Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 03 Feb '07 03:46
    I was watching a recent interview with Karpov at http://www.chessvibes.com/?p=539 and he hints that Kasparov may have chosen to retire when he did because of his age, that if he continued playing he may have not fared too well against younger players.

    I heard that in general any skill starts to weaken as one gets older. However, I was under the impression that chess, being an intellectual game, would actually benefit from old age.

    If Karpov is correct, then I'm curious.. what exactly does one lose, chess-wise, as they get older?

    Just curious, because I'm over 30, just starting to get really interested in chess, and would hate to think that I've already reached my peak o_O
  2. 03 Feb '07 03:47
    Originally posted by UndeadNightOrc
    I was watching a recent interview with Karpov at http://www.chessvibes.com/?p=539 and he hints that Kasparov may have chosen to retire when he did because of his age, that if he continued playing he may have not fared too well against younger players.

    I heard that in general any skill starts to weaken as one gets older. However, I was under the imp ...[text shortened]... get really interested in chess, and would hate to think that I've already reached my peak o_O
    Speed of caculation probably.......
  3. 03 Feb '07 03:49
    Originally posted by UndeadNightOrc
    I was watching a recent interview with Karpov at http://www.chessvibes.com/?p=539 and he hints that Kasparov may have chosen to retire when he did because of his age, that if he continued playing he may have not fared too well against younger players.

    I heard that in general any skill starts to weaken as one gets older. However, I was under the imp ...[text shortened]... get really interested in chess, and would hate to think that I've already reached my peak o_O
    Im getting older.

    And I forget a lot.

    A lot of things I've known for years.

    Like my wifes name, where I live etc.


    I used to be great at chess. Then I forgot all of that too.
  4. Standard member chessisvanity
    THE BISHOP GOD
    03 Feb '07 05:27 / 1 edit
    the older you get the less desire and attention you give to chess.


    look at Korchnoi...isn't he 103?
    He still has desire....I don't believe age has anything to do with chess
    hell even bobby fischer is in his sixties and he's at 2300+

    age may well keep you from being the best....but why would you want to be the best?...once you are the best it no longer keeps you inspired to win etc etc
  5. Standard member cludi
    Blogger
    03 Feb '07 10:53
    I think the biggest problem with age is that your ability to keep concentration over long periods of time decreases...
    This is a problem in normal games (4+ hours) and it is probably a big problem in tournaments and matches where you have to play a game almost every day over a period of time.
  6. Standard member Korch
    Chess Warrior
    03 Feb '07 11:02
    Originally posted by cludi
    I think the biggest problem with age is that your ability to keep concentration over long periods of time decreases...
    This is a problem in normal games (4+ hours) and it is probably a big problem in tournaments and matches where you have to play a game almost every day over a period of time.
    Right you are.

    Also I would add that with age people starting to lose self-motivation for improving themselfes.
  7. 03 Feb '07 11:50
    I think tactical ability gets worse. Like I am not as good tactically anymore as I used to be about year ago. So I am going slowly down, but I hope I would still remember at least how pieces move when I am 20 y.o.
  8. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    03 Feb '07 14:01 / 1 edit
    When you hit 40, the brain begins its conversion to oatmeal. Playing chess can slow the process (thus it is touted as medicine to reduce the risk of Alzheimers), but it will not reverse it. Calculation, creativity, concentration, and stamina all suffer.

    When Garry turned 40 he had recently been better than anyone in history. His chances of continuing to improve were terribly slim. On the other hand, most of the rest of us are patzers in comparison. With effective study and good competition, it is possible to continue improving well past 50.

    I didn't have an OTB rating until I was 36. Once established, my rating put me in the low end of C class. I reached B class at the age of 45, and expect to reach A before I'm 50.

    To keep up with the young Turks (two 7th graders in my club have passed me in rating this past year; both are still looking for their first win against me) I work tactics problems while walking on the treadmill.

