Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mastering chess: Deliberate practice is necessary but not sufficient, psychologists find

Date:
October 26, 2011
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
When it comes to chess, psychological scientists have concluded that practice is necessary to get to the master level -- but it's not enough. There has to be something else that sets apart the people who get really good at chess.

Psychological scientist Guillermo Campitelli is a good chess player, but not a great one. "I'm not as good as I wanted," he says. He had an international rating but not any of the titles that chess players get, like Grandmaster and International Master. "A lot of people that practiced much less than me achieved much higher levels." Some of the players he coached became some of the best players in Argentina. "I always wondered: What's going on? Why did this happen?"

Now a researcher at Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Australia, Campitelli studies practicing. He's written an article with Fernand Gobet of Brunel University in the United Kingdom on their and other people's research on chess for Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

In one survey of chess players in Argentina, Campitelli and Gobet found that, indeed, practice is important. All of the players that became masters had practice at least 3,000 hours. "That was not surprising," he says. There is a theory in psychology that the more you practice, the better you'll do in areas like sports, music, and chess. "But the thing is, of the people that achieved the master level, there are people that achieved it in 3,000 hours. Other people did, like, 30,000 hours and achieved the same level. And there are even people that practiced more than 30,000 hours and didn't achieve this."

Campitelli and Gobet concluded that practice is necessary to get to the master level -- but it's not enough. There has to be something else that sets apart the people who get really good at chess.

Similar results on practice have been found for music. A study published in Psychological Science last year found that musicians need a lot of practice, but that practice isn't enough. The researchers identified one additional factor: musicians who are better at sight-reading have better working memory, the ability to keep relevant pieces of information active in your mind.

But, for chess, that factor has not been pinned down. One possibility is intelligence. A lot of studies have found that children who play chess have a higher IQ than the general population. (Because of the ongoing debate on whether IQ really shows intelligence, Campitelli prefers to be conservative and call it "IQ.") But studies have found mixed results on whether adults who play chess have higher IQs than adults who don't play chess. And only one study -- of several that have been performed -- found that adults with higher IQs are better at chess.

Campitelli and Gobet suggest that more intelligent children may be attracted to chess, and use their good reasoning skills to play well, but later they need to practice hard to learn all the strategies and plans that make a good chess player -- and intelligence isn't much help.

Other things that set apart chess players are handedness -- while about 90 percent of the general population is right-handed, only about 82 percent of adult chess players are right-handed. This could indicate some difference in brain development that makes people better at the spatial skills you need to be good at chess. But it still doesn't explain what makes some people better at chess than others.

Campitelli was disappointed that he didn't get to be a better chess player, despite all his practice. "But actually, when I started studying these things, I was happy, because I don't play chess as well as I want, but I can do scientific research and I can coach other people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Campitelli, F. Gobet. Deliberate Practice: Necessary But Not Sufficient. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011; 20 (5): 280 DOI: 10.1177/0963721411421922

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Mastering chess: Deliberate practice is necessary but not sufficient, psychologists find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111024153448.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2011, October 26). Mastering chess: Deliberate practice is necessary but not sufficient, psychologists find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111024153448.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Mastering chess: Deliberate practice is necessary but not sufficient, psychologists find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111024153448.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins