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Conversation with Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member on eSports, STEM, International Chinese Students, and Overcoming the Fear of Failure: Member, International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (4)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/11/01


This is an interview with an anonymous Canadian member of the high-IQ communities. He discusses: “STEM jobs, chess grandmasters, professional eSports, and music composing”; “many high IQ individuals will do exceptionally poorly in tasks that correlate poorly with general intelligence”; the separation from the “international Chinese students”; and the “fear of failure” in a moment of life in which true challenge and competition of talents come forward.

Keywords: esports, fear, International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, IQ STEM.

Conversation with Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member on eSports, STEM, International Chinese Students, and Overcoming the Fear of Failure: Member, International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What examples come to mind in “STEM jobs, chess grandmasters, professional eSports, and music composing”?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member[1],[2]*: STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. You don’t need extreme ability, of course, but most of these jobs are filled with individuals who are solely above average in IQ and mostly above the 80th percentile. It is already well known that Nobel Prize winners, particularly in physics, have incredibly high IQs. The mathematical talent required to win a Fields Medal for mathematics is likely unmeasurable at the moment. The average IQ of Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers lies in the vicinity of 120-125. Those who reach the top have higher IQs. The non-stem subject with the highest IQ would be philosophy. Top philosophers are some of the most intelligent in the world, alongside mathematicians and physicists.

For chess grandmasters, Garry Kasparov was measured with an IQ of 135 using the WAIS, with his working memory as one of the highest, which is expected of a game that requires the use of chunks to categorize chess positions. Judit Polgar, Magnus Carlsen, and Garry Kasparov were estimated or “reported” to have IQs of over 170, but I wish everyone knew that those figures were fake. It is very likely that among chess grandmasters, as the level of chess skill increases, there may be a slight negative correlation with IQ scores. I suppose this is due to other chess players finding more use in pursuing studies at the same time or focusing on studies and because chess at that level of play is not relying on information processing much but memory. Only hobby high-range tests have a ceiling higher than 160, and the name of the test and the standard deviation is not mentioned. Adult IQ scores are more reliable than childhood scores also. Bobby Fisher’s IQ score at the age of 15 was in the 180s, but if tested today on the WAIS, it should be between 150-160. Garry Kasparov was estimated 190 but tested at 135. Realistically his true intelligence might be a lot higher than what an IQ test may indicate since being the best at something does demonstrate extraordinary ability. It is also true that Kasparov was out of school for a long time, which may impact his score and the fact that he was tested at a fairly old age. The average IQ of chess grandmasters is likely to be around 140, with those who can balance being a chess grandmaster and a Ph.D. at a top university at 150. I have no doubt some chess grandmasters who have a Ph.D. could score near the ceiling of the WAIS, given that being good at chess + school is an excellent indication of well rounded and extreme general cognitive ability. This also goes for top musicians and gamers, who have high academic achievement (years of education, difficulty of major, rank of institution, grades).

In any competition, critical aspects of performance long term rely not only on intelligence (the ability for information processing or adaptation/solving problems quickly), but mental fortitude, mental power and stamina, and specific cognitive skills as well. These will help you reach the highest levels, and can all be somewhat trained, except for one’s ability to adapt.

Many people will play video games for a remarkably long time, and they won’t get much better. Video games are incredibly time-consuming and require some ridiculous amount of innate ability combined with dedication and resources to reach the top. Complex and competitive video games will present you with more information than you can process, at rates faster than you can handle, and give you the chance to make more decisions than you’re able to. They can keep throwing you into new situations that ask for you to utilize your pure intellectual power, as humans are pretty good at doing the same thing over and over again (music performance and chess positions) and horrible at doing something new all the time. Chess at the top level is not so g-loaded anymore because Magnus Carlsen memorizes over 10,000 games and does not need to problem solve anymore. Playing a complex piece of music at a top-level requires exceptional time commitment and talent, but it is much more repetitive than a competitive video game.

