The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

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Daniel Gormally
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The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Daniel Gormally » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:35 pm

I was thinking earlier about the difference between an extrovert chess player and a chess player who is an introvert. I guess an extrovert player is fundamentally optimistic, always thinks he's winning, etc. An introvert is more analytical, and objective, and possibly pessimistic. Obviously it's hard to pin people down as some have all these characteristics.

Extrovert players include; Capablanca, Bronstein, Tal, Fischer, Kasparov, Kramnik, Svidler, Anand, Julian Hodgson, Judit Polgar, Simon Williams, Lawrence Trent, Manuel Bosboom, Colm Daly, etc. An illustrious list I'm sure you'd agree.

Introverts would include, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Karpov, Salov, Caruana, Ding, Michael Adams, David Howell, Keith Arkell, Gormally. Just as strong really. :lol:

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:56 pm

"Just as strong really. "

Well some of them!

I assume Bogdan Lalic and Petrosian are/were pessimistic?

What about Magnus Carlsen and Boris Spassky?

I regard myself (although my name should not be considered in such exalted company obviously) as fairly pessimistic, but then I randomly went g4 in an early middlegame last week, which must be regarded as optimistic? This must apply to lots of people?

Daniel Gormally
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Daniel Gormally » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:58 pm

Spassky a definite extrovert. Not so sure about Carlsen he seems to fit in between both stools. Lalic and Petrosian pessimistic yes.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:38 pm

Daniel Gormally wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:58 pm
Not so sure about Carlsen he seems to fit in between both stools
Maybe one reason (amongst several) why he is so good?
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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John Clarke
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by John Clarke » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:04 pm

Going back a bit further into the past, we arguably have:

Introverts - Euwe, Steinitz, Philidor, Staunton, Burn, Keres, Fine, Reshevsky

Extroverts - Alekhine, Bogolyubov, Tartakower (in fact all the leading "Hypermoderns", wouldn't you say?), Anderssen, Blackburne, Pillsbury, Tchigorin, Tarrasch, Najdorf

Morphy?? Very difficult. I don't think he ever over- or under-estimated his position. Perhaps like Carlsen he straddles both categories.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Daniel Gormally
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Daniel Gormally » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:26 am

I think Morphy was an introvert. Although he played like an extrovert.

Steinitz I would have had down as an extrovert personally. Same with Keres.

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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by AustinElliott » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:15 am

The "mature' Keres feels more like an introvert/analyser type, though clearly in his pre-WW2 youth he played in a more swashbuckling style than in his latter years. Perhaps his experiences in surviving WW2 and the early post-WW2 Soviet years cured him of optimism. Or possibly just the famous 1941 game against Botvinnik, surely one of the more celebrated examples of optimism being demolished by cold hearted analysis.

Matt Fletcher
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Matt Fletcher » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:04 pm

The topic title reminds me of the old gag, usually told at the expense of actuaries / accountants:

Q: How do you tell the difference between an introvert and an extrovert chess player?

A: The extrovert looks at your shoes when he’s talking to you.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Paul Cooksey » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:02 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:38 pm
Daniel Gormally wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:58 pm
Not so sure about Carlsen he seems to fit in between both stools
Maybe one reason (amongst several) why he is so good?
I think Carlsen is an extrovert because he always has his family and team around him, enjoys sports with friends to relax, etc.

But how you define the terms matters. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extravers ... traversion. Some subtleties here - for example, I am definitely in an introvert who needs some time alone between rounds to recharge. But I'm not really shy, certainly not by the standards of the median chess player.

I believe there is a correlation that extroverts are more likely to be optimists. You could argue that is where Magnus is hard to classify, because he is finding objectively good moves all the time. But even then I am not convinced, because I think he does play better when his confidence is high.

(good thread by the way, I don't know if the OP is a good chess player, but interesting topic for discussion ;-) )

Ted Black
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Ted Black » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:02 am

The OP is Daniel Gormally, he's a GM so we can take it he is a pretty good chess player :)

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Michael Farthing
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:23 am

I would be very alarmed if Paul had not been tongue-in-cheek there!

Ted Black
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Ted Black » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:27 am

I expect so :)

Tim Spanton
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Tim Spanton » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:42 pm

Is there an objective measure? For example, I would expect extroverted/optimistic players to have a lower draw-percentage than is normal for their strength/era as they will tend to play on in many positions that introverted/pessimistic players would be happy to cease hostilities in, thus increasing the number of an extroverted/optimistic player's wins and losses at the expense of draws …

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Harry Duff
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Harry Duff » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:41 pm

There's also the point that introverts can act in an extrovert way when needed, at least sometimes (and indeed vice versa). I remember being on a course at work a few years back where the lecturer, who was talking about the subject, said that 'the real him' was the person we had just encountered in the coffee room, where he was squirrelled away and pretty quiet - and that the lecturing part of him was an act, something he had to do but which didn't feel all that comfortable to him, however natural it might look to others.

I have only seen Danny once, while he was doing his commentary bit at the BCC in Torquay this year. I am surprised to hear him describe himself as an introvert. Maybe he was being tongue in cheek? Or maybe he really is and it's the same thing as the lecturer.

Ted Black
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Re: The difference between extrovert and introvert chess players.

Post by Ted Black » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:43 pm

There are quite a few very good actors and actresses who describe themselves as introverted as well, but when they become another persona in a film, TV drama or on stage, the introversion disappears, as they take on the psyche of whoever they might be portraying. Examples would include Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep. I believe Freddie Mercury described himself as introverted too, but you would hardly think that when he was performing at a Queen gig! So maybe it is all about putting on an act to be someone you are not. Should we all pretend we are Magnus Carlsen and our chess results will improve no end?

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