Adrianus Dingeman (Adriaan) de Groot (Santpoort, 26 October 1914 – Schiermonnikoog, 14 August 2006) was a Dutch chess master and psychologist, who conducted some of the most famous chess experiments of all time in the 1940s-60. In 1946 he wrote his thesis Het denken van den schaker, which in 1965 was translated into English and published as Thought and choice in chess. De Groot played for the Netherlands in the Chess Olympiads of 1937 and 1939.
The studies involve participants of all chess backgrounds, from amateurs to masters. They investigate the cognitive requirements and the thought processes involved in moving a chess piece. The participants were usually required to solve a given chess problem correctly under the supervision of an experimenter and represent their thought-processes vocally so that they could be recorded.
De Groot found that much of what is important in choosing a move occurs during the first few seconds of exposure to a new position. Four stages in the task of choosing the next move were noted. The first stage was the ‘orientation phase’, in which the subject assessed the situation and determined a very general idea of what to do next. The second stage, the ‘exploration phase’ was manifested by looking at some branches of the game tree. The third stage, or ‘investigation phase’ resulted in the subject choosing a probable best move. Finally, in the fourth stage, the ‘proof phase’, saw the subject confirming with him/herself that the results of the investigation were valid.
De Groot concurred with Alfred Binet that visual memory and visual perception are important attributors and that problem-solving ability is of paramount importance. Memory is particularly important, according to de Groot (1965) in that there are no ‘new’ moves in chess and so those from personal experience or from the experience of others can be committed to memory.
- Thought and choice in chess (1965).
- Saint Nicholas, A psychoanalytic study of his history and myth (1965).
- Methodology. Foundations of inference and research in the behavioral sciences (1969).
- Perception and memory in chess: Heuristics of the professional eye (1996; with Fernand Gobet and Riekent Jongman).
Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide in homes, parks, clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.
Each player begins the game with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently. Pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent’s pieces, with the objective to ‘checkmate‘ the opponent’s king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by the voluntary resignation of the opponent, which typically occurs when too much material is lost, or if checkmate appears unavoidable. A game may also result in a draw in several ways, where neither player wins. The course of the game is divided into three phases: opening, middlegame, and endgame.
Chess is believed to have originated in Eastern India, c. 280 – 550 CE, in the Gupta Empire, where its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturaṅga (Sanskrit: चतुरङ्गक्रीडा), literally four divisions [of the military] – infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. The earliest evidence of chess is found in the neighboring Sassanid Persia around 600, where the game came to be known by the name chatrang. Chatrang is evoked in three epic romances written in Pahlavi (Middle Persian).
Chatrang was taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia (633–44), where it was then named shatranj, with the pieces largely retaining their Persian names. In Spanish “shatranj” was rendered as ajedrez (“al-shatranj”), in Portuguese as xadrez, and in Greek as ζατρίκιον (zatrikion, which comes directly from the Persian chatrang), but in the rest of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian shāh (“king”), which was familiar as an exclamation and became the English words “check” and “chess”. Murray theorized that Muslim traders came to European seaports with ornamental chess kings as curios before they brought the game of chess.
The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By the year 1000 it had spread throughout Europe. Introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in the 10th century, it was described in a famous 13th-century manuscript covering shatranj, backgammon, and dice named the Libro de los juegos. Another theory contends that chess arose from the game xiangqi (Chinese chess) or one of its predecessors, although this has been contested.