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I've had my lessons, thanks. - possible misconception about what it takes to become a top player

Posted By: Rod
Date: Tuesday, 28 January 2014, at 6:41 p.m.

In Response To: I've had my lessons, thanks. (phil simborg)


You say you might not be smart enough...

I have read a great deal about what it takes to succeed, to become an expert and about IQ in general.

I would guess that there are players who, inherently, are brighter (higher IQ) than am I who might not have the capacity (in a reasonable period of time during one's life) to become better than me... And vice versa.

I strongly suspect that had you learned with bots for 10,000 hours starting at the age of 8, you'd be far better than you are now. Your 10,000+ hours of study (typically considered a baseline for becoming an expert) have not been as fruitful as MCG's because your quality of study was poorer. That's not to say you would be as good as Matt. Though, perhaps you'd be better.

I am not suggesting that there isn't a correlation between IQ and ability to be a great backgammon player. Perhaps there is even a strong correlation. But I suspect that anyone of above average intelligence (115 IQ ballpark) has the ability to play under a 4 with enough dedication. There is no math in bg that is beyond them. No concept they can't handle with study.

That's not to say that it might not be easier for someone who is "brighter". Or take 8,000 hours of study instead of 10,000. And perhaps the brighter you are the better the chance of being the best player.

My first job ever was trading OTC stocks. I was "hands down" "brighter" than my boss. But he wasn't an idiot. He was an above average guy in the brains department. You know what? The trading we did... There was only simple math, much like there is in backgammon. The extra smarts I had weren't of any importance. And the result... After I reached my "peak" (or thereabouts) Dave was making about 3.5x what I made per dollar trading capacity. Dave **never** had a down day. Dave printed money.

His trading neural net was better than mine for that type of trading. And it always was going to be. Regardless of the excess horsepower I had idling.

I think that it's a huge mistake to make this about who's smarter. If you have just enough, it's enough to be competitive in the elite ranks.

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