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He points out that there are many chess masters who have practiced much less than the Polgar sisters but are better than they are.
He also points out that even though the sisters themselves have all practiced similar amounts, youngest sister Judit is clearly better than the other two in a way that practice alone cannot explain.
Also they spoke seven languages, including Esperanto.
Their immense success suggests that education can have a major effect even on such traditional genius-requiring domains as chess ability.
[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.
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.
I don’t know if the case he’s arguing against – that practice is literally everything and it’s impossible for anything else to factor in – is a straw man or not.
But it seems more important to consider a less silly argument – that practice is one of many factors, and that enough of it can make up for a lack of the others. This study showing that amount of practice only explains 12% of the variance in skill level at various tasks, and is often summarized as “practice doesn’t matter much”.