Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pestaño: The Peter Principle: Why players fail to improve

Thursday, December 18, 2014

THE principle is named after Laurence J. Peter, who co-authored with Raymond Hull the 1969 book “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong.” The book was a favorite topic of discussion among my colleagues in the oil company that I worked back then.
It is a concept in management theory in which the promotion of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in his or her current role rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus “in a hierarchy, employees and managers tend to rise to the level of their incompetence.” The employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching his or her career’s ceiling in an organization.
It is the same in chess. There are countless chess players who are trapped as National Masters all their lives and cannot attain the next level, which is Fide Master. In the same vein, FMs, IMs and even GMs are victims of the Peter Principle.
I am an example of the principle. In the 60s and the 70s, I had a high rating of 2080 and could not improve any further. Due to age, lack of interest and motivation, I am probably playing now at the 1800s level.
Even after studying chess books or courses, many chess players have gone years without making any significant improvement.
Playing chess, practice is very important for improvement. However, you can repeat the same mistakes over and over again. You will tend to follow your own old patterns and not have time to develop a different and correct process. In my case, I play more than 20 games everyday online, but my preference is bullet chess of 1 to 5 minutes time control as I get bored and just play for enjoyment and fun. You can`t improve if you play like this.
There is no shortcut. To improve is to have complete knowledge of chess strategy. Then, you will know what to do in any situation. It makes no sense playing new moves when there are full blueprints available.
An incomplete study of theory leaves you with weaknesses and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Too much theory without enough exercises or too many exercises without essential theory is also counterproductive.
Too much of anything may also hold back your creativity and diminish your joy for the game. Save yourself time and study and train only with the best materials.
Cool facts. Here are some interesting chess facts which I did not include in my last week’s article due to space limitation.
The average rating of Iceland’s and Brazil’s top 10 players is equal -- 2513 for both countries. Iceland has 324,000 people, while Brazil has 203,000,000 -- more than 600 times that of Iceland.
In the chess world, Iceland is best known for hosting the 1972 world chess championship match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. Brazil has been a star on the international sports stage lately, hosting the just-completed 2014 Fifa World Cup, along with the upcoming 2016 summer Olympics.
Webster University’s chess team is stronger than most national federations. The average Fide rating of Webster’s top four boards (Wesley So, Le Quang Liem, Georg Meier and Ray Robson) is currently 2679.
As of the last Olympiad, that would make them the 10th strongest federation in the world, just ahead of teams like England. The population of England is 53 million. The total enrollment at Webster University is 22,000.
PARTY. This is a reminder to all Cepca members that our Christmas party, induction of new members, grand finals and non-qualifiers tournament will be this Sunday at Lola Saling Grill and restaurant in Casuntingan, Mandaue.

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