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View Full Version : How do people get so strong so fast?



Zwischenzug
18-10-2006, 08:11 PM
Hi. Often I feel a bit jealous of people who started chess at the age of 7 or 8, they have a tremendous head start on people who started around 15 (I started at 15, seldom playing until around now when I decided to take it more seriously). I have heard that there are chess players out there that have started chess around late teens and reached the 2000 level within around 4 or 5 years. How do they do that? Is it training or just talent?

For now, I am going to focus on my endgame using Muller and Lemprecht's Fundamental Chess Endings.

The_Wise_Man
18-10-2006, 10:51 PM
Steroids... Performance Enhancing Drugs.... :owned: :owned: :owned:

Garvinator
19-10-2006, 12:16 AM
Steroids... Performance Enhancing Drugs.... :owned: :owned: :owned:
fritz in loos ;)

MichaelBaron
19-10-2006, 01:41 AM
There are various reasons why some players are improving fast. Hard work and dedication are the main ones I guess.

Kevin Bonham
19-10-2006, 02:57 PM
I'd like to know if there's been any formalised controlled testing of what makes players of specific ages improve or not improve - in particular relating training undertaken, amount of games played, etc to actual subsequent tournament results.

Apart from that it seems like there are a range of claims out there that specific things work, but a reality that if you're young there are a wide range of ways you might get better fast, and if you're not young it's most likely that no amount of hard work will make a massive difference, although it could.

MichaelBaron
19-10-2006, 03:26 PM
I'd like to know if there's been any formalised controlled testing of what makes players of specific ages improve or not improve - in particular relating training undertaken, amount of games played, etc to actual subsequent tournament results.

Apart from that it seems like there are a range of claims out there that specific things work, but a reality that if you're young there are a wide range of ways you might get better fast, and if you're not young it's most likely that no amount of hard work will make a massive difference, although it could.

I do not feel that age is much of a barrier. As long as you are still young in your heart and healthy- there is no reason why you should not improve. One problem that we have in Australia is a limited pool of players.

It makes it more difficult for us to experience playing different players of different styles. The Australian chess scene (for natural reasons) is very boring. However, if you keep the motivation going..you can become a master at any age.

And for more information...contact me for chess lessons :whistle: :D

Zwischenzug
19-10-2006, 03:53 PM
I am quite interested in lessons actually, however I live all the way in Sydney whilst you are in Melbourne.

Brian_Jones
19-10-2006, 04:40 PM
One problem that we have in Australia is a limited pool of players.

Very profound statement Michael. I would have thought most countries have a limited supply of players! :)


The Australian chess scene (for natural reasons) is very boring.

I'm not sure I've ever seen you play outside Victoria Michael.

Why don't you play chess in other states? There are plenty of interesting chess players out there if you take the trouble to find them! ;)

Kevin Bonham
19-10-2006, 05:10 PM
Brian's appearance on this thread gives me an idea! In theory a large enough chess retailer's records could be used to match names of mail-order customers and the books they bought and look for correlations between books bought (both numbers and specific titles) and subsequent rating improvement. Of course this still would not prove causation but it would be a start. :)

(I doubt that any Australian retailer would shift enough product for anyone to do such a study and establish which books are likely to give results, but results from retailers in larger chess countries could be interesting. Also it might not be the books but how people use them.)

MichaelBaron
19-10-2006, 06:52 PM
Very profound statement Michael. I would have thought most countries have a limited supply of players! :) ;)

I doubt many other countries have more players than Australia. However, if you are living in Belgium, going to France, Luxembourg, Holland, Germany etc. to play chess is not a big deal.

At the same time, how many foreigners are coming to Aus to play? At most 3-5 players a year! So far this year, we got a hungarian IM living in Canberra plus FM Sales..thats it!

I did play interstate events some years ago: Doebrl, Aus Open, Adelaide weekenders, some NSW country weekender etc.

Doebrl- you could get some variety.
Lidums Cup in Adelaide- I was competing against Victorian players plus Chapman (who was playing alot in Victoria at the time anyway).

Southpaw Jim
19-10-2006, 10:06 PM
I'm not so sure that age per se is a barrier to improvement - personally some of my most rapid academic learning (non-chess) was in my late 20s rather than my late teens/early 20s.

I think the biggest barrier to adult chess beginners is available time. Things would've been fine for me 10-15 years ago, but now... mortgage, parenthood, wife, social commitments, sporting commitments... :eek:

I'd like to think that I personally have a lot of room for improvement, although with limits on my chess time, it'll be slow. I also appreciate that there is a chess "law of diminishing marginal returns" - it will be easier to improve from 1000 to 1500 say, than to improve from 1900 to 2100, notwithstanding that the latter is a smaller increment.

I've heard/read a lot of talk that adults aren't capable of big gains in ability, but I think a lot of this sentiment comes primarily from adults who made these big gains when they were young and haven't personally improved much since their early 20s because they've run into the "law of diminishing marginal returns" chesswise. I could be wrong (I'm a long way off this point myself, so I wouldn't really know :uhoh: ).

Kevin Bonham
19-10-2006, 10:50 PM
Some adults make really spectacular gains. I recall one who played at a club for a year or so and was an unrated easybeat then went from about 900 strength to a published rating in the 1600s within six months including beating a 2000+ rated player.

A few posters on this board have gone up significantly as adults. macavity and Cat are two examples - although a fair amount of Cat's very large gain was due to system changes I think hundreds of points of it were still actual improvement.

It clearly can be done but it would be great to unlock the magic formula(e). If it's mainly hard work and dedication as Michael suggests why are there adult players out there who are definitely dedicated, and doing the hard work, but still are making no lasting progress? Some of them even have good coaches!

Eurotrash - I like your chances of getting to at least 1400 level if not higher; most of your game is OK, and you should get much better at avoiding opposing tactical nasties with more OTB practice.

boardscholar
19-10-2006, 11:10 PM
Many players may have strong skills in one area, that many higher-level players also have. However, they may be terrible in a common beginner's area and are stuck at that level.

These massive jumps could be caused by working on what it is they need most improvement on, thereby bridging the skill/knowledge gaps that limit them.

Desmond
20-10-2006, 12:12 AM
why are there adult players out there who are definitely dedicated, and doing the hard work, but still are making no lasting progress? Because practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect!

eclectic
20-10-2006, 12:29 AM
Because practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect!

Ironically it is probably that quest for perfection which causes a psychological paralysis thus preventing the very progress desired.

Desmond
20-10-2006, 07:40 AM
Ironically it is probably that quest for perfection which causes a psychological paralysis thus preventing the very progress desired.
Would you mind explaining that a little? I'm not sure what you mean

firegoat7
20-10-2006, 10:34 AM
Ironically it is probably that quest for perfection which causes a psychological paralysis thus preventing the very progress desired.

Haha. If your a perfectionist you may aswell give up the game! You are most certainly never going to play the perfect game and you miss out on all the fun in tyring for it. :eek:

cheers Fg7

Southpaw Jim
20-10-2006, 12:53 PM
Eurotrash - I like your chances of getting to at least 1400 level if not higher; most of your game is OK, and you should get much better at avoiding opposing tactical nasties with more OTB practice.

Aw shucks! Reminder to self: extract digit wrt tactical practice :doh:

This thread is kinda interesting, coincidentally I was recently lent de la Maza's book, Rapid Chess Improvement. I can see that it'd work for some, but I also appreciate the criticisms (eg IM Silman (http://www.jeremysilman.com/book_reviews_js/js_rapid_chess_improv.htm)) that he's merely exhorting people to become tactical robots...