Specific Diagnosis + Specific Intervention = Improvement

I was watching this a lecture giving a contemporary view of dyslexia and it got me thinking about how we go about trying to improve our chess, and how rather ineffective random learning can be. Dyslexia is a multi-dimensional disorder, not a ‘diagnosis’. Dyslexia has a variable behaviour manifestation. There is evidence that dyslexia can be ameliorated with appropriate intervention, based on in-depth individual diagnosis.

Perhaps if one looks at one’s chess skills as being impaired in some way, we might see that we all have room for improvement. I’m in the top 1% of graded chess players in England, yet I am no where near Master level – to get there I’d need to be in the top 0.1%. Even Magnus Carlsen, the World No.1, has said recently that he can improve. So how does one go about improving in the most effective way?

Well, funnily enough, the crucial part is to understand what aspects of your chess are not working well, specifically. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be as specific as possible. The clearer the understanding of what needs improvement the more chance you have of finding an appropriate way to improve. Once you have a clear idea of what you need to improve, designing a specific training scheme is the next step. After that comes the hard work of implementing it.

Of course, to do that properly you need a qualified coach that will conduct an in-depth review of your chess skills, diagnosing your strengths and weaknesses, and identifying the key learning areas. The coach can then devise a training scheme specifically for your individual needs, and support you on your implementation journey. Your training scheme will only be as good as your specific chess skills diagnosis. If you only vaguely know what to improve, the risk is you will only vaguely improve, if at all.

Angus James