10 Ways Strong Players Think Differently To Average Players

Reading this article about the attitude differences of the wealthy got me thinking about the differing attitudes of chess players. Here’s my highly stylized and probably controversial chess version, and I might add that I try to live up to the attitudes of the strong but don’t always succeed:

Average players view failure as a reason to give up, strong players view it as a spur to greater efforts.

Average players focus on gaining respectable results, strong players want to excel even if it means taking risks.

Average players make excuses about their lack of practice time, strong players will change their world to create it.

Average players buy books about chess but only ever give them a superficial glance. Strong players study whatever interests them in incredible detail, seeking their own version of the truth.

Average players tend to follow fashion, the strong create it.

Average players talk about their earlier chess prowess, whether or not they ever had it. Strong players focus on where they are now plus their plans to develop, even if they’re past their prime.

Average players blame external factors for their losses, strong players take the responsibility themselves.

Average players willingly bury their personal ambitions and outcomes within the context of a team. Strong players will want to do well personally and will not particularly enjoy being told they should agree a draw in a winning position so that the team can win.

Average players often envy those stronger than themselves, strong players seek to learn from them.

Average players highly value any trophies or titles they manage to get. Strong players only view these things as markers on the journey of their ongoing development.

Nigel Davies


Author: 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. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: