24 October, 2017

Brilliant Virtuosity Is Not Genius: Magnus Carlsen Not Mozart Of Chess

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Some people’s minds are really weirdly wired; a gift that defies explanation. Ramanujan’s way with numbers bewildered his Cambridge mentors Godfrey Harold Hardy and John Edensor Littlewood, both outstanding mathematicians. The way theorems and theories of numbers, sometimes far ahead of their time, floated into his mind led some to suggest that “The mind of god was speaking to the mind of young Sirinivasa”.

Seven Magnus Oven Carlsen, Magnus Carlsen hereafter, born in 1990, a chess Grand Master at the age of 14, inflicted defeat on former world champion Anatoly Karpov and then drew one game and lost one to Gary Kasparov the then reigning world champion. An effusive Washington Post columnist was moved to call Magnus the ‘Mozart of Chess’. My unromantic soul is wont to correct the excess; dazzling are Ramanujan and Carlsen, but Mozart’s was genius on a more exalted planet. So this piece continues a recent bee in my bonnet; genius, science, maths, and the weird.

Carlsen was one of the youngest World Champions at 23 when he routed Viswanathan Anand in 2013 in Madras – Gary Kasparov became world champion at age 22 and Mikhail Tal at 23.  He successfully defended the title against Anand in 2014 and in 2016 against Serjey Karjekin. In 2013 he reached a rating of 2882 points computed by FIDE (international chess federation), the highest ever by any player, surpassing the peak of greats like Anatoly Karpov and Gary Kasparov. (I think these ratings did not exist at the time of Emanuel Lasker, Jose Capablanca and Mikhail Botvinik).

An episode which bears on the theme of this essay is that Carlsen played blindfolded against ten players at Harvard, calling out his moves (Table 6 “knight to king’s-bishop 4”, etc.) and the moves of his opponents were called back to him. So he had to picture in his mind the position of the pieces on all ten tables as the games progressed. He won all, but his opponents were not champions just the best at the university. This wizardly ability at mental visualisation reminds me of how equations in number theory would float into Ramanujan’s mind. Stupendous as these achievements are, I would still search for another word than genius to denote them. Magnus Carlson is not the Mozart of chess, nor Ramanujan of mathematics. Why?

Glitterati does not mean genius

Incredible faculties, powers of calculation and the ability to perform improbable mental tasks is not the same as genius. Genius is comprehension, formulation and enunciation of a body of thought or art that will impact collective human life for generations. On this measure Aristotle, Newton and Einstein are winners – Archimedes, Gauss and Darwin too, though they were one dimensional. What about writers, artists and philosophers? Sure we must accommodate the likes of Shakespeare and Dante. Was Marx a genius? I think we can find a better term like ‘game-changer’ for the old Moor.

*Carlsen routs Anand at the 2013 World Championship in Madras| Photo courtesy www.worldchesschampionship2013.com

These are spanking shinning stars, but a few stand above this glitterati – I have two in mind Mozart and Leonardo da Vinci. Those who know classical music – I only listen to the stuff – say Beethoven was more profound and Bach more weighty. True, true, but there is something ethereal about Mozart, there is genius; albeit only musical genius unlike Leonardo a polymath. Mozart’s first biographer Franz Niemtschek writes in a vein no one could employ for any other:-

“In the quiet repose of the night, when no obstacle hindered his soul, the power of his imagination became incandescent with the most animated activity, and unfolded all the wealth of tone which nature had placed in his spirit. Only the person who heard Mozart at such times knows the depth and the whole range of his musical genius: free and independent of all concern his spirit could soar in daring flight to the highest regions of art”.

Leonardo of course is everyone’s choice for numero uno in the genius stakes. Wikipedia is good enough for me:-

Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history and cartography. He has been called the father of palaeontologyichnology, and architecture, and is considered one of the greatest painters of all time. He is credited with the invention of the parachute, helicopter and tank. Leonardo epitomised the ideal of the Renaissance Man”.

[Disclaimer: As befits today’s modest storyline I take no account of heavyweight spiritual and moral personages and law-givers. Hence going from ancient to recent times, I omit Zarathustra, Confucius, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Mohamed and the Sikh Gurus. It makes no sense to spin them into today’s simple yarn or provoke bigots to gouge out my eyes if their aspirant is not awarded an A*].

