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I just started playing this year at the age of 30, is it too late to get good?

  • #141
  • #142

    Dont worry you will be alright as long as you want to be around 1800-2000 range, I used to play chess when I was younger but gave up altogether after college and restarted at the age of 30, while I am doing a-ok I think I would have progressed faster when I was in teens as compared to now.

  • #143

    Thanks for the advice Chess_gg. I'm not just frustrated by chess, it also makes me sad when I win, and I look at my games and see all the mistakes and blunders even in the wins.

    Sometimes when I'm solving tactics puzzles, an overwhelming feeling of creepiness will come over me. I feel like I'm beginning to learn a strange visual langauge invented by psychotic mimes, the symbols of which don't have any meaning in external reality, but only within the alternate reality of the chess board. The pieces themselves seem to have a malicious life of their own, all they want to do is *take*, in their silent, scary way. They're like evil puppets, and remind me of the movie Puppetmaster.

    I don't like to attack people, and when I really think about it, I don't like to checkmate people, because i know how bad they must feel.

    I remember in a recent thread here I asked what's the most upset you've seen someone get at a tournament, and someone told the story of a small child. Playing chess had put so much frustration, fear, and stress on this young boy that he actually peed in his pants during a tournament game, and then continued playing with pee-soaked pants. That's how upset it makes people. When I really think about it, do I enjoy chess? I don't know if I do. Here's a question to ponder, what if Satan really exists, and what if he invented chess? What if this is actually an evil game?

  • #144

    I'm 35, and it took me the past 3 months to get to 1400 level tactics, and an estimated 1300 live rating.  I'm actually more active on FICS, and so I'm 1500 over there.  In reality, I've been playing online "on and off" for about a year.  If this progress holds constant, in about 10 years I'll have a pretty good game.  Unfortunately, I expect that as I get older, it'll be more difficult to learn new things, and so it'll probably mean 15 years to meet the model's 10 year expectations.  That'll make me 50 years old by the time I get to 2000+, making it 15 years before retirement age (assuming the U.S. government doesn't extend it), which is quite acceptable for me.  At my current rate of decay, I will probably look like Old Ben Kenobi by the time I get any good.  This isn't a career or anything, just a fun distraction for when I retire over a chessboard with a single malt in one hand, and a cigar in the other, assuming the American Healthcare system allows me to see this day lol.

    In my experience, you won't see progress immediately, unless you're a prodigy, and so let's get our expectations in order.  You'll have long droughts, and new benchmarks that occur in streaks.  I suppose the old saying applies; things get worse before they get better.  It took Tiger Woods a number of years of mediocrity to adjust to his new golf swing, and now he's "player of the year", for what it's worth.  I suspect based on the numbers that another masters win is just a matter of time, assuming there aren't any more of Tiger's "transgressions", which I've yet to rule out. 

  • #145


    This is why it's necessary to add a buffer to your expectations, and have a reasonable margin of error for your projections. 

  • #146
    DBwater wrote:

    It took 8 years for Magnus Carlsen to become grandmaster and 11 years for Bobby Fischer. It means you still have a time... Depending on your movitation.

    And if you added their ages when they qualified for the Grandmaster title together, it would still be under 30!


  • #147
    chess_gg wrote:

    Hey, adorable...don't think for one second that I believe you are not "full of horse feathers".

    Afterall, I did think that you were Haywood back when you were pretending to be a kid. You did that with such...such...aplomb!

    I never pretended to be a kid or given any age other than my real one (30) on this site. This is another assumption of yours just like you assumed I was Haywood. Also, what's with your discouraging comment that "most chess players won't improve much". That is not a truism, and it's like you're trying to convince people not to try and get better. An IM told me that we are ALL capable of massive increases in chess skill, no matter what our current ELO levels or ages. And yes, I know what you said is not about people being capable but about actually achieving it, however, I still don't see the point of making such a negative statement, especially considering that you are probably one of those people who had the privelege of learning chess at a young age. You don't know what's it like to learn chess as an adult and have to deal with everyone saying "you can't do this, you're too old to be good at this." Instead you probably had the opposite, you probably had your parents there every step of the way encouraging you saying "you're getting better, you can be a GM just put your mind to it". So someone like yourself who had all that encouragment is now discouraging other people? People can become strong chess players learning as adults, there's more than enough proof in this thread to confirm that. And most chess players WILL get a lot better no matter who they are, as long as they keep playing.

