Learning chess later in life

salwilliam

I'm learning chess at 40 after being inspired by The Queen's Gambit. I'm curious what you guys think is the best method to study/practice and improve for someone older?

salwilliam

I'm doing the Chess.com lessons and I think they're pretty great, but aside from that. Books?

Also, what's a reasonable lofty long-term goal? I have a ton of experience playing poker but virtually none with chess until a couple months ago. I realize no one is becoming a master learning the game at 40, but I still want to find something to shoot for.

nottyrahul

what a coincidence...I'm in the same boat...just a few years younger...I'm 35...want to learn chess and its jargon

binomine

The main advantage of being young is that your mommy and daddy take care of you, so you can focus your free time on whatever you want. It is a lot tougher to get stronger when you also have to balance feeding and bathing yourself. 

However, don't worry too much, the biggest number of participants in any open tournament is almost always adults U1200, and suggestions for books and how to become stronger at chess is is aim at people like yourself, since young children are covered by scholastic chess programs. 

You are definitely not alone. 

kfr01
Exactly the same thing I’m wondering. Also came to the game new after Queen’s Gambit.
binomine
salwilliam wrote: I realize no one is becoming a master learning the game at 40, but I still want to find something to shoot for.

I firmly believe anyone can become a NM with enough study, but that is the question.

How much time are you going to spend on this game?

Beth magics her chess knowledge, but likely someone at a master level would be spending 5 ~ 8 hours a day just practicing for themselves as well as spending more time teaching others.

 

Wurstzug

Chess.com studies r great, but I'd also recommend books, especially from John Nunn, a very good author. He writes books for all levels. Check him outhappy.png

Bagelman14

hi

salwilliam
Bagelman14 wrote:

hi

hey man

salwilliam
Wurstzug wrote:

Chess.com studies r great, but I'd also recommend books, especially from John Nunn, a very good author. He writes books for all levels. Check him out

ok! thanks!

salwilliam
binomine wrote:
salwilliam wrote: I realize no one is becoming a master learning the game at 40, but I still want to find something to shoot for.

I firmly believe anyone can become a NM with enough study, but that is the question.

How much time are you going to spend on this game?

Beth magics her chess knowledge, but likely someone at a master level would be spending 5 ~ 8 hours a day just practicing for themselves as well as spending more time teaching others.

 

well I don't have 8 hours a day to learn chess! haha 

Have ppl who picked up chess at 40 ever got to that level? Doesn't seem possible but what do I know. I was thinking more like 1400-1800 rating one day, whereas I'm guessing NM is a rating of 2500+ ?

salwilliam
nottyrahul wrote:

what a coincidence...I'm in the same boat...just a few years younger...I'm 35...want to learn chess and its jargon

Cool happy.png Yeah when the lesson software did en passant I thought it was a bug.

nklristic

I hope these tips will serve you well:

https://www.chess.com/blog/nklristic/the-beginners-tale-first-steps-to-chess-improvement

Good luck on your chess journey. happy.png

Bgabor91

Dear Salwilliam,

I am a certified, full-time chess coach, so I hope I can help you. happy.png  Everybody is different, so that's why there isn't only one general way to learn. First of all, you have to discover your biggest weaknesses in the game and start working on them. The most effective way for that is analysing your own games. Of course, if you are a beginner, you can't do it efficiently because you don't know too much about the game yet. There is a built-in engine on chess.com which can show you if a move is good or bad but the only problem that it can't explain you the plans, ideas behind the moves, so you won't know why is it so good or bad.