Physical basis of intelligence

It seems that the vast differences in mental ability between humans cannot be reduced to physical determinants such as brain size or convolution (folding) alone. I have, to the extent I could understand, read both popular and nerdy stuff in Stanford Neurosciences, Scientific American, Smithsonian and ever obliging Wikipedia. The consensus is that the correlation between brain size and IQ is only 0.3 to 0.4 – no better than what we expect between the recommendations and results of our friends the economists! A 0.3 correlation is only slightly positive and in many samples there was less correlation. The neuro experts then bluff us with: “The brain’s underlying organisation and the molecular activity at its synapses (junctions between neurons) is what seems to dictate intelligence”. Which is to say that they are as clueless as the rest of us and can be precise about bugger-all.

The brains of the Prince of Mathematics, Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), Vladimir Lenin (18170-1924) and Albert Einstein (1879-1955) were removed and studied in autopsies. Einstein’s was extensively examined in many laboratories by teams who received slices. The weight of the brains, Gauss (1492 grams), Lenin (1340 grams) and Einstein (1230 grams), are not unusual compared to the average weight of a human male brain (1334 grams). Lenin had big frontal lobes, Gauss had highly developed convolutions (folds) and Einstein’s showed a stronger than usual connection between left and right hemispheres and increased glial cells which provide nutrients to neurons and protect them from pathogens. All are sorts of one-off variations, but no pattern!

Neanderthal brains are on average 15% larger than human, sperm whale brains weigh 8000 grams (18 lbs) and most interestingly it seems that the hominid brain, after getting bigger for two million years, has been shrinking in the last 20,000 years according to John Hawkes anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin. This is all very confusing; what on earth is going on? This neuro-stuff is not exact, that we know; but it is not even reliable science.

Intelligence and the mob

I have often argued in this column that racism is inbuilt in the psyche of homo sapience and overcoming this prejudice will be a long and difficult task. I think readers will agree that a majority of humans (sic: that is themselves!) are racially or religiously prejudiced. People active in civil society and progressive politics refer to the task of overcoming prejudice as building social consciousness and pluralism and creating an awareness of the obligations of democracy. Since the brain in involved in both intelligence and prejudice I suppose there is some overlap between these concerns and the topic of this essay. Be that as it may, the madness of the mob is not something I wish to pursue today.

There is another more explosive side to this story which I want readers to chew upon. The New York Post reported in April or May 2013 that a Jason Richwine argued in his 2009 Harvard PhD thesis that “the average IQ of U.S. immigrants is substantially lower than that of the white native population and the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component in IQ”. He reckoned “no one knows whether Hispanics will reach IQ parity with whites and new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren”. In a study co-authored with the reactionary Heritage Foundation Richwine proposed IQ screening for immigrants and said amnesty for illegal immigrants would be a $5 trillion burden on the U.S.

So you see the race-intelligence debate is not dead. Its protagonists such as Richwine ask: ‘If there is a genetic basis to intelligence (smart kids, statistically, come from families with smart parents and grandparents) then by extension cannot there be a racial basis to intelligence as well?’ Granted, intelligence here is measured by tests with a heavy cultural overload and biased in favour of wealth and privilege, but still there is a problem. So why not I leave you to cogitate as you sip your Sunday morning coffee?

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Latest comments

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    Dear Prof,
    Different kinds of birds make different kind of nests. Do they learn this skill from their fathers or do they inherit this knowledge genetically?

    As I read, Socrates argued that new born baby was like an empty tablet. He said that humans couldn’t have anything inside them other than what they absorbed through their sensory organs. I guess Western justice, democracy, human equality were based on this Socrates/Aristotle/Plato school of thinking.

    However, Asian philosophers like Buddha and Hindu teachers taught that humans are born with some “Sansaric” knowledge and temperaments. Buddha was against reincarnation and believed in “Anathma”, but argued that main cause of human suffering is “Sansara” (cyclic existence) effect. As I see, it is our knowledge/temperaments pass through the cyclic existence. Buddhism and Hinduism called this “Sankara”.. (according to “Patticca Samuppada”, this “Sankara” is the initial cause of creating our consciousness – Vijñāna”..)

