Random Posts

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Who Actually Studies a Chess Book?

     On Amazon reviewer Paul Cornelison has an article titled Chess Master reading list. Books I read from class A to Master. ArticleMost chess players have a ton of books, all bought with good intentions of actually studying them, but something happens between their purchase and shortly after opening them up. 
     We break out the set and start reading the book, but for some reason we soon get tired or bored and our enthusiasm wanes. Learning a new skill, or sharpening an old one, is exciting at first. You begin with boundless enthusiasm, full of good intentions and you self-study program is stimulating and enjoyable and you're determined to make progress. And then, suddenly, it all starts to seem like an impossible task!
     The endless new new stuff you need to learn is dwarfed by what still lies ahead and you seem to be forgetting what you’ve already studied faster than you can remember the new stuff. And every time you take a step forward, you fall back two and then you hit the wall...progress stops. 
     As a result, studying becomes a chore not a pleasure and it's hard to motivate yourself to study. The result is most give up thinking perhaps they weren’t meant to play chess very well. The thing is, whether it's chess or anything else, all this is absolutely normal.
     GM Nigel Davies' site, The Chess Improver, offers some good advice on how to read a chess book and the first thing he does is recommend buying a notebook to write down your thoughts. I've heard of that. Back in the old days (before computers) I've heard GM's mention the word “notebook” so there must be something to it. 
     Even Karpov once admitted that he found it boring to study openings and the truth is, studying chess can be boring, not to mention frustrating because progress comes so slowly, if at all. Add to that the fact that people have busy lives, full of commitments that they can’t afford to ignore and that doesn't help. Anyway, it's hard to sustain the determination we had when we bought the book, so what to do? One way might be to take the approach given in an article I read on learning a new language HERE.
     And remember: a beginner mindset is great when you’re just starting out and know little or nothing, but it’s not easy to maintain as your study progresses because to continue making progress requires sustained effort over the long haul. So, a slower, more regular pace is the best course of action. Being a distance runner, not a sprinter, is the most productive. 
     But, what if you still get stuck? You’re putting in the work, but not seeing any progress. What you did to get this far might now be the wrong thing to allow you to progress to the next stage. Or, maybe you are studying stuff which adds little value. You can try to vary your study activities. Also, this is another place where the notebook can help. Look back and see what worked and what didn't. Try something different.  
     The option most of us end up taking though is we become satisfied with where we are and just start enjoying the game at whatever level we find ourselves; it's much less frustrating.

No comments:

Post a Comment