  • #148

    started playing tournament chess somewhat regularly at 21 and gained 900 ELO since then achieved NM at 25.  of course you can improve a lot in adulthood.  i think there is a lot to be gained by playing through the games of great attacking players and of course reviewing your own completed games on your own, checking it against a masters db and then against an engine.  if you can use the initiative well, your opponents usually will eventually crack under pressure and you can progress quickly.  i feel when you play aggressive chess you can create more chances for yourself than you would otherwise.  fight for those squares! :-) [imagine your pieces exerting a force field of control and strive to increase it or at least preserve it - transform it to your advantage!]

  • #149


    Thank you for yet another comment that shows people can improve significantly as adults.


    Someone's mom being in the same house as them doesn't mean they're a kid, now does it?

    I like you, so I want you to keep your trophy, and I may even give you another one sometime. I just think the comment about "most chess players won't improve" is annoying, discourgaing, and most of all, wrong.

    And if I do keep playing I can improve more than just "a couple hundred points", I already went from 800 to 1474 in this year alone. And this is a real 1474 rating since my average opponent ELO is also in the 1400s. Furthermore it's a live standard rating. Where is your live standard rating?

    Consider this, I have not read one chess book yet, nor have I studied any GM games. I think when I actually read my first chess book on positional strategy (such as My System or Reassess your Chess) I'll probably improve "a couple hundred points" just from that alone.

  • #150

    It's been a while since I last posted to this thread. I've gotten pretty high (for me) in blitz. As high as 1750 at one point, not bad considering I was basically a 900 player when I started.

    I don't ever expect to become even a low-level master. I mean, I'm not a natural talent and didn't play as a kid, so I have to work pretty hard to keep moving up. Still, chess is a fun lifetime hobby and that's how I'm viewing it, but I am always trying to get better. 

  • #151

    Stop bloating. Web chess means nothing.

  • #152

    If we made 1-3-5 minute chess the championship time control, chess would be by far the most popular sport in the world.


  • #153

    more BS huh. Your username is probably best describe you quite well.

  • #154

    If you are a prodigy,or real talent,you could be good or even great in a very short time. Chess, like musical,athletic,or artistic ability requires ability that you are born with. There are 12 year old kids that can play lights out.  Don't think a superior IQ is all you need, it takes more, heavy on memory,imagination,and vision.

  • #155

    I know it's kinda a derail... but, if you want to have a 1-3-5 bullet/blitz tournament, you should probably use an electronic interface that can keep accurate time in 100ths of seconds.

    IMO trying to play fast time controls OTB just leads to a mess. Future chess for rapid games should be completely electronic.

  • #156

    The reason behind the idea that chess players must start young is mostly physiological. The idea is that with age neurons don't learn as well and physical stamina is less. There is some truth to this. Neurons don't adapt as quickly as when younger. That coupled with differing stamina can make a player less able to absorb. I believe differently. I think that as people get older this behavior is largely learned to adapt to daily frustrations. Personally I am physically stronger now than 20 years ago and smarter too in experience, learning speed, and focus. Rather than focusing on things you have no control over, you always have control over your effort level.

  • #157

    I played in my first tournament after the age of 40. Prior to that, I'd probably played a dozen games or so, most of them before the age of 15. In 2.5 years, I was rated a little under 2100. In the last year, it hasn't changed much.

    The tactical aspects have been relatively easy. The more subtle parts of the game have been considerably more challenging. I only spend 2 hours/week on chess, but I'm not sure it would help if I spent 50. :)

  • #158

    Actually it will help.  Try mastering one imbalance at a time starting with pawn imbalances.  This could be doubled pawns, isolated pawn pair, isolated pawns, candidate passed pawns, pawn chains, pawn islands, backward pawns, hanging pawns, etc.  Then work on weak squares and color complexes.  It takes three weeks of focused study to master a topic.  

    However, I'd first spend it working on a single endgame type.  Nunn's Understanding Chess Endgames and Muller's Secrets of Pawn Endings (Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual borrows many positions from here as well as adds some of its own) should give you plenty of time to naturally get the three weeks in.  It may even take longer to ensure you're closer to mastery.  Then minor piece endgames, rook endgames, and queen endgames.  

  • #159

    oogie boogie i like what you say about endgames and i need to learn more, is there an equivalence to nunn's and mullers available through chess.com tactics trainer or computer workout that you advise? i will look at the titles but i am new to chess.com and am processing (and truly enjoying) the many things available. thank you...

  • #160

    Convekta's Total Chess Ending, but it's all problems without explaining the how and why of books.  


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