Israel

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Warren Kingston

Israel

Post by Warren Kingston » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:05 pm

"Jews are astoundingly over-represented in the pantheon of world chess greats, and today’s Israel is no chess-playing minnow. But on paper, the Jewish state could not reasonably have been expected to get near the medal podium at either Dresden, Germany 2008 or Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 2010. Instead, it is the only country to have won a medal at both events – coming third to Ukraine, with Russia in second, this time, and losing out to Armenia, with the US in third place, two years ago."

Why are Israel so strong in world chess then? (I could add, and why arent we, but I wont.)

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6796An external site.

Richard Thursby
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Re: Israel

Post by Richard Thursby » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:44 pm

The answer is rather in the article: the five players were born in the USSR, with three having been born in what is now Belarus. On ratings they would have taken three out of the top four places in the Belarus team.

Hence, with a team from the USSR, a country that dominated chess in the second half of the twentieth century, it is not necessarily so surprising that they did well.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Israel

Post by Stewart Reuben » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:12 pm

If you look at the team lists for the US you will find they also have a large number of players whose original language was Russian.
In response to Warren's unasked question, actually England are quite strong. To make that assertion, the terms of reference have to be per head of serious chessplaying population. In England that number is very low.
What was extraordinary was that we managed to become second in the world behind the USSR. Of course that was totally unsustainable. The break up of the USSR and the diaspora of Russian speaking players ensured that. It was deliberate policy not particularly to encourage chessplaying immigrants - but to welcome them once they arrived.
Stewart Reuben

Arshad Ali
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Re: Israel

Post by Arshad Ali » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:33 pm

Warren Kingston wrote:Why are Israel so strong in world chess then?
You could equally well ask the same question about math, physics, music .... I hear Israel provides free education upto master's level (while the UK seems hell-bent on dismantling its own system, and putting what's left out of reach of ordinary people).

Warren Kingston

Re: Israel

Post by Warren Kingston » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:38 pm

Arshad Ali wrote:
Warren Kingston wrote:Why are Israel so strong in world chess then?
You could equally well ask the same question about math, physics, music .... I hear Israel provides free education upto master's level (while the UK seems hell-bent on dismantling its own system, and putting what's left out of reach of ordinary people).
Or is it the attitude of the people, like the Germans, the want to improve ones self. Feel this nation lets its self down, on that front slightly. Do not wish to go down the political route though. Free education can only mean one thing, more intelligent people.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Israel

Post by Tim Spanton » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:30 pm

Free education can only mean one thing, more intelligent people.[/quote]

Free education might make people more educated but I doubt if it will make them more intelligent

George Szaszvari
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Re: Israel

Post by George Szaszvari » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:09 am

Warren Kingston wrote:"Jews are astoundingly over-represented in the pantheon of world chess greats, and today’s Israel is no chess-playing minnow. But on paper, the Jewish state could not reasonably have been expected to get near the medal podium at either Dresden, Germany 2008 or Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 2010. Instead, it is the only country to have won a medal at both events – coming third to Ukraine, with Russia in second, this time, and losing out to Armenia, with the US in third place, two years ago."

Why are Israel so strong in world chess then? (I could add, and why arent we, but I wont.)

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6796An external site.
An interesting subject. The many Jews who made extraordinary contributions to chess, music, mathematics, physics,
medicine, business, prophecy, etc, owe much to the discipline handed down by their own cultural heritage (Torah,
etc) within the framework of the pressures of the sometimes hostile cultural environments they lived in. One had
to be strong to survive: the Jewish heritage gave that strength. In repressive environments like the USSR where
politics and the expression of concrete ideas (related to power and privilege) was a dangerous activity, chess, arts
and sciences were largely politically neutral outlets of an abstracted creative kind, and even then one had to be
careful. Modern day Israel has different kinds of social pressures in which self-expression takes on more concrete
forms. I'd venture to say that migrants have made countries like Israel and the USA stronger at chess than they
otherwise would have been.

