"How To Become A Grandmaster In Chess"

Are there any chess players here?


I think people overestimate chess grandmasters.
Just like the man in the article.

In my opinion:

Grandmaster of Memory>>>>>chess grandmaster.


Yes I play chess (low rated patzer). When it comes to GM’s what we see in the chess world is that many try but fail to get the GM title even talented IM’s. There are so many IM’s that give it all they got and don’t succeed. For me it is very clear that it is a talent thing and not just putting in the hard work and having strong coaches. There is no consensus on this at al in the chess world and it is a discussion that many have hold and have strong opinions on.

Last year The Chess Dojo had this discussion on Chess Talks. GM Jesse Kraai and IM David Pruess are convinced that talent is the key, but IM Kostya thinks that if you start at an early age 4-7 and have enough money to buy the best trainers everybody can become a GM. I agree with the first two. One thing almost al masters/teachers agree on is if you are 20 years old and never played chess and have some talent that the GM title is not attainable anymore. IM is maybe possible then, but GM is out of reach.

If you have those two letters in front of your name doors open for you not only in the chess world but also on universities they love soon to be GM’s. There are more then a view interiews with chess GM’s that got a very good position in a company because of the GM status. Nobody gives anybody a job if they are a GM in Martial Arts or in Memorysports or can scratch and jam on two turntables like no other :wink: (No offense to Grandmaster Flash it was the first album I bought when I was a kid and it was great)


@Josh are you a chess player? If so, have you been able to use any memory techniques to improve your game?

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I wish I could spend time on it, but I intentionally stay away from chess and go, because I wouldn’t be able to get anything else done. :slight_smile:

There is more information about memory palaces and chess at these links:

Edit: I didn’t watch this yet, but here’s a video:

and maybe a course:


It seems to be a very interesting course. I’m sure I buy it, if they sold it in video format.


Such a shame things didn’t work out with Chessable because they were working on releasing a video course with Simon. I was very excited about it and would have bought it for sure. About the youtube video Simon doesn’t explain any of the techniques, but mentions what is possible with what he teaches. It is very remarkable that according to Simon you can use it also for calculating. I would love to know how he uses it for that and also how he handles endgames. He also mentions in the youtube video that he recently had a second interview with ChessBase India and they send him a file full with opening lines that he memorized and they quizzed him on it. I have not yet found the interview so I think it is not released yet or only available locally.

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Interested to hear what makes you think a Memory Grandmaster is more impressive than a chess grandmaster because that isn’t the case at all… In memory a decently intelligent adult could probably reach grandmaster standard with a few years of training. While In chess there are precisely 0 people who have learned the game as an adult and reached grandmaster level in modern times. In chess we see kids drop out of school before the age of 10, train 12 hours a day with a team of professional coaches and it still takes them a decade to gain the grandmaster title.

In actuality it probably takes at least a hundred times more work to become a chess grandmaster than it does to become a memory grandmaster. So to compare the two GM titles in the same sentence is borderline disrespectful


You went into the complete wrong direction with this.

  1. Chess does not require high intelligence either. This has been proven many times. People completely overestimate chess player intelligence all the time. Garry kasparov’s 190 IQ? Sorry, just 135.

  2. The reason why it takes so long to get a gm title is because of the timing and money it requires to move and go to all these matches. That is why kids often drop out of school to invest chess. Not because chess is hard but because the time management is almost impossible. Everyone in the chess community knows about this.

This is also the reason why it is even harder to become an adult gm because most adults already have a life they can’t exchange for chess.

  1. Memory sports is still very young. The standards are low because of this. One of the requirements to get a gm title was to memorize a deck of cards in 2 minutes.

This is like putting a gm norm at 1500 rating instead of 2500.

The record for speedcards today is 12 seconds. Trust me, you don’t become a 12 second speedcards memorizer overnight, it would take a lot of people years, just like chess. And speedcards is just 1 of the many disciplines of memory sports. Imagine if you want to be the best in numbers, binary digits, names, faces, words etc. Years is what it will take.

Look, I don’t want to make a discussion out of this.

When it comes to utility;
grandmaster of memory >>> chess grandmaster.

