Chess is very easy to learn! But can be a very cruel game for people who want to reach the pinnacle!
Anyone can learn chess and its basic principles in 30 minutes or less. But to be a world class player is a whole different story.
The typical areas of chess improvement everyone is familiar with are:
- Planning, etc.
However, there are so much more which few talk about.
- Mental toughness
- Will to win
- Strong nerves
- Ability to cope with failures and losses
- Complete concentration and focus
- Physical fitness and endurance, etc.
Chess is not a game of solitaire. There is usually an opponent sitting across the chessboard who wants to beat you.
In the recently concluded SPICE Cup, I personally witnessed some devastating losses and heartbreaks by a number of players. Some played so well throughout most of the games to achieve winning positions. But one second of mental lapse, distraction, or loss of focus took some of the games to the opposite direction, from near brilliant victories to demoralizing defeats.
Better and stronger players do not always win
If you examine the results at strong Open Swiss tournaments like Isle of Man or Gibraltar, etc. the level between 2400+ and 2700+ players in a random game is very fine as there were countless upsets, some even in the range of 300-400+ rating points. No player would just surrender without a fight. So stronger players normally must earn every win.
What are the real differences and what does it take to get to the top?
200-300 or more-point difference is a lot, generally with knowledge and experience. But in one game, anything can happen. The real difference is consistency. Top players are usually more consistent, both with training and playing.
Natural talent alone is not enough. I have seen many players with incredible talents who went nowhere with their chess careers, while some with a lot less talents made much further. Why? Because they worked a lot harder to make up for their deficiencies.
I have also seen many players with so much knowledge and wisdom in chess only to become good authors and coaches because of their inability to cope with pressure. They cracked under pressure. Some simply lack aptitude in key areas such a mental toughness or will to win.
So if you want to be a very good player, or if you want to help your children to become one, do not neglect the other areas. It is important to understand why we lose, and how to fix our weaknesses to become better players.
This is what we do at SPICE!