ChessMood 5 months ago

NEW ARTICLE: Achieve Your Chess Goals Using Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Rule
Hey Champions!

We have this topic in our Blog:


If you have any questions, comments or you just liked it, feel free to share your thoughts here.


David Flynn

David Flynn 5 months ago

I think the bigger lesson is you can't have it all (irrespective of what you are told).

Trying to put numbers of things is artificial, but I would go as far as saying if it's not your focus, you probably won't excel at it. You have to compromise, and sometimes you have to enjoy what you have even though you can't get (significantly) better. That's not to say that if it is your focus you will definitely get better, there are lots of reasons. Nor is there any definition of excel.

In 'Think and Grow Rich' the central message (and I could pretty much save you reading the whole book) is that to get rich you have to have a single focus and Napoleon Hill believed you had to burn all your bridges - no going back to get there - do or die (there is dispute as this being the only factor that some of the big names he investigated also were in the right place at the right time - see Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell). I suppose by the same token that getting rich as your only focus, you miss out in life and ironically have lots of money, but aren't really able to enjoy it so you better be enjoying the business you set up as that becomes your life.

More points and expansions in further replies.
David Flynn

David Flynn 5 months ago

As to excel - what is meant by excel in chess that means a goal is reasonable given the time or amount of focus you can put into it. In Lasker's day you could be WC or a strong 'master' and not just be solely a chess player, there wasn't so much to learn and 'common sense' and study of a few greats could take you a long way. You could also be a 'master' of many other things - the investment of time needed was not as great.

Nowadays, to reach a similar percentile it's a lot harder, and even those who do/did other things often got their big chess rises before going off to do other things (Sadler and Kamsky being good examples, but there are plenty of titled players that work in finance for example as it pays a lot more, yet remain pretty strong players). The reason being that there is tons of theory, lots to learn, the competition is stronger - to get there you need to spend so much more time.

It becomes a career, and sadly for most, chess' payback financially isn't enough to support a life much more than getting by (unless you have a lot of students and are well known, or can make it to the top few in your country or the top 20 or so in the world). It's not worth it for that small chance of being successful chess player.

Thus my focus has to be on my work because that is what pays, and the time that is left gets divided up. Now if someone wants to pay my day rate for me to study chess and become titled I'm all ears ;)
David Flynn

David Flynn 5 months ago

It's also possible that you need to study, play and train a lot consistently in a period when you are growing up because of how the brain organises information. Those that start later or cannot put all this time in, may find an uphill struggle. The article does mention about the 40 year old trying to improve. Just how many 40 year olds that weren't pretty strong when they were younger go on to be GMs. Are there many modern examples? Any modern examples? Can other priorities alone explain it. What about retirees, maybe if lucky at 55 who take up chess, they might have time and resources to spend a lot of time on chess. How many 55 year olds went on to become Grandmasters? We know a few grandmasters were still playing at a high level in their 70s or beyond, so given the number that can retire at 55, have a strong passion for chess, and that chess at grandmaster level is not impossible at 65 to give 10 years to work at it, what explains the lack of retirees that make grandmaster level.

What if it's not just about conflicting priorities (real life syndrome) but it's that younger still growing brains can organise the knowledge better with less effort, where as an older brain is less plastic and also doesn't have so many less developed areas to store all the new knowledge arranged close enough together for it to be effective. An area for study perhaps.

Again I don't think it impossible, just it's harder work and then when you add in the other priorities it becomes unobtainable.