Markus Buffett on Improving on Chess

This blog post by Marcus Buffet on Thoughts on Improving on Chess made some interesting points about self-improvement in general and how to properly use self-improvement tools, and I thought there was much there that could also apply to improving at esports. I recommend reading it; it’s not too long. Then you can return here for my thoughts.

Thoughts on Thoughts on Improving on Chess

Before there was Elo in League of Legends, there was Elo in chess. Chess is, after all, the game that Elo was originally developed for, by Professor Arpad Elo. And as in League, there are lots of tools available to chess players to try and help them get better at the game. There’s books, puzzles, coaching, more puzzles, different game modes, etc. In his post Buffet talks about trying out a bunch of different puzzle tools to see which ones would really have an effect on his play.

As I’ve posted before, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to self-improvement. Everyone has to evaluate all their options.

  • Reiterate itself is not a magical app. I think Reiterate can be a useful tool, and I believe it could help many people, but that’s no guarantee that it will help you in particular.
  • The history of self-help is full of charlatans and gurus who are more interested in enriching themselves than helping others. Even so, there are tidbits and devices you can glean from those sources that can make them potentially worthwhile
  • There are many statistics-based sites that aim to help League players. These can be useful, but I it’s easy to drown in a sea of low-value data, and a player seeking to improve his League skills needs to look beyond mere statistics.

What I really liked about Marcus’ approach is that he kept an open mind about training tools, while evaluating them analytically. He writes about how he tried at least ten different tool, ranging from coaching to reviewing master games to several different puzzle apps. It looks like he gave each tool a fair tryout, using it for a trial long enough that he could properly evaluate it. Most of the tools didn’t do much for him, a few were somewhat helpful, and one or two he found to be extrememly helpful in improving his game, as measured by an increase in his Elo.

I believe this is exactly the correct approach one should use when looking for self-improvement. If you find some new tool that promises “We will raise your rank, guaranteed!” and you set your expectations according to that high level, you’re bound to be disappointed. Instead, you should approach with the mentality of, “Perhaps this will work, perhaps it won’t. I’ll give it a fair trial, testing for concrete results. If it doesn’t work, there’s plenty of other options for me to try.”

I understand Reiterate isn’t the perfect tool for everyone. But I hope there are people out there it can help. It’s also important to consider that while a tool on its own might not work for you, using it in conjunction with other tools might do the trick. For example, you can combine personal coaching and Reiterate, where you use a coach to help you find flaws in your play, and then use Reiterate to help yourself focus and eliminate those flaws while you play.

How would you rate Reiterate as a self-help tool? Have you used it together with other improvement mechanisms? Let me know in the comments below. I’m especially interested in new ways people have discovered to combine Reiterate as one piece of a self-help regimen.

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