Developing Chess Talent | April 13, 2010 2:08

The Monday Questions (5) for GM Sune Berg Hansen

Sune Berg HansenWe formulated ten questions related to Developing Chess Talent and every Monday we'll ask them to an interesting personality in the chess world.

1. Please introduce yourself (name, age, nationality, etc.)!
Sune Berg Hansen, 38 years old (soon 39), Danish grandmaster, 5 times Danish champion.

2. What is your role in the chess world?
Dunno :) I play for Hamburg in the German Bundesliga and I play for Denmark at the Olympiad. I am ranked around 500 in the world. I've been writing a daily chess column for the second largest newspaper in Denmark for ten years now. I consider myself a serious amateur.

3. How did you develop your chess talent as a kid?
I read a lot of books! By the way I don't believe in 'talent' – I think all talents become good by deliberate practice.

4. Who had a profound influence on your chess development?
My grandfather and I played in the hollidays and he was pretty good for a 'homeplayer' (strength around 1400) - when I started beating him (when he didn't lose on purpose) I decided to take chess serious. I started in a chess club at the age of 12.

5. What are your favourite sports besides chess?

6. What would be your advice for young people?
Get an education and only do things you find interesting and enjoy.

7. What has your main concern in life besides chess?
I am now a professional poker player and that takes a lot of time and effort - but it is fun.

8. What is the best chess game you played?
I don't know - haven't played it yet? - but maybe my win against Emanuel Berg last year - really enjoyed that game.

9. What's your connection with 'Developing Chess Talent'?
Merijn and his dad are into it and I know them - good people :)

10. What question do you miss and what would be your answer?
How long does it take to become a grandmaster? It takes 10 years or approx. 10.000 hours of deliberate practice. That goes for everybody - even Kasparov :)

    Background information

  • These interviews are produced for the Facebook Group Developing Chess Talent
  • Chessvibes is hosting them here and they will be linked to from the Facebook Group
  • The book Developing Chess Talent is written by Karel van Delft and Merijn van Delft and can be ordered via


Ron's picture

" How long does it take to become a grandmaster? It takes 10 years or approx. 10.000 hours of deliberate practice. That goes for everybody – even Kasparov "

Unfortunately not...

Sandra de Blécourt Dalsberg's picture

It is generally acknowledged in psychology that it takes approximately 10 years / 10.000 hours of intense practice to become an expert in any particular field of interest. But obviously this is an estimate with great uncertainty, both with regard to the amount of time and with regard to what it means to be an expert.

On top of that, talent is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite to expertise.

JustBe's picture

Hm.. Weird to believe in such numbers.

Kasparov became grandmaster at age 19

Carlsen at 13 years old.

Don't know about those 10 years. 10.000 hours in 10 years mean 8.75 hours/day without any day free. So together with free days, Carlsen practised chess before he could shit.

Of course those guys have a lot of 'talent' and can become quicker grandmaster. But same goes for people with not a lot of 'talent' and so needs much more time to develop...

Arne Moll's picture

Actually Kasparov became GM at the age of 17, in 1980.

Pozzi's picture

I am not sure but think your calculation is wrong.

10.000 h divided by 10 years = 1.000 h per year divided by 365 days per year = around 2.7 h per day. So this is not much work per day.

If you work 8 h per day and 365 days per year it only takes around 3.4 years to reach 10.000 h. So this seems possible for Carlsen and Kasparov.

I think the problem is, that you are not able to practice really deliberate. From my point of view this is not possible 8 h per day and even 2.7 h every day is much for this kind of practice. I think in my best chess-times, it was possible for around 1 h per day in average (with many days not thinking about chess).

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