Video games could be the best pure measures of one’s intellectual capacity. They are much easier to administer than an IQ test and do not likely depend on learned academic skills such as mathematics or language. Also, the ceilings of standardized tests are a problem, whereas we know a mental task like reaction time is measured in absolute terms and captures the full variation much better. A battery of video games (or potentially only using one video game) can capture the full range of variation in intelligence among the general population if there are easy problems where anyone should solve and difficult problems where only the most intelligent should solve quickly. If this is so, we can also measure high-range intelligence much better than a professional IQ test.

People who are naturally good at video games are great at processing information, at least decent at reacting (but they get better very quickly), and can adapt very well (a skill that seems impossible to learn).

The true IQ of top professional gamers (making a living) likely is around 140, but it depends on the game and it’s g-loading. How they score on an IQ test may not tell the full story of their true intelligence. However, the most awe-inspiring individuals can juggle professional level video games alongside a highly g-loaded subject in university (STEM or Philosophy). You can treat it like an individual who is taking a STEM degree at one university and then having to juggle another STEM degree at another university at the same time. It is practically impossible to obtain a Ph.D. in a demanding field at a top 100 institution while simultaneously juggling national gaming performance. National level gamers who graduate with a Computer Science degree are already near 145 IQ (99.9th percentile). Obtaining a Ph.D. in a STEM field at a top 100 institution while being a nationally ranked player simultaneously implies an IQ above 160. I will provide sources later that support this claim.

Players often have to problem solve by themselves, which are exceptionally highly g-loaded and time-consuming. There is also no other activity other than playing video games that will be detrimental to your life success, unfortunately, unless you become a professional gamer or pursue something else in the eSports industry. Most video games are addictive and release dopamine. Even when you are trying to do other things in life, you are continually thinking about how you’re going to play better or beat your opponent in a video game or solve difficult problems in the game. Competitive music, chess, and eSports require the individual to think and practice virtually endlessly. This fact makes these activities the most demanding on the body and mind. This is especially true in eSports since you are presented with new situations to adapt to, whereas in chess, it relies on memory (learned positions). In music, it is not about adapting but more so practicing the same thing repeatedly. I can not begin to imagine the intelligence necessary (180+ perhaps) to balance top-level performance in both eSports and STEM at an elite university at the same time.

These articles from peer-reviewed journal articles support my views that national level gamers at university would score much higher on IQ tests than the average university student at the same school. The gap in scores would be higher as you go from lower g-loading (academic achievement < standardized test < IQ test) to a nearly pure measure of g (which are the problems in complex video games themselves):

1) Toma, M., Halpern, D. F., and Berger, D. E. (2014). Cognitive abilities of elite nationally ranked SCRABBLE and crossword experts. Appl. Cogn. Psychol. 28, 727-737. DOI : 10.1002/acp.3059.

– “Visuospatial and verbal abilities were measured in elite nationally ranked SCRABBLE and crossword experts and compared with college students matched on quantitative and verbal SAT scores, both exceeding 700 on average. SCRABBLE and crossword experts significantly outperformed college students on all cognitive measures.”

– ”Findings suggest that visuospatial and verbal working memory capacities of SCRABBLE and crossword experts are binded and occur at extraordinarily high levels.”

2) Can we reliably measure the general factor of intelligence (g) through commercial video games? Yes, we can! Intelligence, Volume 53, November-December 2015, Pages 1-7 M.Angeles Quiroga, Sergio Escorial, Francisco J.Roman, Daniel Morillo, Andrea Jarabo, Jesus Privado, Miguel Hernandez, Borja Gallego, Roberto Colom.

 – ”Video games and intelligence tests measure the same high-order latent factor.”

3) Intelligence and video games: Beyond “brain games.” Intelligence, Volume 75, July-August 2019, Pages 85-94 M.A.Quiroga, A.Diaz, F.J.Roman, J.Privado, R.Colom.

-”Gaming performance was correlated with standard measures of fluid reasoning, visuospatial ability, and processing speed. Results revealed a correlation value of 0.79 between latent factors representing general intelligence (g) and video games general performance (gVG). This find leads to conclude that: (1) performance intelligence tests and video games are supported by shared cognitive processes and (2) brain-games are not the only genre able to produce performance measures comparable to intelligence standardized tests.”

