Hi all. I am in a workers comp position. Due to my injury, all I have to do during the week is go to physical therapy three times a week for an hour. I'm contemplating really studying hard, as in going over my online games here, studying games that are annotated, doing tactics and end game study, as well as a little bit of opening theory.
I have about six month to do this for about six hours, at least, per day, everday.
What I'm wondering is if it should really go for it, or not. I'm 37 years old and have been playing chess all my life. Not seriously until two years ago when I started playing tournaments.
I feel that I'm at a cross road and I'm really looking deep to wonder if I can make...say a national master by forty, and maybe a GM by 50? I know it would take an immense amount of work all along the way, but I have the time now, and the desire to make it happen. The only doubt in my mind is if it is even feasible.
I appreciate any thoughts on the matter. Thank you so much for your time.
If you're seriously considering this, then I'll join you. Just let me know.
I'm definitely considering this. The only question I have is if it is even a possiblitity to achieve this. That's the big question right now. It it is possible we should contact each other and keep each other on target. It would be great!
I don't mean this to sound flippant. Why does it matter if the goal is possible? If you have the time and the pursuit itself is worthwhile and enjoyable to you just do it. It won't be wasted time whether you make to Master or not. You will be better, you will have enjoyed this unique six month opportunity, and you then have a baseline of the time needed to make Master based on a six month experiment.
Your comment is certainly not flippant, I assure you. You are quite correct in your analyis. It will be time well spent, but possible not time that meets the goals that I wish to attain. If the goals stated above are feasible, then I would like to know up front and focus my energy elsewhere, and just enjoy chess as a pleasurable pastime. I have to say that I would like to make it more than that, but I have to look realistically at the advice given to me.
Well I'm not good enough to know if it is possible. But if it is, good luck!
I wish you all the best, and without knowing more about your ability its diffilcult to speculate, although six months may not be enough.
Its hard when you reach a plateau. For myself, I have been played on on off pretty much all my life. When I am playing I tend to be obsessive about it and spend a lot of time of it, but my progression has never gone beyond 1950 OTB.
To get to master level and then GM is going to require more then just study. You will have to develop a complete opening repetoire with White and Black, and you will have to know the lines to these openings inside and outside. In short a lot memorization, sometimes 20 moves and beyond. A lot of master level games are not decided on the board, but rather who had better preparation. You have to research who your opponents are, and prepare hours in advance for each individual.
Of course you have to be strong tactically, and have good endgame technique.
Thank you for your response. I respect what you are saying. I'm wondering if the first six months of intense study would catapult my ability to eventually getting to expert or master level within this year.
Thank you again for your response and have a great day.
Do 2 hours of tactics a day. You will never get any better without improving your calculation. After 2 hours your brain will probably not be able to learn new tactical patterns.
This has long interested me as well. I own "Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory," "My 60 Memorable Games," a series of books by Reinfeld and Horowitz (old books) and I have this site at my disposal. I do tactics all the time but honing a focus would be a great wish of mine - some easy tactics completely throw me for a loop and recently my Tactics score had been over 1400 but fell below 1200 just today, I'm not at around 1250. I do Mentor from time to time, I watch some of the videos. I go to Game Explorer a lot. I play Chess Titans a lot (and mostly lose).
But in the end all of this...it's still mostly a hobby. I have a picture of Bobby Fischer as my profile pic; Chess wasn't a hobby to him.
That's what separates those who truely want to get better and those that merely say they want to get better - which I believe unforutnately I fall into that category.
In order to get the most out of 6 hours a day, you really have to enjoy what you do.
To that end, I'd suggest following the practice of many grandmasters, rather than what they actually recommend. A good coach can help you to create a plan of action.
The very first step is to know thyself. Evaluate everything about your current game and figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. It's not enough to say, "well, I stink at endgames." Which sort of endgames are you worst at? Which are you best at? Is it just the endgames, or are you weak at knowing when a complex position should be simplified?
These sorts of questions will help you to focus your studies.
Regardless of your plan of development, you should definitely spend part of each day (maybe 20 minutes warming up) on tactics training.
With 6 hours a day of chess, you will quickly get into the habit of thinking deeply about the game. But you must also play complete games. Just about every strong player ever to play the game excelled at blitz chess. You develop your intuition and your repertoire by playing blitz chess.
Play blitz when you need a break from serious study. It doesn't replace study, but it should fuel your desire to study! Pay attention to what your strengths and weaknesses in blitz are. They are almost always the same strengths and weaknesses in your slow game.