    Back to the science.. Present neuroscientists and geneticists believe (proved?) 50% of human knowledge is genetically inherited and only the rest of 50% is acquired through environment. I believe even that 50% absorbed through environment and through our loved adults are filtered/modified through our 50% of inherited knowledge (Sanskara)..

    Human ability to pass through knowledge genetically (what animal pass through is stagnant and constant) is the key to human civilization and our materiel development. But Buddha argued that we also passing trough our anger, selfishness, , stronger protectionism of “I-Me” were the main cause of our suffering. Only way to get out of this is “Nirwana”, that is “Leave Nothing Behind”…

    If my thinking has any validity, then there is scientific and physical truth about racial/tribal differences, cast systems or man/woman..

    However, modern humans like us should understand that these tribal or individual differences just as “differences” and there is no hierarchy of better or worse.

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    I think you have read very old literature. You give evidence to say that the Brain size does not correlate to the smartness of an individual. prove it by comparing the brain sizes of Gauss and Einstein. Anyway, Einstein had the smallest brain size. Yet, he has among the few who understood the influence of the 4th dimension in science or in the daily life.

    I think, what is important is the 3D produced by the neural connections made inside the brain. Modern MRI studies gives a different picture. If you read about the SAVANT Syndrome, those people are exceptionally intelligent and Geniuses. What is common in all of them is, their brains are empty for most of it. Even some individuals who had accidential damages or injuries to brain become suddenly geniuses. Some people instead of hearing sounds, they see sounds as different shapes. It is very rare. The understand that the shape appears in their mind instead of a sound.

    The brain develops various neuronal connection patterns and each of those 3D – patterns relates to a certain perception/identification of a certain signal and the resulting 3D shape for each external signal is the most important. Buddhism says, not only the eye, taste, smell, sound reception and touch all are perceived by the brain as 3D forms (rupa).

    It says, for Alzheimers patients, the reason is their unused parts of the brain start disintegrating. In other words, those neuronal connections disappear.

    Some of these very intelligent people you mentioned should have Savant syndrome like brain structures even though it is not extreme.

    Precursor’s of the communist theory was in the western philosophy and Karl Marx exaplained it as a political theory and He became some one because of the russian revolution. You may understand there would be some Engineers also who did such marvellous things, But their names did not come to the front or they did not become famous because those things were important only to a few hundreds and not to the world.

    Jesus can not be exceptional. For me, Jesus was a humanitarian and he was daredevil enough to go against the Roman Kingdom by trying to save poor people who were sud=ffering there. HE preached to them probably asking them be rebelleious. Finally, his underground movement became a religion as the roman Kingdom established Vatican etc., Jesus was crucified for his so-called crime against the Kingdom. Mohommad was an intelligent businessman and a leader.

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    Geniuses

    Dear Professor, despite all your humble pretenses to the contrary, you are a genius, if not in electrical engineering, at least in chess. See the following move you made in the middle of the game:

    [Disclaimer: As befits today’s modest storyline …blah blah. Hence going from ancient to recent times, I omit Buddha].

    Just when I was thinking of bringing in Buddha, his axiomatic approach (Idapaccayata) and the 5 step way to enlightenment (Chakku, Gnana, Panna, Vijja and Aloko) in my comment, you checkmated me. It was done in a masterly fashion. Not at the beginning. Not at the end. But in the middle, just when I was formulating my comment, while multitasking with the reading of the article and saying ‘gotcha’. Great timing, Sir.

    I don’t like being checkmated. But when it is done in great style like that I cannot help admiring the strategy. Draw the enemy in, encircle him and unleash upon him the full fire power you have in a short burst so that he would not know what hit him – The full use of the element of surprise. It is the same as the ‘attrition strategy’ used by another genius, General Sarath Fonseka, that led to the total military defeat of Prabhakaran.

    Despite all that brilliance, you made a monumental mistake by not finishing off Edwin, while you could, a mistake that SF did not commit, as we all know, and a mistake that you are going to regret very much. You left me badly mauled. But you left me alive so that I could fight another day. But then you did not have the equivalent of the Army Private Nimal Maharage to play the final sixer.

