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  1. 24 Jan '08 09:28
    Are you aware of anyone who became a master at some old age? Is it possible?
    Any stories, roumors about it ?
    all the masters that I know
    either did it very very early-in their teens and after that their rating somehow decreased,
    either they were somehow already good in their 20s(as they started chess a bit later-in their 20s)-candidate master range- and played a lot and improved little by little in the next 10-20 years and somehow luckily they got the master title (I know much fewer examples of this second type of masters)

    I am not aware of anyone who started chess late(let's say 35+) from the scratch and got the master title...
  2. 24 Jan '08 09:59
    When young 20- you have all time in the world to dive deep in the chess waters.
    When you have a steady job and family with all its duties, then you simply not have that kind of time at your disposal to study chess.

    I am sure that you can almost as easily get to high levels when you are older if you just get the time needed to do so.
    I think it's a myth that you have not the same learning capacities when you are old, i.e. 35+.
  3. 24 Jan '08 10:34
    How about Diwakar Singh?
    http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3289

    Until his mid to late twenties he was about the same strength as me, 2000 to 2100 Elo. Then something in his head seemed to click (almost like a radio monitor being switched on) and within two years he was an International Master and achieving 2700+ performances in some tournaments!
  4. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    24 Jan '08 10:53 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    Then something in his head seemed to click (almost like a radio monitor being switched on)

    http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3595
  5. 24 Jan '08 10:57
    People reach their full potential at chess when they have the time to dedicate themselves to it. For most people this is after they leave school, but it can be much earlier. Fischer for example was probably working on chess for all his waking hours from a very early age.

    Once someone starts working, gets married, has kids and all the rest of it they simply have less time to dedicate to their hobby and consequently most people I know reached their peak (grading wise) in their early twenties.

    Nowadays the very best players in the world become Grandmasters before they are sixteen. This is not necessarily because they are any better than the best players of the past, but because they start dedicating themselves to chess at a much earlier age. Once they reach their full potential, whether it is at 15 or 25, they stop making much progress and may even start to slide as their enthusiasm and resolve diminish.

    I have taught chess to several complete beginners, some aged six and some as old as forty. I have found that adults learn much quicker than children, especially young children. I think this is because adults can concentrate better and know how to learn - by the time they reach forty they have already had to study for exams, new skills for work, etc. Children need to learn how to learn as well as how to play chess.
  6. 24 Jan '08 11:18
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    People reach their full potential at chess when they have the time to dedicate themselves to it. For most people this is after they leave school, but it can be much earlier. Fischer for example was probably working on chess for all his waking hours from a very early age.

    Once someone starts working, gets married, has kids and all the rest of it they simp ...[text shortened]... ams, new skills for work, etc. Children need to learn how to learn as well as how to play chess.
    Adult learners will learn more quickly to start with because they are able to understand more complex instruction, have a wider vocabulary for communicating ideas, will have a greater range of relevant existing skills to draw on and, as you say, will already have some experience with how to learn...plus a little more patience with the learning process.

    But there comes a point - 6 months, a year maybe, when the talented youth is going to accelerate past the seniors as the pathways for chess understanding will forge more readily in their supple brains. Learning a language might be a good comparison.
  7. 24 Jan '08 12:16
    Originally posted by Mahout
    Adult learners will learn more quickly to start with because they are able to understand more complex instruction, have a wider vocabulary for communicating ideas, will have a greater range of relevant existing skills to draw on and, as you say, will already have some experience with how to learn...plus a little more patience with the learning process.

    But ...[text shortened]... will forge more readily in their supple brains. Learning a language might be a good comparison.
    There is extensive evidence that the brain 'learns best' in the early years of life, then actually goes through a rewiring / simplification process during adolescence, before settling down to a plateau for the rest of adulthood.
    What is clear is that deterioration in old age is not a certaintly, dependent on vocation, lifestyle, training etc, and most adults can still continue to learn and excel at new subjects right up until the end.

    So my understanding of the question, based on an education in biology and a little neuroscience, is that yes, someone could become a master in middle / older age, but they would likely have been better if they started younger (as with language and many other creative processes).
    Much about new- learning in old age depends on brain functions developed throughout early life. I think it certainly could be said that someone who had little of no 'brain training' in early life, could certainly not become a master in later life. In other words, there would be certain prerequistites for this rare event to happen. Studies of unfortunate kids who, through circumstance, are starved of early brain development (such as rare cases of imprisoned or socially isolated individuals) struggle permanently through adulthood to make up the ground, even with expert help, and despite a good 'genetic background' (ie successful relatives).
  8. 24 Jan '08 12:23
    Yes, the young brains absorb new information better than the older ones. But the older brains has something that younger ones don't have - the capability to combine new information to existing ones thus speeding learning process up with higher quality.

