4 thoughts on “Quick Update

  1. Hi Will,

    I think the British Championship shows how difficult — and dare I say again, unrealistic — your goal to become a GM is. In the tournament, only 4 people performed above 2600, which is required for a GM norm (the fourth one, John Emms, only barely). Such a performance implies beating anyone below 2450, mostly beating but drawing a few players in the 2450-2600 range, and an even score against the 2600+ players.

    From a broader perspective a performance of 2600 puts you at number 7 of all active players in England and among the top 200 players in the world, most of which are (semi-)professionals and prodigies. In many smaller countries it places you in the top 3 if not the best in the country. It also implies that you are playing better than every single woman in the world except, one (Hou Yifan). Reaching such an extreme level of relative performance, while only studying the game on the occasional weeknight or weekend and pursuing many other interests, appears to me as impossible even with Bobby-Fischer-level talent. In my opinion, if you make it as a hobbyist to FM within the next 10 years it would already be a phenomenal achievement.

    All the best,

    1. I both agree and disagree with this statement.
      I believe that nearly anyone can improve their strength/rating as long as they consistently devote time to chess studying (even if it’s just an hour 2-3 times a week) AND (and this is important) play long games over the board against stronger opponents, reviewing their games in detail afterward.
      Ultimately, I do think there is a point at which finding stronger opponents on a consistent basis becomes nearly impossible, at which time I think it becomes near impossible to progress without a coach. I have no idea what that level would be — 2200? 2400? I do believe that any player, with the right tools and commitment, can become an expert without shelling out money for coaching or being naturally born with a gift for chess.
      Will, what you have done so far is great! Unfortunately this is the stretch where the rating points are harder to come by, so don’t give up. Just keep putting in the hard work and seeking out stronger competition. Yes, your rating may drop a little, but overall your playing strength will increase, which means the points will come.

  2. I agree that almost anyone can become an “expert”. Arguably, Will is already an expert. There’s a huge difference between “expert” and Grandmaster though. I think because one can’t really “see” how good a Grandmaster is, it’s easy to underestimate the level of skill and knowledge required. In other fields, it’s more ovbious. For example, few people would contend that it’s possible to become an NBA basketball player, while effectively starting part-time training in one’s early twenties. Or an internationally renowned concert pianist. There are thousands of global contenders with high ability working full-time (with overtime), often for 15+ years, for every one available slot.

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