Quick Chess Progress is possible!
by Chess Grandmaster Igor Smirnov

"Quick Chess Progress is possible!"

Today I have received an e-mail from one of my pupils. He asked me “Why do children usually have better progress in chess than adults?”

Different people asked me about it many times already. A lot of adult chess players try to understand why they can’t obtain good progress in chess for years, while children achieve such goals quickly.

It is important to understand why, because it will help you to be on the right way and to improve your chess skills quickly.


That’s why this issue deals with the topic: “Children and adults in chess”.

I’ve had pupils from 6 to 65 years old. So I can easily compare them and make conclusions.

Yes, I agree that usually (not always!) children get better progress. There are 3 main causes:

1. Children are in a more comfortable situation. They don’t have to earn money for living, they have less work and responsibility etc. Thus young players can concentrate themselves on chess and get better results.

However, it is not the main cause. An adult can focus on a chess study as well, and he/she can work even harder.


2. Children are more flexible. In one of the previous e-mails I wrote you how it is important to be ready for changes. Nevertheless, I’d like to repeat it again, because it is an extremely important aspect.

Here are the typical mistakes relating to this item:

  • A player doesn’t want to change his opening, which he/she played for some time (months, years) before.
  • A player is not ready to change his playing style.
  • He/she doesn’t make changes in training.
  • And so on…
  • Such players keep their style of playing and training. Therefore they keep their current results as well. Certainly they will have the same results for many years and will have a very little progress.

    Unfortunately it happens with some adult players, while children are usually ready to try something new.


    3. Children trust in what a coach says.

    As you know I developed several chess video courses. I receive a lot of feedback from my pupils, who have studied my courses. For example, a few minutes ago I received this e-mail:


    “Hi, I'm glad to tell you that after studying only the 1.1 of “The Grandmaster’s Secrets” and applying the principles on every move I won first time against the personality John on Chessmaster! Best Regards. Giulio Cremonese”


    Usually the students report about their success. They got the results, which previously seemed impossible for them. Sometimes their results are so good, that it was unexpected even for me! :) For instance one customer wrote me:


    “After studying of the course "The Grandmaster's Secrets" till now I have not lost any game! In the last tournament I scored 9,5 from 12 and got the 1st place.”


    It is important to note that he wrote me this e-mail after 3 and a half months after the purchase of the course!! Also I know that he played in a few tournaments and raised his rating very much.

    Unfortunately there is a small group of the customers, whose progress is not that great. Of course I ask these people “how did they study the course” and “did they perform the exercises from the practical part”.

    The answers of such persons are very similar. They answer me something like this: “I have studied this … and this … lessons. The lesson … seems not so important for me now, so I skipped it. Yes, I did the exercises from the practical part. I did not do it as you said, but … because I thought that it would be better.”

    As you can see such persons only do a little bit of the training. They ignore and modify many important tasks. Of course it is hard to expect good results with this attitude.


    Children trust in what a teacher says. They simply follow the teacher’s recommendations. That’s why they achieve good progress! Adults sometimes prefer to focus on their own ideas.

    You have to understand one thing:

    If you want to become a Grandmaster – you should follow the Grandmaster’s recommendations.

    If you want to be an amateur player – you should follow the amateur’s recommendations.

    Now I have a question for you: “If you are an amateur player and follow your own recommendation - whom will you become?”

    That’s why I want to intensify this idea: you should trust in what a teacher says, even if you don’t understand it (or think that it is not important, not necessary, not urgent etc).

    “Just do it!” And you will achieve your goal!


    Let us draw some conclusion. Children often get better progress than adults. It happens because of 1 objective reason (which is not so important) and 2 psychological reasons (which depend on You!).

    Thus an adult also can get a huge and quick chess progress! (and I can tell you numerous examples!) He/she only needs to have the right approach and some concentration on chess training.

    GM Igor Smirnov

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