Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Survey On Chess And Updates

Hello all,

I apologise for the lack of updates because my parents-in-law were here for a visit.

Dr Robert Howard of the University of New South Wales (Australia) recently published preliminary findings of an online chess survey. The survey tested 581 titled players with an average peak FIDE rating of 2153.

Among the interesting things to note in the survey:

"The problem is that motivation, amount of practice, initial success, opportunity, and possible natural talent are all interwoven. "

The survey respondents ranked the following in order of importance when coupled with natural talent: High motivation, Ability to concentrate, Extreme competitiveness, Creativity, Mental speed, Spatial ability, High IQ.

And a large majority agreed that playing rated games and studying chess are equally important in the road to chess mastery.

You can see the preliminary results of the survey here: Preliminary Results of FIDE Chess Survey

Onto recent news, I lost to Joshua Christensen last night playing a horrible game at the Ryde Eastwood Club Championships. Full credit to Joshua for taking home the point. I also would like to apologise to Joshua for playing the game at lightning speed and for leaving the playing venue quickly. I wish him the best of luck for the rest of the competition and hope he continues to do well. Currently, I'm on a score of +0-2=0 at the moment but I'm not overtly distressed by the results so far.

I've concluded my Ford Memorial tournament, getting a draw against Justin Vowles (1743) in my final round. It was a Sicilian (I've never been one to shy away from playing the mainline Sicilians btw). Anyway I've accomplished what I set out to do - which was to obtain a score of 4.5/9 for the tournament. This should put me somewhere in the middle of the standings - which is expected of my rating level.

Good ol' Norman Greenwood finished with an excellent result of 6.5/9. An outstanding achievement. Well done, Norman!

Next week, the Ford Memorial will culminate in a Lightning round. I am likely to give that a miss as I've no serious interest in playing lightning games although I'm quite tempted to bring my camera along and take some photos of the event.


  1. Yes, the study's very interesting. A friend showed it to me Saturday. A few key points I took away:

    * The "ceiling" for normal people, assuming dedication, is probably at least 2300/FM.
    * Tournament experience is vital. We should aim for 36 to 96 rated games/year.
    * An hour of study / day is sufficient (and necessary) to excel.
    * It takes 6-10 years to hit our peak.
    * Coaching really helps.

  2. Congrats on getting your goal at the Ford Memorial. Although i am not clapping in my hands loudly (that i only do if people achieve more then their goal) i hope you set your goals a little bit higher the next time.

    Didn't read the study fully concentrated but scanned it quickly. So far i can agree but i would say that 'talent' is the key in getting far in chess. Dont misunderstand me, hard work is also an important factor. But talent + hard work against no talent and hard work it's a big difference.

  3. likesforests: yes it does. the study is very very interesting and i, for one, look forward once the complete findings is available.

    chesstiger: thank you for your insightful comments. Initially, prior to entering this competition, i didn't want to give myself a target that was too high and come down crashing if i didn't achieve it. now on reflection, i definitely agree with you, i should have aimed higher.

    cheers and thank you