Nautilus is an American science magazine covering many subjects. In May this year it concentrated on ageing and one of the articles was a discussion about the joys (or otherwise) of learning chess in later life. It can be read here:http://nautil.us/issue/36/aging/learning-chess-at-40 .
Written by a father who only knew the basic moves from childhood, it describes his wish to learn chess when his 4 year-old daughter had expressed an interest in the game. Finding the wealth of available literature too daunting, he hired a coach to teach them both. They improved together and when playing his daughter he would often blunder on purpose to keep up her interest, until she started to beat him. He soon came to the view that chess is a young person’s game. (See also Window on the Web January 2014) While his brain was declining, his daughter’s was expanding. What he found hard to take was that someone who could hardly tie their own shoelaces could beat him at chess.
The article discusses how the process of learning chess is different in children and adults and can be compared to learning a language. Adults learn grammar and pronunciation first, using that knowledge to make sentences. Children just talk. Adults playing chess need a reason to play a move. Child beginners just play. The site has a section for readers to leave their comments.
Clearly someone learning chess in later life will never be world champion,but the effort is still worthwhile.