Can intelligent person suck at chess, forever?


I just started chess 5 mos ago at 39 yrs old. Outside of chess, supposedly i am "above average Intelligence", but no wizard. I am, however, a monomaniac who latches on to something new and spends every moment (even in dreams) of ...most common criticism of those closest to me is that I Think Too Much. Left and Right Brain both work.

I thought these seemed like good indicators that chess might be good fit.

.... In five months ive played or studied 50+ hours a week: neither me nor my rating suggest I'm not mentally slow and/or simply Can't Get Chess! Is this possible? Common? Surmountable...or my cue to quit the fun fascination enjoyment in chess? I know it's not all about ratings, etc., and I am recogizing some mild improvement/familiarity w fundamental tactics and some openings and some endgames....but....

I OFTEN FEEL THAT I JUST DON'T (maybe never can)

"GET IT!?!"

Opponent Rook moves two squares on back rank for reasons I CANNOT IMAGINE?!?

Have others experienced anything like this? Did they quit? Any responses, honest, discouraging, sticking w it, "history shows" I'm not locked in to 800 range????

Side: majority of live games are bullet and blitz of which I've read mixed opinions on value for game improvement.

I Really appreciate ANY responses to this topic

Thank you.


I'm not the best Chess player, or the worst, and in my experience I find I win some and lose some- I've learned just not to let it get me angry, and I learned to play from a computer. I know that I'll never be a Grandmaster, but I like to play and have fun playing!!




I believe that the theory of multiple intelligences is valid.  For example, a person might be great at math but poor at verbal skill or vice versa.  There are quite a few other intelligences, such as navigational ability, for example.  You might well be high in some intelligences but not so good in some most relevant to chess.  Alternatively, despite your persistence, if deep down you don't really like chess, you might have a subtle lack of motivation that keeps you from concentrating fully.  A third possibility is that you just need more time, as the learning curve can vary from individual to individual.  Good luck if you choose to stay with chess, but realize that you don't have to.  There are plenty of other fine pursuits.


Well....obviously chess intelligence comes in the form of logic. Computers only work in logical way, even if we disagree or not, and computers are natural talent for chess ;)

Humans are way way way WAY more complex then any computer will ever be. You can not compare the "total package" of intelligence on a chessboard. Believe me, I have talked and listen to a TON of stupid stupid IM's and GM's. They just have the gift for chess play. Some have talent for running, others for jumping etc. For me, chess is and always will be a passion hobby for me, but I will never become close to a title.

One way to improve is to learn basic thinking of a position, and a damn good memory which can be learned. So I believe anyone can reach over 2k rating if they just practice memory and positional observation and thoughts behind them, but that is lot of work. Also you have to work the "right" way. Like in weight lifting, it doesnt matter if you go to the gym 500 hours a week if you are not doing it right, and also you will never be a world champ if you dont have the genes for it. But correct hard work always gives good results aswell.

Hope this made any sense :)


Studying tactics is generally considered the most productive use of your time.  As a diamond member you have full access to all the training facilities.  278 attempts at the tactics trainer in 6 months is simply not enough.  Hit the beginning tactics courses on chess mentor until you can 100% all those courses, then move over to the TT and do a minimum of 25 a day.  You'll get better.


Honestly man I think everyone can at least get to a 1200 rank on here despite intellegence. I have realized that chess is a recognition of patterns and adapting to suit the development of the game. Just start recognizing patterns in your games. Find an opening that is easily adaptable and strong for how you want to play (I have an opening theory that I just made up and it has worked beautifully for me because it suits my play). Just watch the games develop, force the game you want to play, and watch for patterns. That's my advice although I'm no grandmaster.


Five months is not a very long time.


Wow...50+ hours per week. I'm impressed. But...

You said "...played or studied...". I noticed that you said "played" first. That and the fact you've played 4,305 bullet games and 1,568 blitz games...yet you've only spent 1.9 hours of tactical trainer!!! have your priorities bassackwards, if you want to improve. I'm just a B player, but it is very obvious what is going on. Of course, it is also possible that you are a hopeless case...but I doubt it.

I would suggest STOP the bullet and blitz...until you learn how to play better. They don't give you enough time to think, unless you are already a fairly good player.

Spend far more time doing tactics training. Turn off the rating on it...take your time...slowly, you'll get better and better and faster and faster. The old saying: "You need to learn how to crawl before you can learn how to walk before you can run."

Use the other training resources here. Read a few chess books. Possibly, get a coach.

Maybe you have spatial problems... Maybe you have "intelligence" (as in logical) but lack cunning... Maybe find another pastime. I don't know.

I may be wrong on this, but I can't see why anyone with an average intelligence can't break 1200 under the proper training regimen. And, just my theory...but I'd guess you can eventually do a lot better than that.