You can learn from books or Youtube channels as well, and maybe you can find a lot of useful information there but these sources are mostly general things and not personalized at all. That's why you need a good coach sooner or later if you really want to be better at chess. A good coach can help you with identifying your biggest weaknesses and explain everything, so you can leave your mistakes behind you. Of course, you won't apply everything immediately, this is a learning process (like learning languages), but if you are persistent and enthusiastic, you will achieve your goals. happy.png

In my opinion, chess has 4 main territories (openings, strategies, tactics/combinations and endgames). If you want to improve efficiently, you should improve all of these skills almost at the same time. That's what my training program is based on. My students really like it because the lessons are not boring (because we talk about more than one areas within one lesson) and they feel the improvement on the longer run. Of course, there are always ups and downs but this is completely normal in everyone's career. happy.png

I hope this is helpful for you. happy.png Good luck for your chess games! happy.png

RAU4ever

Well, if you're a good poker player, you'll know what it means to put in the work to study and learn a game. That would be quite an advantage in studying chess. But you'll also know that what you get out from it will be relative to what you put into it. If you put in 8 hours a day, you'll likely be able to gain hundreds of rating points a year. If you put in less effort, it'll go slower. It all depends. 

The best way to study at lower levels is to study tactics (practice them yourself, but also learn what tactics there are and how to spot them) and middlegame strategy. One good book would be 'How to reassess your chess" by Silman. It's a great way to get introduced to things like good and bad bishops etc. If you'd look through this book and then watch stronger players play games on youtube for example, you'll notice that a lot of those concepts guide the hand of the stronger player in finding 'normal' moves.

The easiest way to improve, however, is always to ask questions and maybe analyze games with stronger players, if you happen to know any. 

Also look through this forum for similar threads with more advice.

P.s. the good news is, though, that improving at chess is always possible, even when you start out a little older. 

bourbonguy1

I’m 63 and just started playing the end of December. What I do is I do the tactics trainer (puzzles) everyday. I do them slowly trying to understand each move and the reason for them and occasionally I select puzzle themes for an area I want to work on like basic and advanced checkmates. The lessons are also very good and I encourage you to take advantage of them. I play daily games so I can take my time and plan out my moves. There are some very good books and this link will help you in selecting some good ones based on your need. 

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

I’m always open to playing with some other new folks to help each other along. 

imivangalic

Well starting chess at any age is welcome, dont bother yourself with which age someone become master or not. Just enyoj in every moment of this game and have will to study and improve. Look at chess as something that will help you in other aspects of your life. Best regards Ivan

sholomsimon
salwilliam wrote:

I'm learning chess at 40 after being inspired by The Queen's Gambit. I'm curious what you guys think is the best method to study/practice and improve for someone older?

Some great advice in this thread -- I agree with pretty much all of it.  At some point you're going to want to know about openings, and I strongly recommend learning opening *theory* before learning specific openings.  I like Emms' book "Discovering Chess Openings"

However, the opening just prepares you so that you're in a good situation when the battle starts.  How do you do the battle?  Tactics.  Learn tactics.

And at some point you'll need a basic primer in endings.  You can't fully win the battle until you get to (or close to) checkmate, so you'll need to know that.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

(Note: I used to play -- almost 50 years ago -- but also had my interest re-kindled by watching Queen's Gambit, and jumped back in with both feet about a month ago)

mpaetz

     You might want to get Siegebert Tarrasch's "The Game of Chess". He was the world's top player and a highly-respected educator. It starts with the simple explanation of the powers of the pieces and goes on to show how to combine them to best effect. It doesn't assume you know anything and does not get into more complicated ideas before thouroughly explaining the most basic principles.

Jenium
salwilliam wrote:
binomine wrote:
salwilliam wrote: I realize no one is becoming a master learning the game at 40, but I still want to find something to shoot for.

I firmly believe anyone can become a NM with enough study, but that is the question.

How much time are you going to spend on this game?

Beth magics her chess knowledge, but likely someone at a master level would be spending 5 ~ 8 hours a day just practicing for themselves as well as spending more time teaching others.

 

well I don't have 8 hours a day to learn chess! haha 

Have ppl who picked up chess at 40 ever got to that level? Doesn't seem possible but what do I know. I was thinking more like 1400-1800 rating one day, whereas I'm guessing NM is a rating of 2500+ ?

Yes, 1600 is a realistic goal to aim at. You will be able to play decent games of chess against decent intermediate players... (Once there you could still think whether you want to invest more time.)