    (In weekend tournaments, I nearly always take a round three bye--Saturday night--because I'll play poorly on Sunday if I play until 11:00pm on Saturday.)
  9. 03 Feb '07 14:30
    What chess skills start to weaken as you get older?

    As a 45 year old, who has been playing for over 30 years and is approximately 15 years past his peak, I feel that I am well qualified to answer this question.

    1) Concentration - I reckon this is the most important. You have to be able to sit in front of a chess board for hours and maintain your focus throughout. There's no point playing perfectly for 4 hours and then throwing the game away with a silly blunder because of a momentary lapse of concentration. As you get older it gets harder to maintain concentration over long periods.

    2) Memory - Also very important and something which deteriorates with age. Unless you have a very narrow and solid opening repertoire, you have to be able to remember a lot of opening variations and know what to play against the sharpest lines. Memorising endgame positions is much less important because the older player is likely to blunder before reaching that point.

    3) Stamina – This is linked to concentration. Older players are less likely to be physically fit than younger players, so tire more easily. The key to beating an elderly opponent is to keep him at the board for a long time. Either he’ll blunder because of the loss of concentration or he’ll fall asleep and hopefully lose on time, because of a lack of stamina.

    4) Determination – All young players are very determined. They always play to win and are obsessed with rating points. Older players would rather have a quick draw and go to the pub.

    5) Enthusiasm – This is linked to determination. Young players love playing and can hardly wait for their next game. They read every chess book and magazine that they can get their hands on and spend hours studying the latest theoretical novelties. Older players tell their team captains “well, I’ll play if you really need me… if you can’t get anyone else…”

    6) Ability to learn new ideas – Again something which deteriorates as you get older. Young players are always on the look-out for new ideas and will spend a great deal of time learning new openings and trying them out at the first opportunity. Older players try to avoid doing anything which takes them out of their comfort zone. However they will sometimes risk a new line, but only if it’s been approved by a strong and wise player who is older than them.
  10. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    03 Feb '07 14:37
    Originally posted by Wulebgr
    When you hit 40, the brain begins its conversion to oatmeal.
    Have you got any medical evidence to back this up? My impression is that the brain actually does quite well compared to most of the rest of the body, the problem is that the rest of the body starts to fail, and this messes up the brain. The rate that this happens at (acquired senility diseases such as Alzheimers aside) depends on the health of the body.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that older players tend to go for defensive openings and try to keep complicated variations to a minimum, aiming for positions where their greater experience and strategic judgement comes to the fore; the younger player should try to complicate. Of course in correspondence chess mental arithmetic is not an issue, whereas experience is so you'd expect some correlation between playing strength and age for players on this site.
  11. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    03 Feb '07 15:02 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Have you got any medical evidence to back this up? My impression is that the brain actually does quite well compared to most of the rest of the body, the problem is that the rest of the body starts to fail, and this messes up the brain. The rate that this happens at (acquired senility diseases such as Alzheimers aside) depends on the health of the body ...[text shortened]... is so you'd expect some correlation between playing strength and age for players on this site.
    It is true that that the rest of the body turns to Jello faster than the brain becomes oatmeal, and largely pushes it along. As I said, I must do my tactics training in the gym (or I'm toast when I sit down at the board against some kid).

    Medical evidence? I'm not that kind of doctor.
  12. 03 Feb '07 16:10
    Here is another good thread on the subject. Thread 19057
  13. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    03 Feb '07 18:05
    Originally posted by UndeadNightOrc
    I was watching a recent interview with Karpov at http://www.chessvibes.com/?p=539 and he hints that Kasparov may have chosen to retire when he did because of his age, that if he continued playing he may have not fared too well against younger players.

    I heard that in general any skill starts to weaken as one gets older. However, I was under the imp ...[text shortened]... get really interested in chess, and would hate to think that I've already reached my peak o_O
    Concentration! Definately - at 53 I can testify to this (from experience) as being a fact.

    Lack of concentration causes mistakes in calculation (tactics).