Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7 Dec

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
John Foley
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:58 am
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7 Dec

Post by John Foley » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:09 pm

Those of you with an interest in mathematics education may find this conference relevant. It seems that playing chess has a beneficial impact upon performance in mathematics. An international array of speakers will be covering research and best practice as well as topics such as the game-like nature of mathematics and the mathematical nature of chess. There will be a wide range of instructional materials and software to peruse. A New Game competition may also attract the attention of the more inventive game designers. Please try to get along if only for a day.

Chess and mathematics conference

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 6339
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:41 pm

John Foley wrote:It seems that playing chess has a beneficial impact upon performance in mathematics
Is there any peer-reviewed research to substantiate that assertion?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18056
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:57 pm

John Foley wrote:It seems that playing chess has a beneficial impact upon performance in mathematics.
There were any number of my university contemporaries who were both reasonably good at chess and studying mathematics. Whether chess drove the mathematics or the other way is more of an open question to my mind. From a personal viewpoint, I don't think I got any good at chess until I applied the study techniques that were needed (in those days) for success in O and A levels.

But perhaps in some mysterious way, just knowing the chess moves improves your understanding of geometry or calculus. I'm not sure how though. Is it necessary to play competitive chess against the clock in order to gain the benefits?

Richard James
Posts: 956
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: Twickenham
Contact:

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by Richard James » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:59 pm

http://cis.fide.com/en/chess-news/268-c ... nt-results
The resultant improvement in creativity is especially striking. There were plenty of other clear benefits as well. Interestingly, it did not result in any improvement in mathematics (arithmetic).
Of course it depends how you define mathematics.

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 6339
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:09 pm

I'm seeing the research (or at least a presentation of it) but as yet I'm not seeing the peer review.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Arshad Ali
Posts: 704
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:27 pm

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by Arshad Ali » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:09 pm

JustinHorton wrote:I'm seeing the research (or at least a presentation of it) but as yet I'm not seeing the peer review.
My memory's failing (incipient senility) but I seem to recall some indirect connection between chess and general academic success (chess seems to foster study skills and focus). As far as I know, there's no established link between chess prowess and success at university math (differential equations, abstract algebra, differential geometry, etc.). Nor am I sure there's any established connection between chess prowess and success at school math. People like Nunn and Speelman seem to be anomalies rather than the general rule.

JustinHadi

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by JustinHadi » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:15 pm

Don't know about Speelman but Nunn was admitted to Oxford to study Mathematics as the youngest undergraduate since Cardinal Wolsley long before he became a GM. He is at the top end, there are many others with a similar correlation between chess and maths abilities.

Arshad Ali
Posts: 704
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:27 pm

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by Arshad Ali » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:23 pm

JustinHadi wrote:Don't know about Speelman but Nunn was admitted to Oxford to study Mathematics as the youngest undergraduate since Cardinal Wolsley long before he became a GM. He is at the top end, there are many others with a similar correlation between chess and maths abilities.
Other than Nunn, who could have been a successful academic mathematician had he chosen that route, there's Noam Elkies in the Harvard math department, who's a well-known study composer as well as having an OTB rating of around 2200. Otherwise I can't think of any other top-flight mathematicians who've also been high-rated chess players -- or the other way around. There is Kenneth Rogoff, who's GM strength and a professional economist ....

JustinHadi

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by JustinHadi » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:50 pm

I don't know it's hard to tell if people don't take the academic route. Colin McNab for example has a DPhil in mathematics from Oxford.

David Robertson
Posts: 2143
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:24 pm
Contact:

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by David Robertson » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:51 pm

I'd better not mention Prof Jonathan Mestel then

JustinHadi

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by JustinHadi » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:55 pm

:lol: forgot about him! Quite unforgivable after playing in a simul against him at Imperial.

Arshad Ali
Posts: 704
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:27 pm

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by Arshad Ali » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:02 pm

There is Richard Borcherds, who gave up chess in his teens but who probably would have become a 2600+ GM if he'd stayed the course.

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2434
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:09 pm

There is definitely a particular type/mindset which is competent in both maths and basically any/all abstract games. Mestel say is I believe mostly playing bridge nowadays? Quite well too iirc, if not quite as well as he did chess. Also see Nunn diverting into solving problems and studies I guess.

That mindset is of course far from dominant in terms of top level chess players.

Plenty of reasons why not of course, but one non trivial one might well be that, being able to do so many different things, they're so 'easily' distracted into various other interesting abstract pursuits. That isn't how you get hugely strong at any specific one.

Didn't Korchnoi say something a bit like that about Nunn at some point?

Richard James
Posts: 956
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: Twickenham
Contact:

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by Richard James » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:10 pm

Back in the 70s/80s the Times and the Daily Telegraph used to publish lists of those who had won places at or obtained degrees from Oxbridge.

I'd look through the names of the maths students and find many names I'd recognize, but only isolated names in the lists of students of other subjects. There was certainly a correlation then.

There also appears to be a correlation at primary school level now: the best chess players in most primary schools also do well at maths.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18056
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Chess and Mathematics Conference London Olympia 6-7

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:17 pm

Richard James wrote: I'd look through the names of the maths students and find many names I'd recognize, but only isolated names in the lists of students of other subjects. There was certainly a correlation then.
There are reasonable empirical grounds that an aptitude for mathematics also helps for chess. Rather less so the other way round, I would have thought. But is it the proposition that it isn't about "elites" but that those who struggle with maths might be helped by learning chess first?

Post Reply