You should re-evaluate your strengths and weaknesses regularly.
Remember to have fun doing this! Chess is ultimately just a game. If you aren't having fun, you're doing something wrong.
Some good advice and encouragement already given, I also suggest coaches and tournament play, and I also wish you the best. But let me then also be blunt. Beginner to master in 3 years is all but impossible. The best players to ever play the game, with their hard work, state support (coaches, strong tournaments) and yes even talent (hot button word for people around here), took more than 3 years to make master.
At least as difficult (if not more so) is to make GM in another 10 years after that (historically possible, but honestly not at your age). Frankly I think you underestimate the work required to achieve these levels of play. You say you're on workers comp, which means you have a job. Not having 20 hours a day to do chess, and your age work against you in this case. I wish you the best, and you can definitely improve for years to come, but this is an honest assessment about the titles.
Master is a great goal, and many players aspire (or have aspired) to earn a title, so I wouldn't give up on that! But the time constraints are too tight. I'd set shorter goals of say 200 points worth of progress and work toward that. You can still keep master as your overall goal, but set intermediate goals too.
If you can improve 100-200 points in 6 months then that's great progress you can be proud of. This is a realistic goal IMO.
@SmyslovFan's suggestion about analysing own games and finding weaknesses is the most vital one. The only way to make real and fast progress is correct our mistakes. All of us making mistakes. FM's making mistakes more than IM's and GM's. IM's making mistakes more than GM's. And GM's making mistakes more than world-class champions.
So we should focus that how can we correct our mistakes. What are our options? The most possible option is analysing own games with a master level player who is also not making your same mistakes!! This is so important. If you analyse your game with a master who also making mistakes as yours, it is a waste of time.
So,,, I congratulate on your brave heart knightwriter2000. If you really love the game, I'm sure no matter how is your age, you will get what you want. No exception! You just need to correct your mistakes. Focus on it. Nothing else!
Seeking "permission", as it were, here in the forum may indicate a lack of sufficient "fire in the belly" to achieve the stated goal.
However, if you enjoy the game for the games sake and think you will be satisfied with the journey however far and in which ever direction it may lead, my advice it to begin post haste. The reward will no doubt be in proportion to your dedication and effort.
I'm actually in the same boat as Nic.
I've also enjoyed studying chess whenever I had extra time, but I don't figure such periods did much for my general improvement. However, looking roughly, I have somehow managed to gain +100 ELO a year for about a decade, after which not much changed.
I really did not have to spend much time to pick up effective knowledge, I think. However there is applying the knowledge and being a strong practical tactical player also. I can do better there, without worrying too much about book knowledge.
I have told so many people about pressure on the halfopen file and ''opening the game for yourself/closing for your king'' and I don't think they all got it. The idea is obvious when you see it in a game of your own of course.
What I would sugguest is this:
1) Do tactics every day
2) Play people. Strong people. Mind your thought process. Only looking for possibilities really matters.
3) Study in an applied manner. Take a look at rook endings and play them out. Or rather, play them out first! Same with your openings. I don't know what other material you might have.
And even if you did this consistently, I don't know if it's good for gaining a lot in playing strength. If you still have it in you, then 100-200 points in 6 months perhaps.
If you immerse yourself in training for pure love of the game, you may get a great deal out of the effort, including improvement.
If you would only undertake the study if you believe in an advance you can make some artificial level in an arbitrary time, you are probably wasting your time.
Usually people who ask themselves whether they are willing to invest 6 months into studying chess don't have a real passion for the game. If you love chess, there is no question. Just do it. Also, statistically speaking, the chances of progressing from amateur to GM after age 37 are very low. However, if you manage to achieve this feat, you will become a famous person in the chess industry
There may still be hope!
Also, statistically speaking, the chances of progressing from amateur to GM after age 37 are very low.
Does this imply that someone somewhere has actually achieved it? I mean really from an amateur level similar to knightwriter´s? Or is "very low" a euphemism for "nil"?
Sorry,U be better served w/ just enjoyng playing chess.Six months of chess work will get u from 15/ to maybe 1750 ,and thats hard gut level work.2000, another 2/3 years( 40ish), maybe! And are u really that moved that rated 2ooo has some value ? Most of chess lore ,Fischer,Morpthy, are about great chess players w/ shallow lives. Playing at different levels bring their own problems. Find balance, job, travel, family, a belief system and things u enjoy doing. Wish u good luck in whatever u do ..