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Mark Zuckerberg vs. Bobby Fischer

David Fincher’s decade-defining film The Social Network opens tomorrow. Roger Ebert — an embracer of both Facebook and Twitter — loves the film, and has posted a review that compares Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg to World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer.

[Zuckerberg] reminds me of the chess prodigy Bobby Fischer. There may be a touch of Asperger’s syndrome in both: They possess genius but are tone-deaf in social situations. Example: It is inefficient to seek romance by using strict logic to demonstrate your intellectual arrogance.

In theory, there are more possible moves on a chess board than molecules in the universe. Chessmasters cannot possibly calculate all of them, but using intuition, they can “see” a way through this near-infinity to a winning move. Nobody was ever better at chess than Bobby Fischer. Likewise, programming languages and techniques are widely known, but it was Zuckerberg who intuited how he could link them with a networking site. The genius of Facebook requires not psychological insight but its method of combining ego with interaction.

It’s said there are child prodigies in only three areas: math, music and chess. These non-verbal areas require little maturity or knowledge of human nature, but a quick ability to perceive patterns, logical rules and linkages. I suspect computer programming may be a fourth area.

Lots of people have been looking forward to this film for a long time. I’m one of them.

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