Maximizing Use Of Study Time

Here’s a question that many busy chess players might be interested in, how to maximize use of one’s study time. The temptation of course is to want to do ‘more’ as efficiently as possible, for example a worthy goal might seem to be to read more books on chess. But is this the right way?

Actually not at all, the more we do the more superficially we do it, and without engaging in the sort of ‘deliberate practice’ that is known to lead to mastery. For a chess player this ‘deliberate practice’ means analyzing positions for yourself and figuring out how they work. Reading a book doesn’t do this, no matter how worthy the book is supposed to be. And reading ten books is just ineffective times ten.

Can the art of deliberate practice be learned or are some people naturally inclined to engage in it? This is an interesting question, and actually I suspect it is very hard to ‘learn’. Wanting to get things right and searching for the truth is a painstaking activity that efficient people may find tiresome. They want the ‘outcome’ and might be willing to pay for it with a bit of ‘deliberate practice’, if that’s what it takes. But when the outcome is the most important thing the practice will never be quite right.