Deliberate practice for chess

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deliberate practice for chess

Science has shown that deliberate practice was the main factor for expert performance. It is not talent, but the actual number of hours you dedicate to your craft.

For more on the science, you can read “the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of  expert performance” or the making of an expert for a lighter read.

What exactly is deliberate practice?

Deliberate practice:

  1. focuses on ONE specific activity.
  2. stretches you beyond your current capabilities.
  3. is NOT just maintaining the level of performance, but actually IMPROVING.
  4. involves LOTS of repetition.
  5. requires immediate FEEDBACK.
  6. is unsustainable for long periods of time.
  7. is emotionally difficult because it focuses on areas that we are not as good at.

This definition comes from Tony Zhang’s answer to What is deliberate practice? on Quora.

How do we use this concept to improve at chess?

  1. When we are studying chess, we should focus only on one area. Studying every part of the game will harm your progress.
  2. The material should be hard but not too hard. Don’t study Dvoretsky’s book if you’re not at least 2000!
  3. If we are not making mistakes, we won’t improve.
  4. The material should help us drill the skill we are trying to learn. Every move we are trying to find should be an exercise.
  5. We should be able to correct our mistakes immediately with instant feedback. We should know if the move we made is good or not after we made it. For example, when you solve diagrams, check the answer after every puzzle.
  6. It is OK to not be able to study for long because the quality of our training is more important than the length of it.
  7. The area we should focus on must be one of our weaknesses.

Examples of deliberate practice for chess

If you have other suggestions for deliberate practice for chess, please leave a comment.

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