In comparisons about chess and the dominance of the Soviet juggernaut it is often overlooked that the relatively
tiny nation of Hungary won gold TWICE ahead of the Soviets in post WWII men's team chess olympiads. (I don't
know the women's results off hand.) I'm not sure about the extent of Jewish contributions to those Hungarian
victories. The even tinier Iceland with their ratio of IGMs, and the numbers of world class chessplayers out of
places like the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia also helps to put Soviet juggernaut achievements in perspective.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Israel

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:59 am

See http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6796 for an interesting article by Alon Greenfeld on Israel's chess results.

George Szaszvari asks about women's chess in Hungary. Forget about that. Consider their strength in Polgaria. Basically the 3 sisters (they are Jewish) won the Gold medals in the Women's Olympiad with just the help of Ildiko Madl. They didn't often win because they didn't often bother to play.
It is puzzling that people are perfectly willing to accept genetic influence on all sorts of human conditions, but that so many people shy away from intelligence as possibly a characteristic that can be inherited.

Many people know the quote: C H O'D Alexander, 'There are four classes of chessplayers in descending order; Russian Jews, Russian non-Jews, non-Russian Jews, non-Russian non-Jews.

Stewart Reuben

Warren Kingston

Re: Israel

Post by Warren Kingston » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:50 am

Tim Spanton wrote:Free education can only mean one thing, more intelligent people.
Free education might make people more educated but I doubt if it will make them more intelligent[/quote]

I think I phrased it incorrectly. I would think it would, not give a higher level of intelligence, just an overall level of intelligence to the public.
Not sure I got that right, it is 6.45 and I am sitting in my truck.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Israel

Post by Tim Spanton » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:44 am

Warren Kingston wrote:
Tim Spanton wrote:Free education can only mean one thing, more intelligent people.
Free education might make people more educated but I doubt if it will make them more intelligent
I think I phrased it incorrectly. I would think it would, not give a higher level of intelligence, just an overall level of intelligence to the public.
Not sure I got that right, it is 6.45 and I am sitting in my truck
.[/quote]

I'm possibly being pedantic but knowledge and intelligence aren't the same things.

An example.
IQ tests, at least when I last checked, tend to rank the Japanese as more intelligent than whites, and whites as more intelligent than blacks.
There are two problems with this: 1) IQ tests do not measure intelligence - they measure the ability to take IQ tests
2) IQ scores can be raised by training, ie teaching how to work out different sections of the test. So at least partly an IQ test measures education

Warren Kingston

Re: Israel

Post by Warren Kingston » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:55 am

You are more than likely to be correct, I don't wish to argue the point. I have no knowledge on the matter, sorry.

Could you answer this question for me then?
Do we go to school to improve our intelligence or our knowledge or both? Can you improve intelligence?

Not that I am at all bothered, mind you.

Richard Cowan
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Re: Israel

Post by Richard Cowan » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:06 am

I think, long-term, it would. Growing up with better educated parents must aid development of their childeren, and perhaps make the more "intellegent". Of course that does depend on your defenition of "intellegence"!

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Israel

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:14 am

Warren Kingston wrote:Do we go to school to improve our intelligence or our knowledge or both?
Neither. We go to school to pass exams.

Warren Kingston

Re: Israel

Post by Warren Kingston » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:31 am

Seems like a bad day for me so far. :)

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Israel

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:06 pm

There is considerable evidence that you must use your abilities or lose them. That is fairly obvious in physical dexterity, but less so regarding intelligence. Nonetheless a well-educated person will find his intelligence stretched and thus developed. Some children find their less intelligent parents or peers resent them. So they hide their intelligence and eventually lose part of it in development.
We go to school or university for a number of reasons.
1. Enjoyment
2. Improve our knowledge
3. Stretch our intelligence and probably thus improve it.
4. Improve our inate abilities.
5. Improve social skills.
6. Pass exams to provide valuable qualifications.
7. Because it is a legal requirement.
Others I haven't thought of for the moment.
We probably all have a certain built-in ability at chess. Who can doubt that play, study and coaching can improve our results?

I have just remembered. This is a chess forum.

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