The days where chess material was a rare Good seem far away.
Nowadays we suffer from an overload of material and advice. The potential for FOMO (fear of missing out) is HUGE!
Everybody has an opinion on how you should improve and which opening “is the best”. But how can you cut out the good advice from the BS?
This sounds like a luxury problem, but one that can cost you dozens of hours.
The stronger I got, the more advice I got from a wide range of people.
Mostly different advice contradicts each other and it is impossible to follow them all.
More often than not, this just creates FOMO and does not help in any way.
Proof of Concept
For a matter of fact his first book The 4-Hour Workweek is the reason this blog exists. I set everything up while re-reading that amazing book and am very happy that I did so.
Tim said something along the lines of:
Only take advice from people that have already achieved what you want to achieve. It is even better if they have proven that they can replicate this achievement, through Coaching or in another field.
Think about it. It makes total sense. I only wish I heard that earlier.
When I decided to be a professional chess player, many people tried to talk me out of it. This did scare me a bit, as it really seemed I am about to mess up my whole life with that decision.
What I realise now is: all of those people were never self-employed. So how should their advice be relevant?
Would you take health advice from a heavily overweight doctor?
Or advice on how to quit smoking from somebody that smokes 20 cigarettes a day?
And this works the same way in any other field! Whenever you get a piece of advice think shortly : did this person achieve what I want to achieve?
If you answer that question with a no, politely say thank you and forget about it immediately. If the answer is yes, be ready to listen and do what that person tells you to do!
The only important exception is the following one: The person telling you the advice did not achieve it himself, but Coached people to do so.
I am still keenly following some Coaches that have less rating than me. Why? Because they helped their students achieve what I want to achieve!
Keep It Simple To Escape FOMO
Too many cooks will spoil the meal. That is why you should keep it simple.
One GM might tell you to play the Catalan, another one the Ruy Lopez and the third the Italian. In itself you could follow all of the three advice. But in order to be productive, you must decide which one to follow and then stick with it.
Do not overload yourself with information. Choose wisely whom to follow and trust their advice.
The same goes for online courses. There are thousands of courses you COULD buy. Some are better, some are worse. Most likely, all of them would help you improve a bit.
But having too many influences will overload and confuse you.
Focus on one course at a time. Follow what the Coach is suggesting with determination. Only when you finished this resource, try finding another one.
That is why I suggest you study on Chessmood. You get courses on all areas of chess from one great Coach. The best of it: no-one constantly tries to up-sell you more courses that will most likely just confuse you (and empty your pockets…).
Trust, Then Evaluate
No matter what resource you choose, make sure to trust this resource to start with. If an expert tells you to solve some puzzles, there is most likely a reason for it!
Obviously, not all resources & Coaches work for you. After roughly 3-6 months you can evaluate if the course taken has been successful for you. Be aware that real improvements will take time to show.
Ask yourself: did I learn something? Even if your rating does not show that yet, if the learning did take place you are on the right way.
If you decide it is time to change approach and listen to someone else’s advice, do it. Start over with this full process & don’t fall into FOMO and try everything at once.