Can you become a grandmaster? What does it take? Is it too late?
Ever since I learned to play chess, it was my dream to become a Grandmaster. It has been a long and challenging road to improve at chess and understand the game better and this article focuses on what it takes to become a Grandmaster.
- What exactly is a Chess Grandmaster title and how does one get it?
- Can you become a Grandmaster?
- Is it too late?
- How to become a chess grandmaster?
Once received, the Grandmaster label is held for life. The same goes for the less known titles of International Master (IM), Fide Master (FM), and Candidate Master (CM). While both Women and Men can become Grandmasters, there are also high-class titles chosen only for Women. Those are Women Grandmaster (WGM), Women International Master (WIM), Women Fide Master (WFM), and Woman Candidate Master (WCM).
Can you become a Grandmaster?
Becoming a grandmaster or even just a titled player, is about applying consistent dedication towards chess for a long time. We all can learn from current world champion Magnus Carlsen when he says.
How did legends like Alexander Alekhine, Bobby Fischer, Emanuel Lasker, Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov, and many great names become world champions? How did they become grandmasters? Is it because they had a great gift for chess?
The answer is no, talent can only take you so far. They worked hard. They devoted their whole life and soul to chess. While you ascend the rating ladder and become better at chess you realize that there is always something new to learn and ways to improve. This can range from things like managing your time available to all of the different chess themes and principles that are needed to understand complex situations and how to best approach them.
Is it too late to improve?
It’s never too late to learn and make good progress at chess. But how far can you take that progress? It depends on many factors such as how often you are willing to study and play. But it also depends on having a good coach that tutor you and points you in the right direction. For example, a lot of young and inexperienced players can focus on learning the wrong things which don’t end up helping them right away. An example of this would be focusing on opening theory rather than developing the ability to see and sense tactics. Tactics will always be the major deciding factor in games between less experienced players. The crucial characteristics that allow you to improve significantly at chess are:
- Talent & Discipline
- Dedication and hard work
- Passion for chess
- Professional Chess Education from a Coach
How to Become a Chess Grandmaster?
Becoming a Grandmaster is not an easy task and takes a whole lot of dedication and discipline. The most important factor above all others is to be passionate about chess. If you are not passionate about chess you probably won’t be able to invest the effort needed in order to achieve your goal.
You can improve by playing by yourself or watching a lot of videos about openings on youtube. This will increase your knowledge a bit. But in order to get really better It is you need chess tutoring or chess coaching. A good chess instructor will teach you how to improve your game but also help you develop maturity as a chess player.
How can I learn to play chess? Where do I begin?
If you are a complete beginner the obvious path is for you to learn the basics of chess
- Learn how to set up the board
- Learn how pieces move
- Learn the basic value of each piece
- Learn how to checkmate
This will give you a pretty good sense of how much you love the game and how passionate you are about it. Becoming good at chess is basically just hard work and having a good chess coach is crucial. Having said this, working hard and having a good coach will not help much if you are not passionate about chess. Besides this the skills we possess multiply upon each other. Achess player that works very hard will beat the talented player that does not work hard. However, working hard and being talented takes your chess to a completely different level.
The main purpose of a chess coach is to help you decide where to invest your available resources in order to keep on improving and achieving results.
One crucial and obvious element for learning chess is to play chess. Starting to play at a chess club may seem intimidating for the beginner but the truth is, you learn more by losing than by winning. What is important is analyzing your games, understanding why you lost and how to improve. It is an essential part of the learning process and one of the areas in which having a coach will make the biggest impact.
Expanding your skills
Inexperienced players often like to over simplify chess and study openings. They also tend to characterize themselves as a certain type of player. Some may consider themselves to be aggressive players or more positional. The truth is that the way you look at chess does not change chess. Making the best move available on the board at that moment is harder than people think. Forcing yourself to look for an aggressive move when there is none is a very common mistake. As emotions play a big role in a chess game, having the discipline to do the best move available on the board is easier said than done. You need to have an honest and genuine understanding of the position and where you want to take the game in order to decide the best move.
As mentioned before it takes more than knowing a certain opening to become good at chess. Learning deeper concepts such as strategies, tactical patterns and endgames will help you squeeze the advantage you can get through an opening. As Lasker famously said, the hardest game to win is a won game. It is not as obvious to a young chess player how to use a small opening advantage to win a game. Sometimes the win doesn’t require a spectacular sacrifice to achieve checkmate but a “boring” simplification to enter a won endgame.
In order to reach your fullest potential in chess, you must eventually learn these 3 phases of the game very well.
- The Opening
- The Middle-game
- The End-game
If you really want to become a grandmaster, you must study and master the stages of the game. I hope it becomes clear why having a good chess coach is critical. It is easy to be our own worst enemies and set a training path that takes us in the wrong direction.
With all of this said, there is nothing wrong with playing chess for fun, or hustling 5 minute games in the park. It is all about having the vision to achieve what you really want and what it takes to achieve your goals, depending on what they are.
Online Chess Coaching at GrandmasterMac
If you have aspirations to become a titled player or improve your game overall, Grandmastermac offers you the opportunity to learn chess from a Grandmaster and a chess coach. You should definitely take advantage of it as we offer group classes and private classes with different price ranges. So to answer the question again. Is it too early or too late to improve my chess dramatically? No!