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    Prof:

    Ramanujam himself had told Prof:Hardy that the family Goddess Namagiri[Perhaps another manifestation of the innumerable Goddesses in the Hindu system;Anyway,I am not sure though] inspired and led him along in his stupendous Mathematical career.How would have Prof:Hardy-a confirmed bachelor and atheist thought of this?

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      Plato.

      I was at Pera. but, my favorite was chemistry, and I did not eventhat. As most of the students there would be, I also was not focused in my studies. So, I did not achieve much.

      I think, I knew an arrogant Brat just like Edwin.

      Prof. Kumar David:

      You don’t have to become Buddhist. Just stay where you are and study who Lord Buddha is. You would understand that Buddha was the only “supra human” human being who could understand even at the Quantum level.
      Because of that, Lord Buddha was compltely a living marvel. Then you would understand whether it is fair to compare JEsus and Mohommad with the Buddha.

      As AVB pointed, I don’t think, if tried, Nazis would have been successful in producing babies with exceptional intelligence.

      Science won’t be able to explain eveything all in material terms. I think, Scientists in the east one day redefine all the western theories and write the complete theory which can explain every thing.

  • 1
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    jimsofty.

    Jimmy is that really you?Were you at the EFac-Pera?

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    My search was about what is the difference between the excellence achieved academically (all forms of knowledge and intelligence) and the enlightened knowledge/intelligence. Is enlightenment a leap frog extension of school education is or it a different one? I think professor Kumar too having some kind of question on this. Probably Prof. Kumar is willing to deny the existence of enlightenment? He purposely skipped those ones we treat as enlightened.

    Let me put the question in a different way, more precisely. Is that possible for computers to become enlightened or take up Prophet’s role? Will that bring real peace in the world or more division and hates?

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    “Incredible faculties, powers of calculation and the ability to perform improbable mental tasks is not the same as genius. Genius is comprehension, formulation and enunciation of a body of thought or art…”

    Intrigued as to what to do with an idiot’s description of genius! Isn’t it the same as a blind man’s view of an elephant?

    Please answer.

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    Genius or Idiot Savant?
    In ancient Rome, the genius (plural in Latin genii) was the guiding spirit or tutelary deity of a person, family (gens), or place (genius loci).
    Idiot savant – a person who is considered to be mentally handicapped but displays brilliance in a specific area, especially one involving memory.
    I wonder the chess prodigy is a genius or an idiot savant. The polymaths you mentioned are true genii. Da Vinci apart from what you mentioned, studied human anatomy. His sketches of the heart valve working, without the aid of X-ray and scans to see a working organ, were used to design modern heart valves.
    The weighing of brains to relate the ‘roof-brain’ to IQ is mistaken science. The whole body is the brain. The same mistake was made in studying cells where the nucleus was considered the ‘brain of the cell’ but, now it is well established that the cell-membrane is the ‘brain’. Measuring IQ, too, is debatable as intelligence transcends roof-brain activity.
    Genetic influence on intelligence is based on the obsolete nature-nurture divide. Epigenetics has replaced this with a holistic approach, very close to Lamarck and ‘Jumping Genes’ proposed by Barbara McClintock. Transposable elements (TEs), also known as “jumping genes” or transposons, are sequences of DNA that move (or jump) from one location in the genome to another. Maize geneticist Barbara McClintock discovered TEs in the 1940s, and for decades thereafter, most scientists dismissed transposons as useless or “junk” DNA. Barbara McClintock (June 16, 1902 – September 2, 1992) was an American scientist and cytogeneticist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927.
    A full treatment on Epigenetics is found in Bruce Lipton’s “Biology of Belief’ and “Spontaneous Evolution”. Bruce Harold Lipton (born October 21, 1944 at Mount Kisco, New York), is an American developmental biologist best known for promoting the idea that genes and DNA can be manipulated by a person’s beliefs. He is the author of the bestselling book, The Biology of Belief, and is a former researcher at Stanford University’s School of Medicine
    Regarding your foray in to classical music it would be interesting to read Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, also known as GEB, is a 1979 book by Douglas Hofstadter.
    I keep wondering instead of polymaths why we produce robots. They think the body is the transport mechanism for the roof-brain to be taken for meetings and discussions like this.
    If you want to speculate why this is so, please watch Sir Ken Robinson speaking about ‘Schools killing creativity’. Sir Kenneth Robinson (born 4 March 1950) is a British author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was Director of the Arts in Schools Project (1985–89) and Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001), and is now Professor Emeritus at the same institution. In 2003 he was knighted for services to art.

