As far as I know, there’s only one Hungarian educator with magic powers, and (like all good wizards) his secrets are maddeningly hard to find.
Laszlo Polgar studied intelligence in university, and decided he had discovered the basic principles behind raising any child to be a genius.
He wrote a book called Bring Up Genius and recruited an interested woman to marry him so they could test his philosophy by raising children together.
He said a bunch of stuff on how ‘natural talent’ was meaningless and so any child could become a prodigy with the right upbringing.
And the contrary claims – like the one that Bobby Fischer’s IQ was in the 180s – are less well-sourced (although Fischer was the son of a Hungarian-Jewish mathematician, so who knows? If it were possible to be a chess world champion with an IQ of 135, then maybe it’s possible to be a “mere” grandmaster with IQs in the high 120s and low 130s.
And it’s just barely plausible that some sufficiently smart people might have three kids who all have IQs in the high 120s and low 130s. 2% of people have IQs in the high 120s or low 130s, but 2% of people aren’t the top-ranked female chess player in the world. “Practice” seems like an obvious part of the picture.
Robert Howard has a paper Does High-Level Performance Depend On Practice Alone?
Debunking The Polgar Sisters Case in which he argues against the strong version of Gladwell’s thesis.
How can we reconcile that with the rest of our picture of the world, and how obsessed should we be with getting a copy of Laszlo Polgar’s book? Let’s get this out of the way first: the Polgar sisters were probably genetically really smart.
The whole family was Hungarian Jews, a group with a great track record.
I still think arguing about this is unnecessary thanks to the points below.] On the other hand, I’m not sure Levitt’s right.
Chess champion Gary Kasparov actually sat and took an IQ test for the magazine Der Spiegel, and his IQ was 135.
Also they spoke seven languages, including Esperanto.