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why do I get worse at chess as I get older

  • #1

    Hi folks, I've been playing chess for a long time. Never been too competitive but had 1600 rating at some point. Mainly playing 15 to 20 min games. Then I had a few years break and when I started again, somehow I could never recover. My chess sucks big time. I've been hovering around 1200. I used to be able to come up with combinations but now I feel I'm pretty hopeless. Has age has anything to do with the way your thinking process works ? How can I bounce back? 

  • #2

    From your post I don't see how your decline has anything to do with age.  If you stop doing any skill for years then when you start up again you can't expect to be as good at it as you were before.

  • #3

    I agree. I stopped playing chess for years. When I got back to it, I still had the basic skills. I could still win against most of the patzers whom I played (and, I'm not bragging...I wouldn't have been able to beat anyone half-way good).

    But...I had to regain board vision, stop all the blundering, re-learn a lot of the things that I had forgotten...as well as plenty of new things.

    And...I keep getting better. I put in the work, 2-4 hours per day. Study, tactics, playing.

    My opinion is that unless someone is suffering from a malady...such as dementia...the processes may slow down a bit, but by oiling the machine, it can be up and running again.

    I'll be 70 next year. This is my opinion now. Ask me again in 10 years, providing that I outlive the actuarial table...I may have a different answer. Or, maybe I won't even understand the question. But, more than likely...I'll probably play better than I do today...with another 10 years of study and practice under my belt. lol

  • #4

    Thanks for the positive comment. I must admit I have lost some skills I had but I didn't think it would be that bad. Also I have noticed players are much better these days. I dare to say that players at 1300 now are not the same players as 1300 decade ago. They seem much stronger.

  • #5

    Cause you are getting senile like me--a little worse each year. And no, you cannot get back what you lost by practice.  Practice only slows down the deterioration.

    [my guess--not trying to downgrade you]

  • #6

    Here's another positive thought...

    When I was young and playing chess, I was a respectably capable player. Not top draw...no brag here...but better than most of the chess players that I would encounter. Of course, there was no internet then. So, there were not all that many.

    And, I did read a lot of chess books. No one taught me a darn thing, either.

    Be that all as it may...I either had to go to school or work, and usually both. So, my time at "paying my dues" was sereverely limited.

    Now, in retirement, I can spend virtually as much time at chess as I wish. And...no...I'm not obsessed about it (although, perhaps that is debateable...lol).

    The point is: young...comparatively very little time; old...lotsa time.

    This does have a bearing on getting better at the game and it offsets a lot of the "young and nimble" stuff.

    What I've said is just my own experience. Others may differ. A lot of really bad, old chess players were also really bad young players. Just saying. lol

  • #7

    One thing that is a positive about getting older [and maybe losing some memory and spatial] is that you will probably retain and increase your chess knowledge.


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