Chess Improvement Takes A While

Chess improvement takes a while, just as you can’t master the violin overnight. The 10,000 hours rule, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell still seems reasonable for chess, despite studies that show it may not be universally applicable. Ability counts as well of course, but there’s no substitute for dedication.

So why is it that most people look for short cuts, despite the evidence to the contrary? I suspect there’s a lot of hope in this, plus the fact that most adults struggle to find time for pursuits such as chess. It tends to be a lot easier to find time when you’re young and don’t have other responsibilities.

Of course it’s possible to study the right things more efficiently, and I do believe we can shave a good percentage of that 10,000 hours away. It’s also possible to make good progress with less time than that, as long as the focus is on what counts. This was one of my main motivations in creating my Tiger Chess web site, I wanted to shorten the process for serious improvers.

How long does it take? Well for people who can dedicate an hour or so a day to chess it’s possible to notch up a thousand hours in three years. If those three years feature a focus on the right things (tactics, strategy and endgames) then quite substantial progress is possible. Who does this? Not many, which is of course why it’s the route to an edge. Generally speaking adult players spend very little quality time actually studying the game, they are far more likely to chat about it online and buy another openings book.

So what does my web site offer? Well I’ve just launched a 160 week endgame course to add to the 160 week strategy course that has been running for a while. Plus there’s a monthly clinic for members games, book recommendations, articles etc etc. But be warned, there’s not a single promise of how you can become X points stronger in Y amount of time, in other words a sales guru’s nightmare!

Not that this will distract me…

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.