  • 2
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    Shakuntala Devi

    Shakuntala Devi was a prodigy doing amazing number calculations. Unlike Ramanujan, who excelled in mathematical formulas etc. Devi’s specialty was arithmetical calculations. She visited ME a few decades back and I had the privilege of seeing one of her performances in Bahrain.

    (The following is from Wikipedia): Devi travelled the world demonstrating her arithmetic talents, including a tour of Europe in 1950 and a performance in New York City in 1976. In 1988, Arthur Jensen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley tested her performance, including the calculation of large numbers. Examples of the problems presented to Devi included calculating the cube root of 61,629,875 and the seventh root of 170,859,375. Jensen reported that Devi provided the solution to them (395 and 15, respectively) before Jensen could copy them down in his notebook. Jensen published his findings in the academic journal Intelligence in 1990.

    In 1977, at Southern Methodist University, she gave the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds. Her answer—546,372,891—was confirmed by calculations done at the US Bureau of Standards by the UNIVAC 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation.

    On 18 June 1980, she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers—7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779—picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College London. She correctly answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds. This event was recorded in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records. Writer Steven Smith said, “the result is so far superior to anything previously reported that it can only be described as unbelievable”.

    Devi explained many of the methods she used to do mental calculations in her book ‘Figuring: The Joy of Numbers’, that is still in print. See the Works section below.

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      Come to think of it, cube root of 61,629,875 and the seventh root of 170,859,375could not have been too difficult. The last digit has to be 5 because no other digit would yield 5 on repeated multiplication. I have no idea how she got the other digits so quickly.

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      Edwin

      I have had the fortune of attending a Sakuntala Devi’s performance. It really was amazing. She was a bit boastful, perhaps in humour, too proclaiming from time time ‘I am better than a computer’ which she proved without doubt. Guys with desktop PCs on the stage could not key in the questions fast enough before she announced the answer. At the beginning she insisted some school kids seated in the front rows to be removed to the back which appeared somewhat impolite for a lady. Everyone looked askance. After the organizers obliged the request she gave the reason: those kids ask questions like what is 7 into 13!

      Soma

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        A Sri Lankan Prodigy

        Soma, according to Shakuntala, her answers are not automatic as in the case of Ramanujan. She has explained the methods in some of her books.

        The Japanese abacus is also a wonderful thing. When I visited Japan back in the 70’s the electronic calculators were coming in to the market but the cashiers in banks were all using the abacus. Somewhere in the 80’s a competition was held in Japan between two champions in their respective fields, one with an electronic calculator and the other with an abacus and the abacus won.

        Nearer home, in 1960 a Sri Lankan prodigy, who was a legend of our time, entered the Engineering-Faculty directly in to the second year. He had done so well in his GCE (AL) that they gave an exemption for him, whereby he did not go through GSQ year.

        He sat for his GCE (AL) when he was so young that he had to wait one year before he reached the minimum age required to enter university. Legend has it, that during that year he spent his time doing mathematics, such as recalculating 12 digit log tables manually (there being no calculators at the time).

        Another story is that he completed all GCE (AL) papers in about one hour and walked out of the exam hall. People thought he must be a real idiot and that he walked out in frustration. But the results told a different story.

        He did some lectures on electronics for us never referring to any notes, and sometimes we found him bypassing 4 or 5 complex steps in his analysis which confused Putujjanas like me. But he was such a humble and non-assuming genius that he explained everything whenever we wanted him to.

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    The Faradays, Marconis and Oliver Heavisides

    When discussing intelligence and genius, one must not forget people such as the above, who did not have any mathematical knowledge. Out of these I like Marconi best. He was the first person to send a radio signal across the Atlantic. When he expressed his desire to do so, many scientists and engineers laughed at him saying he is a fool and that it is impossible to do so. The reason they gave was that, due to the curvature of the Earth, the straight line joining two points in either side of the Atlantic had to pass through solid Earth and everyone knew that this would block any radio signal.