    Let me give an example - my second language was hard to learn, the third language was easier.
  9. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    24 Jan '08 12:30
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Yes, the young brains absorb new information better than the older ones. But the older brains has something that younger ones don't have - the capability to combine new information to existing ones thus speeding learning process up with higher quality.

    Let me give an example - my second language was hard to learn, the third language was easier.
    What was the second and what was the third?
  10. 24 Jan '08 12:43
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    What was the second and what was the third?
    My second was Enslish, the third was French, the fourth was Spanish, I'm a bit rusty in German.

    But I have most use of English, therefore I am most fluently in this language.
  11. Standard member ivan2908
    SelfProclaimedTitler
    24 Jan '08 13:09
    Originally posted by Mahout
    Adult learners will learn more quickly to start with because they are able to understand more complex instruction, have a wider vocabulary for communicating ideas, will have a greater range of relevant existing skills to draw on and, as you say, will already have some experience with how to learn...plus a little more patience with the learning process.

    But ...[text shortened]... will forge more readily in their supple brains. Learning a language might be a good comparison.
    Also, if young brain is not overloaded with ideas of "hard" or "difficult" they will learn much faster and easier. Autosuggestion of adults which tells them "this is hard" automatically slows them down.
  12. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    24 Jan '08 13:11
    Originally posted by Policestate
    There is extensive evidence that the brain 'learns best' in the early years of life, then actually goes through a rewiring / simplification process during adolescence, before settling down to a plateau for the rest of adulthood.
    What is clear is that deterioration in old age is not a certaintly, dependent on vocation, lifestyle, training etc, and most ...[text shortened]... even with expert help, and despite a good 'genetic background' (ie successful relatives).
    I believe it has been discovered that an adult brain is more flexible than previously thought. the brain actually regenerates, but the new neurons seem to survive only if they're put into good use. a lot of neuroscience theory is being written and re-written, and I wouldn't be that surprised if it turned out that the reasons why children learn better were more social than neurological...

    I'm 33, and I haven't seen a child who could get even close to my learning speed. neither at chess nor at anything else.
  13. Standard member bosintang
    perpetualEditMonkey
    24 Jan '08 14:10 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by wormwood
    I believe it has been discovered that an adult brain is more flexible than previously thought. the brain actually regenerates, but the new neurons seem to survive only if they're put into good use. a lot of neuroscience theory is being written and re-written, and I wouldn't be that surprised if it turned out that the reasons why children learn better were m child who could get even close to my learning speed. neither at chess nor at anything else.
    It's not that debatable that adults learn faster than children. (Of course they do.) However perhaps those same processes that help adults learn faster also make them more biased,and therefore less likely to excel in individual fields.

    Have you ever watched young children play chess? They can push the pieces around meaninglessly and still have fun doing it in ways adults never could. They may not be learning as quickly this way, but perhaps in this process they are gaining deeper understanding of what really is happening.

    Someone brought up learning languages. Your 3rd language is easier to acquire than your 2nd, but your 2nd language is definitely not easier to acquire than your 1st. And adult second-language learners learn faster than children, but only in rare exceptions do they have the potential to reach the fluency levels of learners who started when they were children.
  14. 24 Jan '08 14:19
    Originally posted by bosintang
    Someone brought up learning languages. Your 3rd language is easier to acquire than your 2nd, but your 2nd language is definitely not easier to acquire than your 1st. And adult second-language learners learn faster than children, but only in rare exceptions do they have the potential to reach the fluency levels of learners who started when they were children.
    True, definitely true.

    I've studied math for a while. Younger students can come up with answers that is haywire to some problems. Older students has a tendency to do a to a reason check before giving the answer.
    Like arc sinus(some expression) = 48. In the real number system, this is proposterous, but the younger, with equal skill in math, go gladly further and try to evaluate (the expression) only to find that arc sinus (expression evaluated) has no solution. I think this quality differs between the younger studen from the older student.
  15. 24 Jan '08 14:22
    hei, I was expecting an answer like: "yes, I know someone that blah blah"...not endlessly debates on learning at different ages....