Chess Cat

Can an impulsive and forgetful baby boomer learn to think logically by playing chess? Will every game end in a sickening blood bath or will I eventually triumph? We'll just see, won't we.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

How To Master Chess

David Seah - Better Living Through New Media : Building a Niche of One: "Building a Niche of One
26th November 2005 03:16 EST :: Filed under Inspiration, Introspection by Dave

I recently read:

Psychologists studying expert and exceptional performance found that it’s not really about talent; it’s about practice. The athletes and chess players we admire have practiced for around 10,000 hours over a span of 10 years. — via DIYPlanner

As I followed the link trails through the article, I was reminded that there are three broad questions I apply over and over again in my day-to-day operation:

* Why do it?
* What to do?
* How to do it?

What’s new about this? I never made the connection between this style of inquiry and how to live, and that this is a way to flip common business wisdom backwards.

What to Do? Just Do!

Starting first with that 10,000 hours of practice: I’d had a similar thought about leveling-up abilities based on a magnitude-of-10 hour scale:

* at 1 hour … you know some basics
* at 10 hours … you have a pretty good grasp of the basics
* at 100 hours … you are fairly expert
* at 1000 hours … you are an experienced expert
* at 10000 hours ... you are a master"

I love this. I can see the truth of this. The author goes on to say he got the idea reading about pilots who track how many of hours of flight time they've logged. More hours equals more experience.

Read the whole piece. It's fascinating.

I spent an hour or so studying basic chess rules and pieces because I'd lost everything I ever knew long ago. Then I came across a site with the record of a game that someone said showed how a David topple a Goliath at chess. I studied every move, tried to imagine what move to make next if it was me.

I was clueless most all the time. But other times what I thought up as a possibility was was happened. How exciting! Other moves took my breath away. I'd forgotten that a piece can shoot across the board and kill you dead.

Why did rediscovering the ruthlessness and cut-throat spirit of chess make me smile? I thought I was more civilized.

I suddenly remembered how my brother went into killer mode when he played chess with me. Oh, how he gloated when he won. Oh, how he threw a tantrum when he lost. I don't want to go there again.

The David/Goliath game ended abruptly, and because of my groping inexperience, for me it didn't quite end at all. Who won? I couldn't figure it out! D'oh!

So...practice, practice, practice.