Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Final conclusion

 After a tactical training of 150 days straight in a row, it is time to draw some conclusions. The most obvious: Mr. Glicko sniffs at me.

Yet not everything is doom and gloom.

  • We can communicate with system 1 (unconscious brain) via squares, arrows and colors
  • There is a difference between new patterns an familiar patterns
  • system 1 works its miracles when we encounter a new pattern. It leads to the euphoric feeling that everything works.
  • I struggle with familiar patterns, though
  • Familiar patterns seems to interfere with each other. When one pattern draws the attention, the other relevant patterns seem to drown in the noise.
  • Feedback is the nec plus ultra method to educate system 1
  • Autopilot is the enemy of feedback
  • During training, the role of system 2 must be minimized
  • During feedback, the role of attention must be maximized
  • Seeing surpasses thinking
  • The PoP's of the PoPLoAFun method are differentiated as LPDO, BAD piece and attacking square
  • the PoPLoAFun method is expanded with the additional punch
  • Where there is Fun, there are chances to exploit
  • I must learn to see the actions of the pieces in stead of being mesmerized by the pieces themselves
I'm going to take a little break of tactical training, and I will focus on my openings for a while.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Shifting holes

 Robert pointed out, that the metaphor with the holes in the bucket isn't applicable in our situation. Maybe it has some merit for patterns you have never seen before, but that represents only about 2-5% of the patterns, maybe. For the remaining 95% he is absolutely right.

Look at a problem I solved.

  • In 2012 I solved it in 12 seconds
  • In 2013 I needed 3 min 46 seconds
  • In 2014 I failed it after 2 minutes 23 seconds
  • In 2015 I failed after 34 seconds
  • In 2016 I needed 28 seconds
  • In 2017 I needed 12 minutes 16 seconds to get the right solution
  • In 2020 I got it right after 51 seconds

Somehow there is no system in this. As if I have a bucket with totally different holes each time. Why does the past doesn't give clues for prediction of the future?

The pattern in the problem is very familiar. So where do the fluctuations in solving time and correctness stem from?

Presumably, the fluctuations are caused by the course that system 2 (thinking) is following during the solving time. And apparently, that course is not equal, every time. The course of system 2 seems to be governed by chance.

That must mean something for the method to acquire skills. But what?

In the past, I have tried to discipline system 2 by adopting a thought process. But there are two draw backs with that:

  • A thought process is executed by system 2, which is slow by default
  • A thought process needs a lot of redundant rules in order to be applicable for a wide range of problems. Which slows it down too much.
What is it what we need to learn then?

Take the following diagram:

Diagram 1. White to move

This problem took me quite some time. When I solved it, I asked myself what took me so long?
The problem was, that I saw the rook on g6 as a piece. I saw the piece, but not what it was doing. Only after a while, I saw that the rook was boxing in the black king. I saw the activity or the action of the rook. The aura, as we sometimes call it.

I think that that is what we need to learn. Since once I saw what the rook on g6 was doing, the solution dawned immediately.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Slow blitzing

 I have trained 138 days in a row now. So where am I standing?

Evidently, my used method didn't get the stamp of approval from Mr. Glicko. Now what?

I found the following:

  • system 1 is susceptible for geometric patterns
  • only 5% or less of the problems were holes in my bucket
  • the remaining 95% being familiar patterns with a system 1 being drowned in the noise of system 2
  • no need for a thought process
  • no need for themed problem sets
  • no need for repetition of problems
What to try next?

Here must lie the accents:
  • the quality of feedback (= attention vs autopilot)
  • replace calculation by seeing whenever possible
  • replace thinking by seeing whenever possible
Solving a problem has three stages where I can work on educating system 1:
  • pondering the problem with the aid of the vultures eye
  • drawing squares and arrows of the solution
  • imagining the helicopter view of the solution before the minds eye
So I'm doing problems in blitz mode, but I do it slow. Implementing the three stages above.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

With what shall I fix it

dear Liza, dear Liza? 

My little blitz test revealed me that I have about 30,000 holes in my bucket. Give or take a hole or two. Somehow, I must find the plugs that fix more than 1 hole at the time. I.e. I need multi fixing plugs. We are talking about transfer here.

So I'm investigating what the holes in my bucket have in common.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

How to feed system 1

 System 1 (subconscious thinking) is where your attention is. It cannot function without the light of attention. It works its miracles in the dark, though.

System 2 (conscious thinking) cannot communicate directly with system 1. It seems to have some power over the direction your attention is going, though. After all, you can't be conscious without the light of attention.

In the past few months, I accidently stumbled over a method how to give conscious input to system 1. How to give some direction to the course that system 1 is following. It appears that system 1 is susceptible for images with geometrical patterns.

