I’ve played chess since college. I took some time off after law school, and then got back into the game about a year ago.
My rating, yes there are ratings in chess, is about 1925. To become a chess master, you need a rating of 2200. The best players in the world have ratings about 2800. Speaking of which, the battle for the World Chess Champion starts tomorrow in London. It pits current champion Magnus Carlsen against U.S. Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana. It should be good fun.
Question: Can a 52 year old chess player with a rating of 1925 improve to 2200 by age 60?
Most would say it’s extremely unlikely. Chess is a young person’s game. At tournaments, half or more of the players are under the age of 20. I encounter 12 year holds who are incredibly talented chess players. I also see younger players who over the course of a few years improve from Class D players to 2100.
As we age, our ability to adapt to and learn new things erodes. Or so we are told.
In the book the authors speak of what the call “deliberate practice”:
More than two decades ago, after studying expert performers from a wide range of field, my colleagues and I came to realize that no matter what the field, the most effective approaches to improving performance all follow a single set of general principles. We named this universal approach “deliberate practice.”
Deliberate Practice (DP), the authors found, involve the following:
- Teacher or Coach: DP requires a well established field in which the student has access to a qualified teacher or coach
- Comfort Zone: DP requires the student to constantly try new things. You must get out of your comfort zone.
- Goals: DP requires well-defined, specific goals.
- All In: DP requires your full attention.
- Feedback Loop: DP requires feedback. We must know when we are doing something right or wrong, so that we can reinforce or correct our performance.
How can Deliberate Practice help you achieve your goals?