MCMC (Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods). These are important mathematical instruments.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #29 on: August 26, 2005, 01:58:09 PM
He was a mathematician. He founded important theory in statistics : Markov inequality, Markov chains based on the "Markov property": variables in sequence are related to each other with the property that any of them only depends on the previous one, not on the first, second...,or other variables in the sequence.

Nowadays there exist new simulation methods called MCMC (Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods). These are important mathematical instruments.

My remark was meant to be a joke referring to the "Hidden Markov Model". Looks like that joke is better known among biophysicists than mathematicians ;)

Offline sevencircles

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #30 on: August 26, 2005, 02:41:09 PM
Quote
Also, a lot of concert pianists have extremely good language skills. Is there a link there? Or are these just all-rounders who happen to be good at both?

News to me! Some examples, please?

Offline Derek

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #31 on: August 27, 2005, 03:08:20 AM
I think its all just general smarts. I suck at chess. Why? Never practiced. I used to suck at math. Why? Never worked at it til the last couple years. Now I'm getting decent at math. I got good at piano a lot earlier than these other things. Why? Because I loved it and worked extremely hard at it. To me, its that simple. I doubt there are particular people with neurons better suited for any particular kind of thought. Its much more a matter of work and passion than raw ability. Of course there is raw ability but i think it has a much smaller role than people usually believe.

Offline ted

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #32 on: August 27, 2005, 10:26:23 AM
I used to have a very strong flair for maths when I was young. Unfortunately I kept running into the truth that mathematics is more discovery than creation. The two do overlap, but I didn't want to spend years of my life proving things about some very specialised and obscure conjecture.  Although I had studied music throughout my teens, the true power of creating it didn't really hit me until I was close to thirty, although I was a better than average player. I am not keen on mathematics at all these days, although funnily enough I don't seem to forget any of what I did know.

In games of the mind such as chess, bridge and so on, I have always been a hopeless dud. It isn't that I haven't tried or at various stages of my life haven't been enthusiastic. Rather I just have no idea what I am doing. A game of any sort with me involved inevitably ends in an embarrassing post-mortem with everybody wanting to know why I didn't do this or did do the other, and I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

Come to think of it, I'm probably not a musician in the accepted sense of the word either, so perhaps I shouldn't have bothered answering the question since I'm probably not much good at any of these things.
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Offline leahcim

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Re: math- and chess geniuses are often very good players!
Reply #33 on: August 27, 2005, 10:08:20 PM
I think its all just general smarts....To me, its that simple.

Yep, it's a purely anecdotal list. The list of chess players who don't do music or maths very well, maths dudes who don't play chess or the piano well, and pianists that don't do either is several times longer, but what would be noteworthy about saying "Herbet Scwartz played the piano but couldn't do biology, chemistry, geography, play the violin or the recorder or the big bassoon or the bongos or the electric guitar nor cook a beef wellington, weave a tapestry, build a brick wall or play chopin transcribed for 3 hungarian nose horns, he couldn't speak french, german, italian, russian, spanish, portugese,  etc etc" So the few pianists that list a language or three, or a science or a game are more noteworthy - and it seems a few don't, so much of the skill level is unknown.

It's just the willy-waving skills in a sense too - why not chemistry, writing or playing go?

Plus, as Ted suggests - being good with maths is not necessarily the same as being good at maths. It's all relative - Carol Vorderman is often touted in the papers as good at maths because she can do arithmatic with "one from the top and any other 5" quickly [something she herself points out isn't really maths per se no more than accountancy is]

An engineer might be very savvy in applied maths - often without much knowledge of the rigerous proofs behind the maths he uses, but the bridge stays up. He'd probably fail miserably to do anything of note in a maths career - from that pov when he's sat around the table with the other maths dudes discussing some problem - he's no better off than a gorilla that's trained to fetch coffee.

So what counts as good at maths for a entry in the "pianist is good at maths" table?

Things like chess are perhaps easier, because there's a "first past the post" measure if the person plays.

The "nearly a concert violinist" for Einstein sounds like one of the many myths about the guy to me. At least, the biographies I've read have all suggested that his knowledge / interest of the theoretical aspects of music far outweighed his ability to play?

Which, if true, is probably the reverse point - in a thread on physicsstreet asking whether musicians make good physicists would Einstein be good enough as a musician to make a "yes" vote? Or if some pianist who plays in a rock band has a phd in physics, is he a good enough pianist? If so from the physics pov, wouldn't his complete absence from this board suggest pianists think otherwise :)
 

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