The Psychology of Chess  book cover
1st Edition

The Psychology of Chess

ISBN 9781138216655
Published October 8, 2018 by Routledge
140 Pages

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USD $16.95

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Book Description

Do you need to be a genius to be good at chess? What does it take to become a Grandmaster? Can computer programmes beat human intuition in gameplay?

The Psychology of Chess is an insightful overview of the roles of intelligence, expertise, and human intuition in playing this complex and ancient game. The book explores the idea of ‘practice makes perfect’, alongside accounts of why men perform better than women in international rankings, and why chess has become synonymous with extreme intelligence as well as madness.

When artificial intelligence researchers are increasingly studying chess to develop machine learning, The Psychology of Chess shows us how much it has already taught us about the human mind.

Table of Contents



  1. Opening
  2. The eye of the master
  3. Chunks!
  4. The best move
  5. Practice makes (almost) perfect
  6. Men vs. women
  7. Style and intuition
  8. Errare humanum est
  9. Psychological warfare and training techniques
  10. Playing the opponent
  11. Theoretical novelties
  12. Increasing the psychological pressure
  13. Outright cheating
  14. How to progress – From beginner to candidate master
  15. How to progress – From candidate master to grandmaster
  16. Suggested readings
  17. The magic bullet?
  18. Costs of playing chess
  19. Endgame


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Fernand Gobet is Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool, UK. He is a chess International Master, and played numerous times for the Swiss national team.