Also, 5 months at chess is not that much, as someone above stated. Many of us have spent years, decades, a lifetime. That's the neat thing about chess...always new things to learn, always room for improvement.


Oh no, not at all, however an unintelligent person can easily be under the mistaken impression that they are intelligent.


Play more slow chess, and your ability to calculate will improve in ways that it never would with blitz. Some blitz is good, as a way of getting experience with a wide range of positions and openings, but it's more beneficial to spend the majority of your playing time on slow chess (say 60 minutes each with a 5-second increment, or slower).


I agree with others who have said studying and spending lots of hours is not necessarily the way to go as a new player.  As someone said, it's not like a math course with exams.

I know how internet everything is, but with chess, at the beginning, it may be best to sit with chess person, a "live, in-person guide" so to speak.  I recently taught a friend of mine and a lot of his best learning was asking questions about what was happening in our games.  Learning by doing.

We could set up scenarios on the board and see them through.

Now, he's on and doing well, but we spent a lot of in person time before he went online.

Also, if you're only on, which doesn't let you make the wrong move, doesn't let you move if you're in check, sets up the board for us, etc.   Makes it all very easy.  In person, you have to know these things or you'll be embarrassed.

So, if you haven't yet, try some in person, tutor or coach type of thing.

Good luck.   It does get better!

Thank all of you for advice and opinions. Each post has been very helpful, even ChazR's. I play tactic train with various apps, but will try's. I may need to get a pc instead of iPhone to enjoy non-local apps and (e.g., and true chess programs. Also would be nice to see bigger! Worked through the Bobby Fischer intro book and found it a little helpful. No one nor no computer, though, seems willing to stand by as I pile an attacking Q on top of my doubled R's before firing at back-rank. Capablanca's C Fundementals is other book working on. Very well-written, straight-forward, and useful for endgame basics. As he begins Exploring entire top-notch games he assumes a lot of me. Any other/better/addl. books for 800 beginner? I agree that a coach might be very useful at this stage, and I have emailed local chess club teacher. ---- Does a teacher need to be very strong player to offer best for someone at sub 1000 rating? --- Or is strong teaching experiece more important? Or at my level is any willing 1500+ human all that I need? I absolutely agree w post re importance of really liking chess: I absolutely love it. For 100 reasons. That is what's frustrating/concerning really. I have found the coolest thing in my life and still have 40-50 years to enjoy. I don't intend to stir up the tournament world (actually I want exactly that), but if im stuck belw a grand rating for years to come...then...I don't know... I know 5 mos isn't very long, but 800 rating isn't very clever. One of only ppl Ive spoken too abt chess is a 2200-2400? level whose immediate response to my question was "the main problem is probabab.y that youre playing way too much." --- is too much chess possible? How much a day before it might become detrimental to improvement? Do some ppl just watch some games, try it out for few weeks, and then stomp over 1000 rated players? Thanks again for thoughtful posts.

Yes, a coach, another human would be best.  I felt you had not done that.

btw, I must correct something I said..  when I said won't let you move when you're in check...   actually the right way to say that would have been won't let you make any move that does not "relieve" the check.

Yes, you can play too much, at the beginning.  Better to learn a little, let it sink in, learn a bit more, and so on.  Like building blocks.

Slow down, find a chessperson, and you'll be fine!  Be patient with yourself.  But learn from another person.

Best 2 u,


Ive spoken too abt chess is a 2200-2400? level whose immediate response to my question was "the main problem is probabab.y that youre playing way too much." --- is too much chess possible? How much a day before it might become detrimental to improvement?

I already told you...thousands of games of bullet and blitz, when you are a really poor chess player??? That's what this guy is telling you, as well.

I think you really don't want advice. You really just want to waste peoples' time. And play for addiction purposes of getting a quick fix, even if it involves a lot of losing.


Depending upon how you look at it, I am sure an intelligent person can suck at chess indefinitely, whether they put their mind to doing so or not...

e4nf3: I hadn't read your post and several surrounding it when I wrote again. I was trying to type/edit in the little box offered when using phone | I was reading and enjoying the posts I had missed while writing. I especially found useful your 1st post. Was thinking how considerate a response you'd offered by examine my stats before offering advise. Then your next post tries to insult/accuse me? Wow. Anyway, still reading and processing advice offered by the generous posts. I really appreciate it.

Read books. I went from zero to 2000 USCF from books alone.

TheGrobe wrote: Oh no, not at all, however an unintelligent person can easily be under the mistaken impression that they are intelligent. Is they often? The impression is easily mistaken when his subject-verb agreement misses amidst clever sentences.

Intelligence has nothing to do with chess.

It's about experience and knowledge.