Kasparov on Talent
The “freestyle” result, though startling, fits with my belief that talent
is a misused term and a misunderstood concept. The moment I became the youngest
world chess champion in history at the age of twenty-two in 1985, I began
receiving endless questions about the secret of my success and the nature of my
talent. Instead of asking about Sicilian Defenses, journalists wanted to know
about my diet, my personal life, how many moves ahead I saw, and how many games
I held in my memory.
I soon realized that my answers were disappointing.
I didn’t eat anything special. I worked hard because my mother had taught me to.
My memory was good, but hardly photographic. As for how many moves ahead a
grandmaster sees, Russkin-Gutman makes much of the answer attributed to the
great Cuban world champion José Raúl Capablanca, among others: “Just one, the
best one.” This answer is as good or bad as any other, a pithy way of disposing
with an attempt by an outsider to ask something insightful and failing to do so.
It’s the equivalent of asking Lance Armstrong how many times he shifts gears
during the Tour de France.
This is from an article in the New York Review of Books purportedly reviewing the book Chess Metaphors: AI and the Human Mind - by Diego Russkin Gutman.
He underlines how thre ought to be (and there is not) increased emphasis there on human creativity with more and more technical progression.