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It suggests that chess grandmasters probably have IQs above 160.
Plugging the Polgar sisters’ chess scores into his equation, I get IQs in the range of 150, 160, and 170 for the three sisters. Even if both Polgar parents were 170-IQ themselves, regression to the mean predicts that their children would have IQs around 140 to 150.
It’s mathematically possible for there to be an IQ that predicts you would have three children of 150, 160, and 170, but I doubt any living people have it, and even if they did there’s no way they would marry somebody else equally gifted.
[EDIT: Thanks to a few people who pointed out some problems with my math here (1, 2, 3).
The Polgars had 50,000 hours of chess practice each by the time they were adults, presumably enough to make them quintuple-experts.
Robert Howard has a paper Does High-Level Performance Depend On Practice Alone?
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I still think arguing about this is unnecessary thanks to the points below.] On the other hand, I’m not sure Levitt’s right.This is what we should expect given the correlation of about r = 0.24 between IQ and chess ability (see also this analysis, although I disagree with the details).And the contrary claims – like the one that Bobby Fischer’s IQ was in the 180s – are less well-sourced (although Fischer was the son of a Hungarian-Jewish mathematician, so who knows? If it were possible to be a chess world champion with an IQ of 135, then maybe it’s possible to be a “mere” grandmaster with IQs in the high 120s and low 130s.I would amend that to read “Hungarian education isn’t systemically magic”.As far as I know, there’s only one Hungarian educator with magic powers, and (like all good wizards) his secrets are maddeningly hard to find.