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Yes, counting hours works only if the hours were all the same in achieving results. They're not. Floating in the pool is not doing laps. Writing chat messages like these is not improving your endgame play. 30 Mindless 1-minute bullet games probably does more hard to your chess than good.
The big picture that one needs to "practice appropriately" in order to attain mastery, I completely understand. I am aware of the term woodshedding, believe me, I am a musician myself. My problem is mostly with the "10,000 hours" term as well as the "expert" term. Both terms are far too relative and variable. [snip]
If those variables are accounted for in the study, great, then the conclusion needs to be changed, and the 10,000 hours number becomes meaningless still.
The authors of the 1993 study that I have cited do not offer 10,000 hours. Rather, they offer ten year's intense preparation. Beginning with Chase and Simon's 1973 study of chess grandmasters, they proceed to examine other studies in several other domains of achievement, finding the ten years well-supported. They look at studies concerned with music, mathematics, tennis, swimming, and long-distance running.
Throughout the research, their overriding concern is to contest through empirical studies a common perception that innate talent is the critical factor among those who reach the highest levels of achievement in a wide range of performances. Those with innate "gifts" (they historicize such notions, pointing to genetics religious explanations for innate talent) do not become exceptional performers after learning the basics of their art, but after a decade (approximately) of intense and focused labor.
Think of Magnus Carlsen, whose prodigious memory and early skills would seem to suggest innate gifts. As a young child, he quickly reached master level, and he became one of the youngest GMs in history. However, bu his own account, he has studied and can recall 10,000 prior games. He also explained during one of the press conferences that he changed his early reckless attacking style when he began playing against the world's elite.
Perhaps this paragraph from the first page of Ericsson, et al.'s seminal study helps clarify what they claim and do not claim concerning deliberate practice over a long period.
I first saw the 10,000 hours figure in David Shenk, The Genius in All of Us, which is referenced in the blog post to which I linked several pages back. Shenk, it seems to me, does a good job of breaking down professional literature in psychology and allied disciplines and re-presenting it in ordinary English. However, as all popularizers, this translation to everyday speech begins a process of distortion that magnifies as it filters its way into popular discussions built upon summaries further removed from the original research with each telling.
Socrates had some things to say about these imitations of imitations of imitations.
Malcolm Gladwell also seizes upon the 10,000 hours figure. His books outsell those by Shenk.
Just to give an update, I won my last tournament, which put me at 2012, my highest non provisional rating ever (in less than 2 years of OTB).
As far as the practice goes, I can see on this site I've done 201 hours of tactics training, 83 hours of chess mentor. I've probably 50-70ish hours of book learning. Probably 50 hours of videos. Maybe a few hundred hours of playing games (and that's certainly not all deliberate practice). So maybe 1000 hours total, all in my adulthood.
I am only an expert however, so clearly I have room for improvement with more hours put in. I also feel like I understand concepts better now than even a few months ago and that studying that I do is more effective.
Just remember, review ALL your games, even online ones (even if it's a brief review), you have to see why you lost games or what you missed if you are going to get better.
@TheIronDuke, congrats, that is a huge accomplishment!
What are your chess plans moving forward?
@TheIronDuke, that's fantastic. Awesome, inspiring results.
@Larceny Trying to be objective about my game, I feel like my endgame technique is really strong (I've read through a couple times and understand pretty much all of Silman's Complete Endgame Guide), I'm generally strong at tactics, though there is always improvement to be had there. My positional understanding is decent and improving, but I'd like to work on that. My opening prep is alright, but probably my worst part of my game, as I find it really boring to study opening lines.
At this stage, I feel like the best road to improvement for me is to find a good chess coach, around IM level, and have them go over my games with me. It is mostly little improvements that I need to ascend my game, as at this stage it is the little things in general that separate a win from a draw, and a draw from a loss. A good outside eye that can see the patterns in my mistakes I think would be very helpful. I've never had a coach before, as I never thought it would benefit me much, but where I am now I think it is the correct choice if I want to have a shot to hit NM.
@TheIronDuke Have you looked at the book: Alex Dunne, How to Become a Candidate Master? I've only read through part of it, so I cannot offer any authoritative comments, but something in your post made me think of that book. It seems to me that it addresses many little things between your level and the next one higher.
No I haven't. I'll look into it. Thanks for the advice.
Larceny I´m older than 21 and yesterday I played my first fide rated tournament (rapids, 9 games), I made a performance of 1956.
If I make a 2000 performance in my next tournament should I consider myself inspirational and deserving to be included in your list?
I really don´t feel so much inspiring myself by the way (and as you can see by my stats here, I´m not a good player yet).
Thanks for checking in on this thread. Congrats on your fantasic performance!
You have never had an official rating before? I assume you've played pretty extensively on chess.com or some other online sites, right? I would love to hear some details on your age, chess background, etc.
Definitely keep us updated, especially if you get your official rating to >2000. That will be quite an accomplishment.
Hello Everyone-I was invited to post a link to my blog entries here at Inspirational Adult Improvers.
Please read my story of how I learned chess at age 25 and was able to cross the 2000 barrier (about 2050 USCF). In my opinion, any adult if really interested could easily reach this rating in probably half the time it took me!
Best of luck to everyone!
Cool blog. What I noticed is that you were hooked on chess from the very beginning, continued passionately and played/studied regularly for many years.
@sipncoffee, thanks for posting! Great inspirational story.
If you have a link to your FIDE or USCF record, it would be great to see your progress chart over the years.
If anyone is interested, you can see my personal USCF rating progress on my latest blog: http://www.chess.com/blog/sipncoffee/adult-chess-improvement-part-62
Feedback and comments welcomed!
That is right DrCheckevertim- I was pretty dedicated to chess from the first experiences with the game. My beginning was so unstructured in finding my way-I really think anyone can do it now in at least half the time it took me, which was about 14 years or so. I think 5 years or less is very possible with complete dedication, escp. with all the resources out there and excellent guidance. Best of luck to you! Cheers!
I went from "unrated" to USCF 1814, nine months after I joined the USCF.
Haven't broken the 1900 rating level since then, but have learned to play at high speeds, relatively well. GREAT FUN.
Who has the time to regularly play in 2-3 day tournaments? Not me, at least not until I retire.
Assuming it's true, @Sipncoffee's long and consistent commitment to many (long) tournaments is impressive. More power to him.
He's in the top 5 percent of active USCF tournament players.
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