Being obsessive, especially if it goes with being compulsive too, is often seen as disorder. But for chess it’s actually a wonderful gift that enables people to put in the required amount of practice to make progress with the game. The often quoted figure of 10,000 hours time investment just isn’t going to happen with ‘normal’ people as their study time will be interrupted with checking text messages, phoning people up, making cups of tea and eating biscuits.
Being an obsessive person myself I’ve never had a problem with silly distractions. But what should someone do if they don’t have this talent? An internet search came up blank, but then I had the bright idea to simply reverse guidelines against obsessive tendencies. I found an article here and suggest adapting it as follows:
1) Focus on chess mastery and resolve to dismiss distractions.
2) Keep your mind on the board and the moves.
3) Read chess books, nothing else.
4) Understand that chit chat and socialization are a waste of time.
5) Eat simply and order in pizza rather than cook.
6) Accept chess as your lord and master.
7) Seek out practice partners who share your chess obsession, they can function as a ‘social outlet’ without getting distracted.
8) Exercise at home with a chess DVD running at the same time.
9) Only consider activities that will help develop your chess.
10) Don’t do anything for others, focus on your own needs.
11) Avoid wasting time on other activities.
So there you have it, an excellent template for making progress with chess. And if you can’t hack it then just accept staying weak, being the club secretary or something and losing to those with more focus and determination. Obsession isn’t a problem, it’s a talent!