Survey: the role of talent and training in chess

6/12/2008 – What is the most important factor in chess excellence? Is it a natural talent for the game, have it or give up? Or is it motivation and training, talent being a minor factor? Dr Robert Howard of the University of New South Wales in Australia is a psychologist who is carrying out a online survey on this subject. Anyone with an FIDE rating is invited to participate.

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Can anyone become a grandmaster or a world championship candidate with enough study and tournament play? Or, does native talent limit how far a player can go? What kinds of practice are most important in developing chess skill? One school of psychology holds that apparent native talent in almost every area always is illusory, that expertise and high performance in any area rest only on extreme practice levels. Anyone who starts early enough and practices enough can reach the top. Coaches should just look for high motivation rather than apparent talent. However, another research school holds that native talent impacts and limits how far anyone can go.


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Dr Robert Howard of the University of New South Wales in Australia is a psychologist interested in the development of expertise, for which chess is an excellent test domain. He is investigating this issue. He is carrying out a online survey on the determinants of expertise in chess, in which anyone with an FIDE rating is invited to participate.

The survey is available in English, Russian, Spanish and German. If you would like to participate, please go to this link: http://education.arts.unsw.edu.au/fidestudy/

When the study is complete, a detailed description and discussion of the results will be presented here.


The ultimiate player Garry Kasparov analysing with young talent GM Kateryna Lahno (in 2006)


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