An unexamined life is not worth living.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Motivation in Chess

I have been on a break from studying chess due to personal reasons and this made me realize that the most important component for improvement in chess is motivation! With much being written about individual moves, combinations, tricks, positional details, training techniques – I rarely see a discussion of how does one become interested in chess, and then keep the passion alive. What drives players, both amateurs and professionals, to play and improve their game?
Do some people get immersed in the game without a strong desire to improve, merely fascinated by its aesthetics?
Do others only focus on the competitive side of the game, without the reflective look at the beauty of some moves?
Perhaps for some - the immersion to the game - is a way of escaping into a different world? For me, as probably for most players it is a combination of such factors that makes me study and play chess.

Sharing secrets of the King’s Indian Defence is very important, but perhaps the grandmasters can help weaker players by explaining more about what drove them to success, what motivated to study hard. Perhaps one book that talks about this subject is Kasparov’s How Life Imitates Chess, which I had reviewed already once, but I’d like to see more written about this.

Happy New Year to everyone, as this is likely my last post for this year!


  1. The artistic part of chess I am motivated by, and I think it's somewhat necessary even. If I only made moves because I thought "Oh, this must win", I would easily be deceiving myself as those moves are usually double-edged in that the opponent knows exactly which idea he/she has to prove won't become the decisive part of the struggle.

    Being motivated to do non-chess things and have a balanced life, I find that to be the more difficult struggle. Chess takes care of itself. ;-D

  2. Good point, finding motivation in life is more difficult at times. Chess is a simplified model of life anyway, so learning how to get motivated about chess goals is a practical skill :-)


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