The Springboard Years

Yeoh Li Tian fantastic performance strengthens my belief that 16 to 20 are the “spring board years” for teenagers to achieve some impressive feats. Not detracting or taking anything away from Li Tian’s talent or hard work, it’s just something I have observed from experience.

Li Tian is 18 years old.

Mental aquity peaks at age 25.

Some stats in ELO rating over age seems to back this up.

Graph from

So the bad news is it’s downhill after the age of 30. Sure there are exceptions like people maintaining their chess strengths like Korchnoi and players attaining GM titles at age 55 but those are the really rare exceptions. For many, (myself included) they just fall into the main stats.

As for me, personally, I remember writing the snake game program (from the old Nokia phone) in Pascal in one day- a programming language I just learnt during that “springboard” years. Looking back I don’t think I can do the same today.

So kids, if you are in the lucky age range. Make full use of this time to choose what you want to excel in !  Especially don’t waste your time writing the Snake program 🙂

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