In HPMOR (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality) Tom Riddle is incredibly smart by the time the whole thing takes place. He's also, to my mind, sociopathic and, as Harry puts it, empty inside. We know that Canon!Riddle was raised in an orphanage and later was admitted to Hogwarts, where he tried to strategise towards his goals. But I dare say that he wasn't nearly as smart as Methods!Riddle. So what was it that made the latter that much smarter? Was it something to do with life at the orphanage or did it start even earlier?
ETA: I assume that both had met the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets in their second year, but by that time Methods!Riddle has somehow become smart enough to consider it more appropriate to
murder the creature after taking everything it had to offer from it
ETA: Chapter 18 of HPMOR has this:
"Well, it is the House of the ambitious, after all," Professor Quirrell said, smiling. "I didn't realize until later that what I really enjoyed was Battle Magic, and that my true ambition was to become a great fighting wizard and someday teach at Hogwarts. In any case, when I was thirteen years old, I read through the historical sections of the Hogwarts library, scrutinizing the lives and fates of past Dark Lords, and I made a list of all the mistakes that I would never make when I was a Dark Lord -" (italics added)
So we can assume that by that time Methods!Riddle was both aware of his own desire to become a Dark Lord and
Now if, Mr. Potter - just if by some chance you harbor an ambition similar to the one I held as a young Slytherin - even so, I hope it is not your ambition to become a stupid Dark Lord
at that. I can't recall if there were any similar indications of ambition for Canon!Riddle given.
Disclaimer: For the sake of simplicity I'm going to assume that, unless a more authoritative and proven version of events was given by someone else, both Riddles are telling the truth about themselves and particularly their past. That is, for instance, that Methods!Riddle did actually dislike bullying because he says so.
What I wish to know is are there any indications in the text I might have missed first, and readers' guesses second.