Sunday, December 04, 2005


Mathematician or chess player?

In my book, A Passion for Mathematics, I conducted a large survey on this question: "Would you rather marry the best mathematician in the world or the best chess player? What would most people choose?" -- and I give answers in the book.

What is your answer?

I wouldn't mary either one. Someone so good in a single field would surely be severely lacking in many others.
Seems to me if you married someone like Bobby Fisher you would travel and question a great, which could be exciting and thrilling albeit tiring. In the end, everyone would be guessing your next move. And while a mathematician would unlock secrets concerning the physical world, he/she might lack spiritual assembly; however, someone like Sofia Kovalevskaya might be the exception to that notion. Tough call, but I would go with a chess player.
I would have to say the chess player. The mathematician might spend a lot of time in his head, and I probably wouldn't understand half of what he was talking about. With a really good chess player, there would be travel opportunities. Also, he might be more outgoing and fun to spend time with.
depends on who they are and what they looked like. It matters more on WHO the person is than what they do for a living. I mean, who cares?
All other thins being equal, I'd marry the mathematician.

Chess is one, single, fairly narrouw problem (which is not to say that it is easy) while mathematics covers an incredibly vast area, with opportunities for all sorts of insights, new perspectives, creativity, applications in countless practical areas, etc.

So it seems to me that a mathematician would be more interesting to spend a life with than someone with the somewhat overly narrow focus that a great chess player has and must have.
On the one hand, I don't recall ever reading about the lives of any world famous mathematicians, so that area is a total unknown to me. On the other hand, Bobby Fischer was an emotionally stunted, rude, self-centered, awkward embarrassment to America during the 1972 championship against Boris Spassky. It's a true dilemma.
If the choice came down to two women equally suited and right for me I would have to go with the mathematician. I prefer to discuss math and science over chess anyday. But that's just me.
I would choose chess since they can play you like a fiddle.
If I absolutely had to pick one, I'd probably go with the mathematician. The chess player is in competition. He's focused on winning, and being the best. He's probably so arrogant that I wouldn't want to have lunch with him, much less marry him. There's at least a chance that the mathematician is just someone who's naturally gifted and facinated with the field, and so he studies it and contributes to it. He could be a narcisistic, self-absorbed jerk, but he's got better odds than the world champion chess player of being a decent human being.

But I'd prefer to marry neither of them.
Being a man, I would marry the math girl. She would be smart, have a good job, & would be very helpful figuring out my home building projects.
The only drawback is she would know exactly how long six inches is.

My chess game is horrible, my math is worse. They would both be highly analytical people. And I would be left out of that part of their lives.

If I HAD to marry one, I think I'd pick the one that smiled the most.
I would select a female Chess player. Anyone can learn how to play stores sell cute and fun chess programs and anyone can learn the art within a week.. and if one married a Pro then one would get alot of practice, plus, let's not forget the traveling to other countries as well as the tournaments that go in the states....It is a small number (like a needle in a haystack)but very attractive ladies are now playing chess in 2007.
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