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The (Long) Road to Chess Mastery

According to experts it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any field. So the following is my attempt to gauge my chess progress based on the 10,000 hour rule.


  • 10,000 hours of practice = expert
  • A chess expert is a player with a 2000 USCF rating.
  • Your starting chess rating is approximately 1000 USCF.
  • Halfway through your training or 5,000 hours of practice later you should be rated approximately 1500.
  • I have been playing chess for approximately 6 years.
  • I spend an average of 2 hours per day on chess which comes out to 730 hours of chess practice per year.
  • 6 years * 730 hours / year = 4,380 hours of study so far, so I am 43% on my road to chess mastery.
  • I still need 5,620 hours to become an expert.
  • At the current rate of 2 hours, I will reach a 2000 USCF rating in approximately 7.7 years.
  • Since I have completed 44% of the 10,000 hours my rating should be at around 1440* ( I am currently FICS standard 1684 – 250 (USCF adjustment) =  1434 USCF equivalent)
  • If I increase my study time to 3 hours per day, I will decrease the time required to reach 200 from 7.7 to 5.1 years.
  • Increasing study time to 4 hours / day I will reach 2000 in 3.8 more years.
  • Increasing study time to 5 hours / day I will reach 2000 in 3 years (huge drop off and not worth it).

It seems that the optimal number of hours to spend on practicing / studying chess per day is 3 hours.

* I figured 1440 by multiplying 1000 * 44% (which is the total gain required from 1000 – 2000).


  • 2 years ago


    Is there an update re your training and current rating based on this program?

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