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Title: The role of domain-specific practice, handedness and starting age in chess
Authors: Gobet, F
Campitelli, G
Keywords: Chess;Critical period;Domain-specific practice;Expertise;Handedness;Talent;Deliberate practice;Ericsson
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Citation: Developmental Psychology, 43, 159-172. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Abstract: The respective roles of the environment and innate talent have been a recurrent question for research into expertise. This paper investigates markers of talent, environment, and critical period for the acquisition of expert performance in chess. Argentinian chessplayers (N = 104), ranging from weak amateurs to grandmasters, filled in a questionnaire measuring variables including individual and group practice, starting age, and handedness. The study reaffirms the importance of practice for reaching high levels of performance, but also indicates a large variability, the slower player needing eight times more practice to reach master level than the faster. Additional results show a correlation between skill and starting age, and indicate that players are more likely to be mixed-handed than individuals in the general population; however, there was no correlation between handedness and skill within the chess sample. Together, these results suggest that practice is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the acquisition of expertise, that some additional factors may differentiate between chessplayers and non-chessplayers, and that the starting age of practice is important.
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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