Not a day goes by without someone asking on one of the many chess forums what it takes to become a GM, or how many rating points they could gain in a year, or whether their 1100 online rating really means they’re 2000 OTB, because of all those cheaters. What these people are really asking, without wanting to admit to it, is “show me the secret shortcuts to becoming great at chess”.
Well I have news for them. There are no shortcuts. Chess cannot be life-hacked. There simply is no substitute for continuous hard work, and even then you have to prepare yourself for setbacks and plateaus.
Over at Art of Manliness, guest contributor Kyle Eschenroeder recently wrote a good, long read on why we should stop hacking our lives. His point of view was life in general, but I feel the arguments he sets out apply well to our attempt to master chess.