Richard G. Petty, MD

More on Chess and the Mind

After my last article about some of the things that one can learn from chess, a blogger in Australia added “patience” to my list. And he is quite right. Except that I have, sad to say, never mastered the art of patience. It’s a character flaw. Maybe I would have had more success at the Royal Game if I had been just a bit more patient. I suppose a few extra IQ points might have helped too…

There is a nice article on Susan Polgar’s blog : Susan is the oldest of three remarkable Hungarian sisters who were trained to be geniuses from early childhood by their father László Polgár. She now lives in New York, and she is an International Chess Grandmaster who also happens to be fluent in seven languages. She is doing a great deal to promote the enormous benefits of chess, particularly in the United States. Clearly the sisters had “good genes,” but it is inspiring to see what can be done for youngsters if they are exposed to a highly enriched environment early in life. But there is something else to the Polgar story. Despite the stereotype that over-education might lead people to be unbalanced eggheads, all three have turned out to be remarkably normal and charming young women with children of their own. One sister – Judit – is the highest rated female chess player of all time, and the third sister – Sofia – is an International Master living in Israel.

The normalcy of the sisters is in stark contrast to the situation of many children that I have seen in Japan, who are already having extra tuition in Kindergarten. Scholastic failure is a recognized cause of suicide in Japan, and the Japanese actually have a word for death from overwork: Karoshi.

I wish Susan well in her efforts to promote chess, but I would also love her to share with the world how she and her sisters managed the balancing act of marrying extreme intellectual development with normal emotional and interpersonal relationships. That is in many ways even more remarkable than the sisters’ extraordinary accomplishments.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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