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|IN THEIR GENES?
Russia`s chess grandmasters
Worldwide, more people play chess than bridge. Given that millions of people play bridge in almost 200 countries affiliated to the World Bridge Federation, there must be a phenomenal number of chess players on the planet.
Yet, curiously, at the first ACES academy on a Thai island all the best players seemed to be Russian. In every age group.
Take a look at the youtube pics. 20 children playing a chess competition at school. All aged 5 to 9 years. 16 of them are Russian. At least two of those 7 year olds are capable of beating the average adult European or transatlantic chess player like me. And they make their moves in record time. Which disproves what I previously thought: that Kasparov, Karpov, Spassky & co. were only world champions because they played more slowly to wear down the opposition.
Watching Russian children play, it is difficult not to be impressed by their powers of concentration. Evident from the facial expressions in the pictures:
And they can play game after game without getting bored. As for their speed of play, perhaps their domestic lives means their brains are tuned to more logical thought than we English. Not sure.
One interesting statistic I stumbled across is that nearly every Russian youngster has a father and grandfather who played chess in a club. In other words, everyone was taught and encouraged to play chess in Russia.
Perhaps then the sheer weight of numbers playing ensured that, statistically, Russia would inevitably produce more grandmasters. Or perhaps it is the fact that large numbers of players increases the numbers in competitions which raises the standards. Certainly that was the case at this school.
When I am beaten by a 7 year old Russian boy, I ask myself whether it might have been possible for me to have reached that standard at the same tender age. The answer has to be no.
So it must surely be in their genes
|Last updated : 27th Jul 2019 03:59 GMT
|CHESS and bridge
BRIDGE & CHESS at ACES
Why these "mindsports" go hand in hand
Both were on the shortlist for inclusion in the last Olympic Games. And, according to the pro-inclusion lobbyists, the requirements to succeed at either were similar:
concentration, logical thought, mathematics ability, discipline, mental stamina etc.
The main difference is that chess is an individual game. No partner to blame in defeat at chess. There is at the bridge table!
It certainly seems to be true that those who play chess will learn the principles of playing bridge very quickly and vice versa.
Most chess players took up the game early in life. Usually at school. Whereas the majority of registered bridge players probably only took up the game when they approached or reached retirement age.
A similar phenomenon is noticeable with ball games. If someone is good at tennis, he would invariably also excel at squash and badminton and, probably, snooker as well. That is down to brain and eye coordination I guess.
The conclusion I drew from all the above facts and statistics was that, if I wanted to find young bridge champions, I should look for them in the nearest chess club. And that is what I did. At the school where I opened the bridge Academy. I invited the talented seven and eight year old chess players to try playing bridge. Many of those budding chess grandmasters took to the card game like ducks to water. And, they didn`t want to give up playing either bridge or chess. Which suggests both these mindgames are equally challenging and equally enjoyable.
So why do senior citizens tend to take up bridge but not chess?
If bridge players do want to learn to play chess, the new ACES Academy is the place to try it
|Last updated : 29th Jan 2019 10:36 GMT