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No More Excuses: Improve Your Chess Today!

Love this article. Very motivational! Awesome work, GM NoelStuder!
People believe "work-life balance" or "chess-life balance" means having it all, but as you point out it's all about trade-offs.

Are you willing to sacrifice time on social media or with friends or family to work on chess? If the answer is no, don't expect to improve much. If yes, apply that time consistently.
I've come to believe I'm simply too stupid. I'm simply blind and have neurons misfire in a game where consistency is key. It doesn't matter the time control, I simply overlook 1 move threats. It happens slightly move often as the time control speeds up, but simple 1 move threats are the reason I lose 80% of my games. It's infuriating that even in 15+10 games I'll just hang a rook or miss a clear fork. I've done tactics training, and seen no results. I've tried playing more longer games, and seen no results. I've tried playing tons of bullet to try to train against obvious blunders, and seen no results. I hired coaches, tried their methods and saw no results. I've read books, and taken notes, making sure to review the notes daily until they're drilled into my head, and saw no results.

Would learning positional motifs, more endings, and learning openings cause me to improve my rating? Undoubtedly. I could eek out a few points this way. But it would do nothing to fix the glaring weakness in my play. My gigantic blind spots. I can't visualize the full board at once, and I can't stop just having braindead blunders. I fundamentally believe these two are intrinsically linked. The inability to maintain a perception of all pieces results in an inability to avoid having mental lapses. As of around 6 months ago I just completely gave up. I struggled with this for years, not trying to solve the fact that I would sometimes have these mental lapses, but rather trying to reduce them, if even slightly. Every attempt ended in failure. My reaction time over the past 2 years has increased by around 20 ms, my memory both long term and short term has noticably decreased, as has my capability for rational thought. With them too has died any belief I have that I could someday ever improve. These days I realize that I won't ever even succeed in reaching where I was even a year ago. And a year from now I'll probably be 50-100 pts below that. I could spend all my time double and triple checking every single possibility on the board, but ultimately the time I spend doing that will cause me to be unable to plan as effectively, and in my experience that doesn't even come close to solving my issue as I'm prone to still overlooking the same issue, or overlooking something new.

There was a period of time several years ago where I believed all I needed to do was focus more on studying and I could gain a few hundred points. I would never be a grandmaster, but I could at least improve. So I went from studying for an hour or two a week to an hour a day. And when that failed to several hours a day. I eventually cut off my family, my friends. I would never eat out. I would spend nearly ever waking moment either studying or working. But after months and months of this I saw no results. Not even an average increase of 50 rating points on lichess or chess.com.

I'm just too stupid to succeed, in nearly every way, shape and form. And I'm only getting stupider by the day. I've hit my potential, at least in terms of raw chess ability. And there's nothing I can do to actually ever improve at this. It will only decay like everything else about my brain.
This Noel guy is not as promotional as the chess mood website promoting guy. I'm not sure if he's promotional at all actually. I find his advice to mesh with my prior beliefs about chess improvement as well.

-REGARDING ADULT IMPROVEMENT-

One comment though:

>I’ve written an article about my student who won 100 rating points in one year at age 70. We had 1 Training session a month and he studied 5-10 hours every week. Quite manageable! And it was enough to make a big difference in his results. So nope, you are not too old to improve. Yes, things might go slower, but improvement is still possible.

Just because one old guy has improved his chess doesn't mean everybody else can.

I would guess that adults can still improve albeit less so than kids do - meaning harder work for adults will yield less in improvement.

I mean I think Akiba Rubinstein learned how the pieces move at the age of 14 - his experience doesn't generalize to rest of us mortals.

-RE IMPROVEMENT OVERALL-

Also, note that improvement in chess is positional. If we are all getting better or worse, nobody is "improving" because our rating is determined with regards to other chess players. There is reason to speculate that the median chess player of today is a better player than that of 20 years ago due to availability of chess resources on the net.

But that would hardly be good news to anyone wanting to improve their chess today.
@LanceFairfield said in #7:
> I've come to believe I'm simply too stupid. I'm simply blind and have neurons misfire in a game where consistency is key. It doesn't matter the time control, I simply overlook 1 move threats. It happens slightly move often as the time control speeds up, but simple 1 move threats are the reason I lose 80% of my games. It's infuriating that even in 15+10 games I'll just hang a rook or miss a clear fork.

"Even" in 15 + 10 games?
I know it may seem a long game in the internet age, but that is giving you on average less than 30s a move, so of course your brain is necessarily going to take shortcuts. Serious classical chess starts at 60 mins per game and goes up from there. Be kind to your "decaying" brain- instead give it the time it needs to think "if I make this move, what would my opponent's best reply be" and actually have time to ponder the answer.
I'm just returning from losing another team match (long time control).
The analysis revealed that I made mistakes on the moves 9 and 11, resulting
in a strategically lost position. I have trained some endgames (this game
didn't reach any endgame), my tactic rating here is > 2400 (but completely useless
in this practical game).

Sure, tactics and endgames are important, but I am still thinking that mastering the opening
is a very crucial step for playing decent chess. Just my experience. Whenever I managed a draw
against a strong player (IM or GM), the opening was crucial.

Some time ago (not today) (with Black) against an IM: mistake on move 13... Rf7? Kings Indian. 14.c5!
and soon game over (although I played on up to move 35).

I am preparing before each team match, but it is simply not enough.