The Effect of Age on Chess Improvement

Two months ago I wrote a post titled Descriptive Data which described the chess goals survey statistics. One of the points mentioned in that post was that younger players tend to improve more quickly. It seems discouraging for adults who are looking to quickly make gains. I created a boxplot of the annual rating gains in each age category among survey takers. Here's my two sentence summary on what a boxplot is: The middle horizontal line in each box is the median of the groupThe top and bottom of…


How to Get a Grandmaster Norm: 3 Keys You Need to Know

To become a chess grandmaster you need three norms and a FIDE rating over 2500, but how exactly do you get a norm? In short, a norm is a great tournament performance played against very strong opposition. Let's break down each piece of the norm puzzle. Performance Rating To get score a GM norm in a chess tournament you must first have a performance rating for the tournament of 2600 (technically 2599.5, rounded up to 2600). If you play a tournament and face all opponents rated 2600, you would need…

2 Comments and Rating Comparisons

It's updated and more accurate than ever! We have pulled down a list of players with both and ratings, subset them to only ratings with RD values < 150, and created formulas to convert the ratings. An RD value < 150 means the player is fairly active in that rating category. Each column compares between 55 and 130 players! Thanks Jesse for writing the code to pull down the ratings. CHESS.COMBLITZLICHESSBLITZ(+/- 135)LICHESSBULLET(+/- 165)LICHESSRAPID(+/- 135)LICHESSCLASSICAL(+/- 130)80011501260900122513651000130012251365146011001380130514551550115014151340150015901200145513801540163012501495142015801670130015301460162017101350157014951660174514001610153517001780145016451575173518101500168516151770184515501725165018051870160017601690184019001650180017301870192517001840177019051950175018751805193519751800191518451960199518501955188519902015190019901925201520351950203019602040205020002070200020652065210021452080211020902200222021552150211023002300223521902400237523102220

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Learner Series #9

I met Madhur in June of 2019 at the Rochester Open. He entered the event with an established USCF rating of 1034, scored 3/5 in the Under 1600 section, and increased his rating to 1200! Madhur has a passion for chess that's very obvious when you talk to him and I was very impressed by his play. Fast-forward less than 12 months and Madhur has increased his rating to 1601! This is definitely an interview to take some notes on! GENERAL OVERVIEW How old are you and how long have…

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Photo by Carlos Esteves on Unsplash

Learner Series #8

GENERAL OVERVIEW How old are you and how long have you been playing chess?I am 24, and I have been playing chess in my town club since September 2008 (so nearly 12 years).How many hours per week do you spend on chess?It depends on the period of the year but I would say a minimum of 5 hours and a max of 15 hours per week.Chess website usernames?_42_ ( and Harne ('s your current skill level or rating?I am around 1850 (FSE), 1950 ( and lichess PLAYING OVERVIEWOTBI play the two national…

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Learner Series #7

SmithyQ is an adult who improved from 1899 to 2054 in a one year period. He also has a chess improvement blog over at GENERAL OVERVIEWHow old are you and how long have you been playing chess?I learned chess at 6, got serious when I was a teenager but then quit for a decade when I couldn't seem to improve.  Got back into it in my late 20s.How many hours per week do you spend on chess?When I was training more seriously: Anywhere from 30min to 2hrs a day,…

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Learner Series #6

Welcome to edition 6 of our learner series! Peter is a 39 year old who has gained over 100 points in a year to cross the USCF expert threshold! General Overview How old are you and how long have you been playing chess?39 years old. I learned to play when I was about 6 but after getting kicked out of the after school program I was in I didn't play again until high school. How many hours per week do you spend on chess?Right now, zero. A full time job and…

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Learner Series #5

The 5th installment of the learner series features Antoine, a 32 year old who improved from 1797 to 1893 rapid in 2018. Antoine is a translator for and has his own twitch page The next few learner series posts will focus on players above 1700 and over the age of 20. General Overview How old are you and how long have you been playing chess? I'm 32 and started playing chess at 27. How many hours per week do you spend on chess? A lot. More than…

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Descriptive Data contains cleaned data from November 2018 - present on 384 chess players. This post will summarized the most important variables. The majority of the players were ages 10-50, but we still had quite a few players over age 50. Frequencies of age group The dependent variable for most of our analyses was annual rating gain. The median in our data set was 110 points, with the 25th percentile at 25 points and the 75th percentile 218 points. The median weekly hours spent was 7 hours, with 25/75th percentiles at…