Tag Archives: intelligence

A Good Student or a Good Memory?

I got into a conversation the other day, and somehow the conversation turned to chess. I don’t know how or why, as the other person had virtually no knowledge of chess, but he asked about my chess history. I explained how I started at the age of six and reached a rating of 1800 within the next 10 years. That number puts me in the top 5% of all chess players, though likely only the bottom 20% of serious players.

I’m not saying I’m as good as Fischer or anything, but … seriously, I’m nowhere near Fischer.

Upon hearing this, he made a low whistle and then said, “Wow, so you must be gifted, then? I mean, you are one smart dude.” He knew that I had my Master’s degree, so that fact combined with my chess skill made him think I was gifted. This shows, once again, how chess is frequently seen as a game of pure intelligence, as if the smarter person must win. That’s not strictly true, as the better player wins, not the smarter one, but that’s a topic for a different day.

He asked if I were gifted, though, and the answer is … it’s complicated. Continue reading

Diary of a Lack of Sleep

Sleep is not my friend. We have a very strained relationship. As a general rule, I never fall asleep; I need to work for it. It has been this way my entire life. As a very young child I stopped taking naps in the afternoon. My parents tried, of course, but they said they could hear my babbling and playing virtually the entire time. I was a good kid, or at least not a destructive one, so my lack of napping was seen as a funny quirk and nothing more.

I’m going to assume this explains everything perfectly.

I remember attending daycare before kindergarten, so I must have been four or five at the time. We had a designated nap time. Everyone would lie down and have a nap. I did it, because I always listen to what I was supposed to do, but I never actually slept. I remember lying on my side, observing the darkened room, watching the caregivers walk around periodically and checking everyone. I rarely if ever fell asleep during this time. Not that I didn’t want to: falling asleep for an hour is far better than lying down quietly and not sleeping for an hour. I just couldn’t do it. Continue reading