Does the chess ELO rating of players (who have trained/played approximately the same amount of time) correlate positively with IQ?

A usual claim is 'IQ and chess ELO ratings don't correlate', a view widespread in chess circles. However, I have never seen any actual study of it. Interestingly, some of the top chess players — Polgar 170, Kasparov 186, Fischer 190 — are claimed to have genius-level IQ.


1 Answer 1


I found the following study on chess and intelligence:
Does chess need intelligence? — A study with young chess players

The study claims that intelligence was not a significant factor in chess skill, and that if anything, intelligence correlated negatively with chess skill.

When an elite subsample of 23 children was tested, it turned out that intelligence was not a significant factor in chess skill, and that, if anything, it tended to correlate negatively with chess skill.

Therefore I believe that there is no simple intuitive link between IQ and chess.

Furthermore, although not directly answering your question, the following study found here: How intellectual is chess? – A reply to Howard, states:

In 1927 Djakow et all first showed that world-class chess players do not have exceptional intellectual abilities.

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    The articles are paid so I cannot view them, do they mention IQ (the ability to solve IQ tests), or intelligence in general (however it is measured)?
    – comodoro
    Jan 7, 2013 at 18:04
  • Sorry for the delayed response. Yes the studies used IQ to measure the "intelligence" of the subjects, so when they say intelligence, they actually mean IQ.
    – Kenshin
    Jan 17, 2013 at 13:43
  • Go reread your study. The elite subsample has an average IQ over 1 SD higher than the rest of the group.
    – user36403
    Oct 23, 2016 at 2:38
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    @IanR Um...yes? They started with 57 people, then took an "elite" subsample of the population, where "elite" means that they have higher IQ. So your statement that the elite subsample had a higher IQ is a tautology. What point are you trying to make?
    – KAI
    Oct 24, 2016 at 20:35

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