Started in Chess at 40, and Became a Chess Master

RoaringPawn

You have never played chess, known no rules, a complete blank slate. You then take up chess and play in the National Championship with the best players of the country in several years?

Chess folks, do you think this is really feasible at all?

Your thoughts, please.

.

You may also want to vote:

1) POSSIBLE

2) IMPOSSIBLE, of course

3) WHO KNOWS

4) ARE YOU MOCKING ME?

.

photo Jay Anaughe, London

mariners234

As always, "possible" is a really low bar. It's "possible" that a billionaire relative you didn't know existed dies and you inherit a fortune... but it's not very likely.

It's possible to start chess at 40 and make it to master level... but probably no one can come up with an example in the modern era, and even then, as a one in a million existence it's the exception that proves the rule.

mkkuhner

You said "for the country" but it makes a big difference what country we are talking about.  In nations with a very strong player base like Russia, the US, India, or China, I think it's very unlikely but not quite impossible.  (It would help to be very young.  Talented young players do sometimes skyrocket to the top--Bobby Fischer won his first US Championship at 13.)  On the other hand, for a small country with limited chess history like Uganda, it seems entirely plausible.

WitchA
No, from around the age of 25 onwards, cognitive decline begins to set in. It becomes impossible to form new neural networks and existing ones deteriorate. White matter in the brain turns to black and the myelin that facilitates electric signals to travel across neurons breaks apart. It’s estimated that a 40 year old iq of 100 is equal to a 20 year old iq of 80.

A 40 year old doesn’t have the ability to learn anything new beyond the very basics. If you had a rudimentary understanding of neuroscience, you’d realize how ludicrous your question is. It’s practically equivalent to asking if it’s possible for a chimpanzee to become a chess master.
RoaringPawn
mariners234 wrote:

As always, "possible" is a really low bar. It's "possible" that a billionaire relative you didn't know existed dies and you inherit a fortune... but it's not very likely.

It's possible to start chess at 40 and make it to master level... but probably no one can come up with an example in the modern era, and even then, as a one in a million existence it's the exception that proves the rule.

Thanks Mariner

Know of one case, the exception of the rule, as you say.

If only we knew how to teach correctly in order to develop an effective mindset in the first critical period of learning, it would a bit more exceptions

RoaringPawn
mkkuhner wrote:

You said "for the country" but it makes a big difference what country we are talking about...

Well, it's a big chess country, with one super GM in the top tengrin.png

Trognar

Possible but you will waste a lot of effort and money for rather useless thing.

novacek

Setting up the board right would be a start tongue.png

PawnstormPossie
WitchA wrote:
....
A 40 year old doesn’t have the ability to learn anything new beyond the very basics. If you had a rudimentary understanding of neuroscience, you’d realize how ludicrous your question is. It’s practically equivalent to asking if it’s possible for a chimpanzee to become a chess master.

Says a babbling baboon.

You know nothing about neuroscience or learning abilities.

But, you look good with a silver foot in your mouth.

RoaringPawn
WitchA wrote:
No, from around the age of 25 onwards, cognitive decline begins to set in. It becomes impossible to form new neural networks and existing ones deteriorate. White matter in the brain turns to black and the myelin that facilitates electric signals to travel across neurons breaks apart. It’s estimated that a 40 year old iq of 100 is equal to a 20 year old iq of 80.

A 40 year old doesn’t have the ability to learn anything new beyond the very basics. If you had a rudimentary understanding of neuroscience, you’d realize how ludicrous your question is. It’s practically equivalent to asking if it’s possible for a chimpanzee to become a chess master.

Okay, Teeny Tiny, got it, your answer is #2.

Not many respondents on Twitter yet, you are the first with a resolute no. Like I said in previous comments, I know of one such a case. Thanks again!

mkkuhner

Speaking as a 56 year old chessplayer myself, it's possible to improve--not easy, but possible--and I think it's better to set intermediate goals and not fret about outcomes.  After all, most 10 year olds will not become national competitors either, but that doesn't stop them. 

RoaringPawn
mkkuhner wrote:

Speaking as a 56 year old chessplayer myself, it's possible to improve--not easy, but possible--and I think it's better to set intermediate goals and not fret about outcomes.  After all, most 10 year olds will not become national competitors either, but that doesn't stop them. 

As you say, it's possible to improve--not easy, but possible.

Gladwell's 10,000 hours to reach the expert level is non-sensical if the right teaching methods are in place. But they are not. Dr.Lasker said, give me an average young man and I would take them to the Master level in 200 hours.

Obviously, the guy who did make it and became a Master used the right method. But we don't know much about him. What I could find online about him, he liked simple positions -- like Smyslov! -- and later on even composed studies.

kamalakanta

Possible, if you have the talent, and a good circumstance....

RoaringPawn

It's dead race

with 1) POSSIBLE leading at the moment.

kamalakanta

I am curious....feel you are talking about an actual person, so I want to know: who is it?

RoaringPawn
kamalakanta wrote:

I am curious....feel you are talking about an actual person, so I want to know: who is it?

Let's keep tension a little bit more. After all, that is a legitimate approach when playing chess too!grin.png

RoaringPawn
novacek wrote:

Setting up the board right would be a start

That's exactly what I keep repeating for about ten years now, teachers and the methods currently in place, well, suckshock.png

kamalakanta
RoaringPawn wrote:
novacek wrote:

Setting up the board right would be a start

That's exactly what I keep repeating for about ten years now, teachers and the methods currently in place, well, suck

So does His Holiness the Rating, and all the implications of "winning" and "losing"...it is all a medieval warfare concept......

dfgh123
RoaringPawn wrote:

Dr.Lasker said, give me an average young man and I would take them to the Master level in 200 hours.

 

You had to win one third of your games in a tournament to be a master back then.

 

RoaringPawn
kamalakanta wrote:
RoaringPawn wrote:
novacek wrote:

Setting up the board right would be a start

That's exactly what I keep repeating for about ten years now, teachers and the methods currently in place, well, suck

So does His Holiness the Rating, and all the implications of "winning" and "losing"...it is all a medieval warfare concept......

You remember, don't you, that I wrote that The Rise of the Quants piece some time ago

"that is, the ascent to power of a monstrous system across fields and institutions that is seeing everything through numbers, metrics, algorithms and automated decision-making processes rather than old traditional thinking, human judgment and intuition."