 4) The effects of video game playing on attention, memory, and executive control. Acta Psychologica, Volume 129, November 2008, Pages 387-398. Walter R.Boot, Arthur F.Kramer, Daniel J.Simons, Monica Fabiani, Gabriele Gratton.

 – “Expert gamers and non-gamers differed on a number of basic cognitive skills: experts could track objects moving at greater speeds, better detected changes to objects stored in visual short-term memory, switched more quickly from one task to another, and mentally rotated objects more efficiently.”

Jacobsen: What are some examples in which “many high IQ individuals will do exceptionally poorly in tasks that correlate poorly with general intelligence”?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member: Some tasks are better than others at estimating overall mental competence. You can take the g-loading as an index of the complexity of a mental task. Tying your shoes is a low g-loaded task because it is not very complicated, whereas learning calculus is a fairly high g-loaded task since you must problem-solve to acquire new skills. On the Wechsler tests, an example would be digit span forward versus digit span backward. Digit span forward is just a simple memory test, but to give back numbers in reverse order requires more cognitive power. Therefore it is more g-loaded. Einstein’s proficiency and talents would have shown in a challenging field, such as physics, but he probably wouldn’t be famous for driving a car magnificently (apparently, he couldn’t drive). Performing complicated tasks effectively indicates profound intellectual ability, whereas failing to perform essential functions at some level will make people think you’re disabled. Einstein perhaps can be an example of someone who can resemble both descriptions.

Jacobsen: What is the feeling in the separation from the “international Chinese students”?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member: In the past, one of my biggest insecurities was my race. Diversity is important. Everyone is unique, and everyone should be proud of themselves. It should also be noted that the group “Asian” is extremely broad, filled with various ethnic groups with very different histories. Not every Asian is Chinese.

I never talked about this to anyone but was conscious about these things near the end of high school. I was quite insecure that I was part of this group labeled as “Asian.” The stereotypes associated with Asian Americans made me feel more conscious of my race since I guess I did not fit those stereotypes. Like an idiot, I fell for the bait and tried to become more “Asian.” It made me feel like I was defined by my race, which led me to forget about the unique traits I have that are divorced from the stereotypes of my racial/ethnic group.

I enjoy being myself, but I don’t want my racial identity or some other part of my social identity to define me. I remember too many times when I blamed any difficulty encountered on my race. On the flip side, would a non-Asian judge me as skillful in math just because of how I look? My race did not play the only role, but I am sure it played an important part. When I saw some non-Asian performing better than me on some non-academic thing, I blamed it on my race to justify it. It was just to my disadvantage, I thought.

Nowadays, I have somehow overcome these insecurities and have matured. I merely view myself as an outlier and outsider, no matter where I go, and have accepted my destiny. Most want to get good grades and go to good schools, but I am different. The Chinese culture never fit me and seemed to inhibit me from being creative and to be my true self and pursue my dreams, and I suffered a lot of depression due to this.

When I was younger, I did not consider ethnicity to be important, but as you grow up with all those stereotypes, they start to hit you. In my senior year of high school, I became more aware of my ethnic heritage and could not escape from it as time went on in my first year of university. I was always judged as being good at math just because of my appearance and quiet personality, and those things did make me uncomfortable a bit, given that I was an underachiever. In contrast, most Asians I knew were overachievers relative to their intelligence or IQ. I was already doing well enough, but I never expected myself to get the highest grades in a class. I never cared about school all that much, but I cared just a little for the first time. Those stereotypes might have helped me improve my work ethic, but later I decided to be who I really was.

I would rather not have anyone associate me with any stereotype. I feel thrilled to know that I am just a unique individual with his own special talents and interests.

