The Effect of Age on Chess Improvement
12-month rating gain vs age category

The Effect of Age on Chess Improvement

NM SmarterChess

Two months ago I wrote a post titled Descriptive Data which described the chess goals survey statistics. One of the points mentioned in that post was that younger players tend to improve more quickly. It seems discouraging for adults who are looking to quickly make gains.

I created a boxplot of the annual rating gains in each age category among survey takers. Here’s my two sentence summary on what a boxplot is:

  1. The middle horizontal line in each box is the median of the group
  2. The top and bottom of the box represent the top and bottom quartiles of the data

Average Rating Gain By Age

chess rating gain by age
Annual Rating Gain by Age Category

The data is sparse in the <10 and 60+ age groups, so let’s focus on the 10-59 age range. There is a downward trend that shows, on average, the older players improve less quickly than the younger players.

But…. there is more to it than that! An even stronger predictor of yearly rating gain is initial rating. 

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