Expert performance requires extensive experience

  • Simon and Chase (1973, p. 186) found no grandmaster with less than “about {a decade’s} intense preoccupation with the game. We would estimate, very roughly, that a master has spent perhaps {10,000 to 50,000} hours staring at chess positions…”
  • Ericsson et al (1993, p. 366) summarize a variety of other studies finding necessary 10-year preparation periods in: music composition, music performance, mathematics, tennis, swimming, long-distance running.
  • Ericsson et al (1993, p. 370): “any significant achievements in literature, music composition, visual arts, and most other domains before age 16 are exceedingly rare (Barlow 1952). (Judit Polgar and Bobbie Fischer attained the level of international grandmasters in chess at age 15)”


Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363.

Simon, H., & Chase, W. (1988). Skill in Chess. In D. Levy (Ed.), Computer Chess Compendium (pp. 175–188). Springer New York.

Last updated 2023-07-13.