How long does it take to get good at chess?

This might interest chess players:

TL;DR: According to 5.5 years of data from 2.3 million players and 450 million games, most beginners will improve their rating by 100 lichess elo points in 3-6 months. Most “experienced” chess players in the 1400-1800 rating range will take 3-4 years to improve their rating by 100 lichess elo points. There’s no strong evidence that playing more games makes you improve quicker.

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Could one apply memory techniques to chess? Would it work?

That’s true for an average person like me. It took me about 5 years to progress from 1600 to 2250 (lichess blitz & bullet). Apart from playing lots of games, practicing puzzles and watching a bunch of chess commentary helped. My most noticable improvement happened when I began learning the variations of my favorite openings 10-15 moves deep. Even though I barely encountered most of those variations in actual games, many of the ideas behind the variations could still be implemented, and it helps me get advantageous positions.

That also seems to be true. Players like german11 on lichess have played close to 500,000 games but hasn’t made any noticeable progress at all. Maybe a conscious effort to try and learn the nuances of the game is more significant than just playing more games.


As a teacher, I realize that having experience in making mistakes makes you an experienced fool. Making a mistake once is learning, making a mistake twice is foolish.

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My understanding is that ELO is a relative rating, so the rapid improvement in the first 3-6 months would largely reflect a natural sorting of the persistence of play and learning, not an absolute measure of skill. Once advancing beyond the initial beginner sort, it becomes more difficult to advance a rating because you’re largely playing those with similar or greater skill–you cannot increase your ELO by beating up on chess n00bs.

So while there may be “no strong evidence that playing more games makes you [improve your ELO score] quicker”, that’s not the same as no evidence that playing more games doesn’t make you improve chess skills on an absolute basis more quickly.

This, one must make an effort to learn, not by simply doing mindless repetition. I have with frequence observed that some mistakes are crucial to be corrected because they present a degree of complexity that’s essential to comprehend the remaining portions of information . Like a pyramid of information to do any kind of hability (language learning, maths etc.).

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Spot on. Some coaches teach chess their entire lives and never realise what you just said. People get better at chess by studying, not playing. The only thing playing will do is reinforce bad habits and misconceptions about the game and make it more difficult to improve.


Not really. Timur Garayev used them for his 48 board blindfold simul but apart from that there’s not much to be done. I’ve seen Simon Reinhards banter blitz, but i’m still not really convinced that memory techniques have any practical application for improving players.