Jacobsen: Why the “fear of failure” in a moment of life in which true challenge and competition of talents come forward?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member: There comes a time where you realize you won’t balance everything you love to do in life. My parents expect a lot from me, but I probably wasn’t the perfect kid for them. They want me to graduate with a Computer Science degree from UBC and work a stable job for the rest of my life. However, even though my ability to thrive in these STEM programs is very high, going to the workforce as a programmer was not my passion. I just chose what my parents wanted me to do and later decided what my peers wanted to do. I was stuck finding out my passions but eventually found them. I performed at the top of my class in Calculus courses and had already taken too many math courses to quit now. My primary interests were in Philosophy and Psychology, but of course, those degrees by themselves are viewed as worthless. A compromise would be to double major in Philosophy and a STEM field such as Statistics to gain skills to gain a job and pursue my major interests at the same time. I later learned that Statistics should be helpful in a career in science, so I decided to take it a little more seriously. I don’t necessarily have to be the best statistician, but I need to be good enough to perform well enough. It is also impossible to be a professional gamer and pursue research simultaneously; as far as I know, this type of individual is unheard of in the gaming community. I do want to believe I’m something special and that I’d be the one who can do everything, but this type of arrogant mindset will likely be my downfall. I will probably have to pursue my education full time eventually and give up all my passions to become the best scientist I can be. I do not fear failure anymore, but this was a thing of the past. My insecurities alongside Chinese cultural attitudes made me feel like an underachiever. Like a fool, I fell for this trap and became obsessed with prestige. I never really thought going to UBC was anything prestigious, especially compared to the top 12 schools. Anything non-STEM related was also looked down on by many.

Computer Science at Caltech/MIT/Harvard/Stanford made a good match, and I believed my presence would have been better situated there. I also wanted to go to Harvard or Yale Law, Harvard Medicine, and more. My intelligence is not an issue, but it is difficult for me to deal with social interaction, which will make it difficult to succeed in many things in normal society. If I am truly going to live up to my potential, I must pursue the things I am most interested in doing. I realized later that this mindset was wrong and that I must follow what my inner drives tell me I should seek. I believe UBC is an excellent institution, and I’m proud to be here. If I apply to graduate school, I will apply to Canadian schools for sure, no matter what rank. I don’t have to go to the most elite schools to call myself successful. I don’t think my parents have ever said they were proud of me ever, and that didn’t make me too happy. I was definitely influenced by Chinese culture and their obsession with elite schools, jobs, grades, and virtually nothing else. If I fell for this trap, I could never become the scientist that I wanted to be. I also realized that there are people more talented than I am who may not have gotten the chance at all to attend UBC or any elite institution. I must be more humble but still be self-confident with my extraordinary abilities.

If you watched a part of the Ivy Dreams documentary I had linked, my attitude was similar to this one girl. Had I been brought up in her city and applied to the Ivy Leagues, I would have gotten rejected. Even with perfect SAT or ACT scores (she had a pretty high score), and good grades, I would have failed the interview miserably and would have written a terrible essay. In the documentary, her father was always pressuring her. In her interview, her attitude was arrogant, as she was talking about how her high school was too easy for her and how Upenn would challenge her, thinking she was way smarter than everyone else perhaps. She got rejected from the Ivy Leagues and then got accepted to Washington and Lee University. Still, after she finished reading her acceptance letter out loud with a sad attitude, she threw the paper to the ground, with no respect for it at all because it wasn’t an Ivy League school. She had been told her whole life that getting into an Ivy League school was her only goal, and since she had failed that, she felt worthless. I feel bad about her “failure,” but there is no doubt she deserved it.

I need to move past these artificial labels, find out who I am, and not obsess over trivial things. The labels of “genius,” “prodigy,” and “gifted” don’t mean anything to me anymore. Only through hard work, respect, goodness in my heart, and an appropriate attitude will I achieve anything of value. I have nothing to prove anymore, and I am genuinely proud of how far I have come and grown no matter where I end up in life.

I learned a lot recently and hoped to continue to grow as an individual throughout time. Here is what I have learned.

1) Life is hard sometimes. There are things in life that don’t work out. It is challenging to balance one’s passions and school at the same time. I don’t need validation from others regarding my achievements or intelligence. I don’t need validation from anyone else but myself, and I’m proud of how much I have grown. I must be resilient. No matter the obstacle that comes in my way, I can grow from the experience.

2) Being an outlier and outsider made my life a lot harder. I should be proud of who I am and continue to pursue my dreams, no matter what anyone says.

3) Having empathy is essential. I won’t like every person I meet, but learning how to emphasize with others is vital to me to gain long-lasting friends through mutual respect.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time. 

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (ISPE).

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 1, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021:

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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