Monday, August 09, 2004

One of the reasons that chess grandmasters are so successful is that they are better at challenging their own pet theories than novice chess players. According to a recent study, when chess grandmasters were faced with a difficult game situation, they were better able to objectively evaluate the pros and cons of attractive-looking moves. In particular, they were better at "falsifying" their pet hypotheses by aggressively looking for the strongest possible countermoves and objectively recognizing when a favored choice would have actually resulted in a bad outcome. On the other hand, the novices "were more likely to convince themselves that bad moves would work out in their favour, because they focused more on the countermoves that would benefit their strategy while ignoring those that led to the downfall of their cherished hypotheses."