This can also apply to professions whereby you are conferred a title not just by your own efforts, but also by the intervention of others who will test you. In the realm of sport, table tennis, tennis, badminton players and boxers come to mind. Not so golfers and bowlers, as they would need to conquer the pressures imposed by their competitiors to perform. Their competitors would not have any physical part in how they swing the club or deliver the ball.
If one takes a outsider viewpoint of the business of grooming a GM, clinically it is possible. Just equipt the candidate with the knowledge, send him to as many competitions to learn the tricks of the trade, preferably losing enough to learn what not to do, and VOILA! You get an International Grand Master. Is that it?
Those who have tried, (not me of course) and failed would have had their own understanding of their failure. However, I would not say that they should be in any way criticised for not helping others achieve the same aim. Being a GM is entirely a personal endearvour, so it is rather a matter of choice whether one chooses to share the skills / knowledge attained in the process. Ideally, that would be nice, but then again, it should not be demanded.
No one in this world owes us anything. We arrive in this world with nothing. Progressively we get fuelled with ideas, hopes and dreams as we exist through the passage of time. One cannot discount the fact that there is this important factor called TALENT. Talent for being good at some activity say chess does not automatically equate one to be at the best of the game. Some may be talented in reaching the heights of FM or IMship, but the highest of chess honours are only open to a selected few of extraordinary talent.
One such believer of this notion is Tibor Karolyi, who has had some part in training the super-talents of Peter Leko and Judit Polgar. Even he has often lamented that he started to learn the fundamentals of chess too late in his development, which cost him dearly in his playing career. He could not understand why some bits of knowledge were just second nature to another super-talent, yet seemed unfathomable to him. If you had read his book on Judit Polgar, he will explain it all.
So there is a difference between a talent in chess and a super-talent, who should have the means to conquer the heights of the chess Everest. Do we see such talents having doubts about themselves? NO! the chief difference is that THEY KNOW HOW GOOD THEY ARE.
The computer chess age we now live in further accelerates the growth potential of these super-talents such that they can easily prove themselves and be at the GM level in say 3-5 years from the time they start work seriously. Hence GM talent must be spotted very young, nurtured further to learn the rudiments of it and in their teens, these super-talents will emerge amongst the top at the World Junior level.
Hence, if we are not in this group of super-talents and want to buck the trend, it is not impossible but the odds of failing are high. Whoever embarks on this perilous journey should certain be prepared to face disappointment and be prepared to walk away after facing the true reality. Otherwise disillusions will surely develop.
Becoming a GM is simply not for everyone, much as one would like to assume or believe.