I was the first on either side of the family to finish college, and the only one to receive a masters (besides my youngest sister a few years later) or a doctorate. Dad valued education even though he only completed his G.E.D. Mom finished high school and was an avid reader who encouraged us three kids to read. Their influence on me as a learner remains evident.
Learning is important in life and in chess. When a teacher stops learning, he/she stop teaching. When a leader stops learning, he/she stops leading. In many ways, when persons stop learning, they stop living. Learning is a way we stretch ourselves. It is a way to think new thoughts. Through learning we "go" to new places and see new things.
Some have had bad learning experiences in the past which has resulted in an apathy or dislike for learning. But life is full of learning experiences. Find one that is fun for you. Don't like to read? Then get audiobooks. Don't like to listen? Then go watch the movie. Not really into words or pictures? Then go do it! Go take lessons. Go try something new. Take someone with you. Learning something new with someone is often more fun.
Many want to improve at chess, but they do nothing about that desire. Learning takes a plan along with the desire. What is your plan? Are you going to read a book? Be honest with yourself. If you hate reading, you probably will not finish reading a chess book. Perhaps watching chess videos and working chess problems will help--there are plenty of them online and books filled with problems.
Some genuinely believe their game will improve if they just keep playing. For a few rare players, that is true. For most of us, "practice does not make perfect." As a coach once told me, "Perfect (or right) practice makes perfect." If we keep playing wrong, it will not help our game to improve. We must try new things. For many, that means they must learn it visually, verbally, or through hand-on application. Friends may be able to help us. Coaching may help. Honestly reviewing our games may help.
What is your plan to learn to win at chess in 2008? What one step will you take this year? Assess yourself and your learning preferences honestly and choose an approach that will help you enjoy learning as much as you enjoy winning. Press the comments button below to share you plan and encourage others! Found a resource that has helped your game go to the next level? Share it!