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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #41 Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:28 pm 
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This "can I do X at age Y" type of discussion has been hashed out many times before. I might have had various opinions over the years, though, I'm typically optimistic.

Now, when I look at things, a single variable seems most important to me: passion.

Have passion for something, and look only at that. Then you won't have time for these types of questions.

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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #42 Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:48 pm 
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jlt wrote:
Knotwilg wrote:
The odds are probably better for a 30 year old to become a professional go player than to become a professional football player, because the mind can be stretched a little more than the body, but not much better.


I am am wondering how much the mind really declines at 30 or 40 years old. If it's 5% or 10%, maybe it's much less problematic than in sports. If you run 10% slower then you are not competitive anymore, but if you learn 10% slower then you can still reach a high level in any intellectual domain.

So if someone has some information about the magnitude of the decline of cognitive functions, expressed as a percentage (10% ? 20% ? More ?) I would be interested.


First, although excellence at go or chess or bridge or poker requires various cognitive skills (different for each game) general cognitive functioning means little. They are specialized skills.

Second, there is some evidence that learning one of these games as a child makes a difference. Children learn differently from adults. They literally sculpt their brains.* While the brain remains plastic, adults mostly rely upon the structures they built as children.

I have not followed recent research, but for chess masters of the late 19th and early 20th century the threshold seemed to be around age 11. Masters who learned chess before age 11 got stronger, on average, and maintained their strength for a longer time.

As for IQ, which is not the same as general cognitive functioning, research in the mid 20th century indicated that most people peak in their 20s, with a slow decline. But some people continue to increase their IQ (fairly slowly) with no peak discovered by that research.

*Edit: As a sculptor chips away rock to create a sculpture, starting in the womb, unused or underused neurons die off at a rapid rate in children. We continue to lose neurons as adults, but not at that rate.

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Last edited by Bill Spight on Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #43 Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:32 am 
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Kirby wrote:
This "can I do X at age Y" type of discussion has been hashed out many times before. I might have had various opinions over the years, though, I'm typically optimistic.

Now, when I look at things, a single variable seems most important to me: passion.

Have passion for something, and look only at that. Then you won't have time for these types of questions.


Amen to that. It reminds me of Harry Mulisch, a famous writer in Dutch speaking countries, who had someone coming up to him asking "what do I have to do to become a writer?" to which he replied: "I can't tell you. I just started writing because I had to do it. So, if you're not writing today, what's holding you back?"


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