    But Marconi did not understand all that and carried out the expensive experiment and to the surprise of all, the signal was received on the other side. This was later found to be due to the signal getting reflected from the ionosphere, which no one knew about at that time.

    Oliver Heaviside invented the ‘Heaviside Operator’ D, a tool for solving linear differential equations, which are used to analyze the transient behaviour of electrical circuits. He did not have any formal education in science but taught himself all that. The mathematicians protested about this saying that it is not a mathematically rigorous method and Heaviside, an arrogant man, told them to go to hell. Later on, D was found to be the same as the ‘s’ parameter of the Laplace Transforms, a highly rigorous mathematical procedure.

    In Sri Lanka, with so many qualified engineers, the paddy par boiling machine was invented by a technician. The safe kerosene lamp was invented by a Doctor. What have the engineers invented?

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    The Luzhin Defense

    This 2000 movie based on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name, starring, John Turturro, Emily Watson, Geraldine James and set in the late 1920s, tells the story of a shambling, unworldly chess Grand Master who arrives in the Italian Lakes to play the match of his life and unexpectedly finds the love of his life. Faced with defeat in his game of chess he develops something called the The Luzhin Defense to avoid it. That is what I am going to do tomorrow.

    G.K. Chesterton once said that “Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom.”

    That is what I have to say to some of my critics (foremost among them my housekeeper Silvestra), who think I am insane. I am unreasonable and hence I cannot be insane. I am not a mathematician like Ramanujan or Professor David. So, I cannot be insane. Now you know who is insane and who is not.

    (Description of movie from International Movie Data Base)

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    Richard Feynman

    AKD made it clear that he is not going to discuss Buddha here. I hope there would be no objection if I bring in Dr. Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winning Physicist, who once said,“Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it”.

    Wow, you see? He is just what the Doctor ordered for this discussion. He was brilliant in physics but playful like a child. The two were connected. If you don’t learn to play around with ideas, you don’t see new things and you don’t make any new discoveries.

    He also said, “If you simply do what’s in the books, you’re not following the Buddha’s method. The Buddha didn’t follow what was in books. He had to use his own powers of ingenuity. We have the advantage that we’re building on the discoveries he made, but we still have to go back and make those same discoveries for ourselves. We have to use the same method he used. And one element in that method is this ability to improvise”.

    As Buddha emphasized time and again, Dhamma is not for learned discussions, debates etc. It is for practicing only (Ehi Passiko).

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    The 3 R’s

    The main reason why we are discussing about great scientists and inventers like Einstein, Marconi, Faraday and Ramanujan here is that we want Sri Lanka also to produce such top people in the future. Is our educational system up to the task?

    A news report says more than 150 officials from 4 state institutions have gone abroad from time to time to study garbage management. That did not help probably because the management was garbage and those who were sent abroad were also garbage. It would be unpatriotic for garbage to work against the common good of garbage.

    Another report says that a group of Japanese specialists have submitted their report on the incident to the President. The report proposes 3 R’s Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as a solution. It was shameful to read that report. With all those experts going abroad, and other officials working on the same, it took some Japanese experts to propose these simple and common sense counter-measures.

    It was the same story at Norochcholai coal power plant. It is said that hundreds of CEB engineers went to China for training but learnt nothing about handling coal because they were busy learning how to handle stuff of a lighter color.

    BBC Sinhala recently showed how a housewife in that area manages her garbage. She may not have a university degree. But she is smart and resourceful and courageous enough not to say, ‘I give up’. While the officials were wondering what to do about the problem, this lady used her brains to do something about it. What this means is that we have good human resources. What is lacking are the systems to prevent them becoming garbage.

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    Dear Dr.K.D.

    We all thank you profusely for bringing in this most interesting subject and your delicious essay(some feat judging by the colour of your beard) on the topic. Which left me with the following puzzle:
    Had those Chess prodigies discussed here were educated in Physics or Mathematics from early age would that have produced Physicists and Mathematicians close to Einstein or Rananujan?

    Soma

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    Edwin.

    Are you referring to Dr.Harsha Sirisena? A product of a Sinhala father and Tamil mother!

    • 0
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      Yes.

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