May only apply to old people.
Goes like this:
- You’ve been busy so you take a break from tournament chess.
- When you return, you figure you’ll just work some tactics exercises and wing it for a bit. You expect some rusty results while you study back into form.
- But in fact you score very well, and immediately your rating starts going up. So you think, man, this is my chance, and you study study study study and start really grinding away at improvement.
- Then your results start going down.
- So then you get frustrated and busy, and you take a break.
What’s going on here?
Maybe the “studying” has two effects. One is that you’re assimilating new information, but the other is that you’re grinding away a certain spontenaity, creativity, joy in your play. So it looks like the studying is in vain, because your immediate results decline. But the place you actually see the benefit is when you return from the break. New information still available, now paired with necessary creativity.
The improvement paradox: To get better, you have to stop playing.