Just look at this forum. Most people here speak 3 or 4 languages or more, are highly educated and have vast or broad knowledge because of memory techniques. Most of them are just beginners/amateurs. The best in the world can literally learn a language in a week.

Chess grandmasters have been put on this grand pedestal over the years for no reason at all.

I remember watching a livestream of Hikaru Nakamura where he said this:

“I am a grandmaster in chess but I suck at everything else.”

I acknowledge that chess is a lot of work but not because it is difficult. Chess is not advanced mathematics.


That is why I said “was” not is.

My argument is that the sport is still changing. No flaw in my argument.

I think he read it from a wrong point of view. Which is my fault of course, I should’ve pointed out that I was talking about utility in my first comment.

I agree that getting a gm title is no small feat but I don’t agree with seeing chess players as something incredible in the real world.

At the end of the day, it’s a boardgame. It has no value outside of chess.

Whereas memory techniques can make you the best in almost any profession.


Well… I totally agree. Just want you to know that for me, you’re right. The standards in GM chess and memory are not the same but definitely doesnt mean you don’t need that much dedication and also, memory brings a lot of powers in your life by what you become able to do. Memory sports is just TOO young and theres too lack of studies over it. Let’s talk about it in 50 years :slight_smile:


I do not think they compare. It is like trying to compare a marathon runner to a Gold Medallist in the marathon.
To be a Chess Grandmaster you have to be one of the top 800 players in the world and win 40% plus at that level. You also have to compete against people from all over the world.

To be a Grand Master of memory you just have to do the following:

  • Memorise 1,000 random digits in an hour
  • Memorise the order of 10 decks of in an hour
  • Memorise the order of one deck of cards in under two minutes.

They changed the requirements in 2013. It’s more difficult now.

(Edit: I don’t know enough about chess grandmasters to have an opinion on which one is harder — just linking to the current requirements for GMM. :slight_smile: )


Sorry found it.
From WMC 2013, GMM titles will be awarded to the top 5 placed competitors (who are not already GMMs) who have achieved a total of 5000 or more cumulative points in that competition.
The above qualifications now get you the International Master of Memory (IMM) title. Basically to get the GM title now you have be in the top five which means scoring 8,490 or more points in 2019.
If you check out this page - Standards - it has the standards you need to be hitting across the various events to be a GMM now.

Basically you have to play a lot against the best players and beat them a percentage of the time. The percentage changes the lower their ranking so people the lvl you need to be is 40% however people ranked 2100ish you should be beating 90%.
This is out of a list of 368,761 people as of August 2021 and there are 763 players at that level of which 703 are already GM. 10 of them are British and you need to play against that level 33% of the time and beat them 40% of the time to become a GM yourself. That said France, Germany and Spain are nearby and they have more.

I think it sort of like trying to compare a sprinter against a decathlete so I still think Memory is easier because it 10 or so events, it not about being the best at all of them to win. It a lot easier to get good at 10 things than 1.

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To become a GM in chess, you must achieve certain “norms”, i.e. results in tournaments involving other GMs. To win those results in a tourney where the strong GMs are playing is an almost superhuman achievement and like most sports, those players started training seriously at a very young age and never let up. There is a soft route, if you have money and connections, you can organize a few tourneys in some small backwater with retired GMs who are past their prime and possibly take a bribe (yes there’s a lot of that in chess)


Memory enthusiasts seems to spend a great deal of time memorizing shuffled decks or blocks of binary digits. These along with mental calculation feats such as chain cubing or mental multiplication are rarely put to any practical use. They could conceivably be useful to someone somewhere but it’s almost entirely recreational. Just like chess.


They own both websites so why are they not the same! I did find it interesting that they have changed the Speed Cards record dramatically, it makes a lot more sense now when you consider someone has done a pack in under 13 seconds now. I wonder why they have keep the 5,500 limit when the top five competitors are getting over 8,000.
If you are scoring those sort of points across all the events you should be able to hit 4,000 points easy to get the IMM in one shot.

If you have a 2,500 rating beating your opponents 40% of the time should be easy enough I would have thought and nearly everyone at that level is a GM so it a case of finding them.
If you live in the US or Russia think it would be a lot easier as they will come to you.