I will describe step by step how I arranged the process. It is not iron clad, since there is still a lot to discover. It is a begin though. The steps are probably not going to be coherent, but you can see the steps as tags to make it more easy to talk about it. I will make the steps where you actually educate your system 1 red. That's where you build skill. I will make the steps that might be omitted green.

Step 1. 

Gather a set with tactical problems. The jury is still out on that one, but Mr. Glicko suggests I should take a set with problems that I failed or for which I needed an excessive amount of time.

Step 2.

Solve the problem. Let GM Stockfish help you.

Step 3.

Learn the solution by heart

Step 4.

Predigest the food with system 2. Probably whole step 4 is red.

I will elaborate on this. Take the following problem:

Diagram 1. White to move

6k1/R1qn1pp1/1n2p2p/8/pP2P3/P1r1NPP1/3QBK1P/8 b - - 0 0


Now I'm going to add some colored squares and arrows. First the green squares. This stands for the targets, B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended) pieces, sometimes an attacking square. I use it not rigidly. The main thing is to keep it simple and crisp. The geometrical pattern must represent only the essence of the solution.

Diagram 2. Green squares are targets

Both the knight and the rook are B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended).

Diagram 3. The red square is for a piece with a function

The queen is overloaded.

Diagram 4. The yellow square is an attacking square

Diagram 5. The yellow arrows are the lines of attack

Arrows often converge to where two or more pieces work together.
The relation with PoPLoAFun is not rigid.
Points of pressure are represented by colored squares. They are differentiated in three colors.
A red square is usual a clue for trouble. There is a potential tempo problem to exploit.
Arrows tend to make a mess of your drawing.

Step 5
Repeat the drawing of geometrical patterns over and over again. Until you know it by heart. Here knowledge is converted into skill. This step is absolutely essential.

How do I know that skill is formed in step 5
There are a few telltale signs:
  • It feels the same as when I made my greatest progress of 250 rating points Dutch national rating.
  • When you learn the position by heart with the aid of system 2 (conscious thinking), you memorize the moves. When you memorize the patterns, the moves disappear, and the thinking disappears. You just know where the pieces are and what they do without actually seeing them. You just know. You see them with your minds eye. You know before you can think.
  • I notice unexpected changes. Time is shrinking while thinking. I think I have thought for a minute. But the clock says 15 seconds,
  • There is definitely transfer. But in different places than I expect.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Mr. Glicko is not happy

 After 100 days of training, I decided to find out whether Mr. Glicko agrees with the notion that I'm apparently on the right track. Well, he doesn't. I did 174 rated blitz problems and obtained a rating of 1705 from it . That is about 100 points below my All Time High of 1806 (July 2017).

Yet I'm moderately optimistic. I trained only 48 days in a way that I had the feeling that it effected my system 1 (subconscious thinking). I'm sure I filled quite a few holes in my bucket. I renewed a whole lot of patterns which I thought I was familiar with, but which I was actually forgotten. I think I have found a way to communicate with my system 1. I solved the how should system 1 be trained.

Now I must solve the what. What should I feed the system 1 with? So far I used a themed problem set :

  • double attacks
  • discovered attacks
  • skewers
  • pins
  • overloading
  • mate in 3
500 total problems max 2 moves deep. I call this problem set my base set. Apparently, such global approach doesn't target the specific holes in my bucket well enough.

There are 1900 rated problems that I solve within 10 seconds, and there are 1400 rated problems I fail after 6 minutes thinking. Two persons with an identical tactical blitz rating of 1700, do very specific higher rated problems well, and fail at different lower rated problems as well. The holes in their bucket differ.

I obtained 100 problems which I failed. Be it by error or by excessive use of time. I call this my failed set. I'm going to apply my method to my failed set. In order to find out the secrets about transfer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

What De La Maza didn't tell us

 I always have suspected that De La Maza left out some crucial information in his articles. Not on purpose, but because he didn't know it. Or didn't deem it as important.

After 15 years of investigation, I think that I know what that missing information is. Or at least a part of it.

When De La Maza did his circles way back, he did something accidentally right. He educated his system 1 (subconscious thinking).

His articles and book were based on his interpretation of what happened by his system 2 (conscious thinking). And system 2 (conscious thinking) has no clue of  how to educate your system 1 (subconscious thinking). So his story was actually based on a misinterpretation of something that happened to system 1 (subconscious thinking), and which accidently yielded results.

Nobody of the Knights Errant has been able to come even remotely close to his results. That isn't a surprise, since we were guided by the concoctions of his system 2 (conscious thinking). And system 2 (conscious thinking) has clearly no clue of what works for system 1 (subconscious thinking), since they don't speak the same language.

What we found out, is that system 1 (subconscious thinking) can do something with chess diagrams and colored squares and arrows. The preliminary work can be done by system 2 (conscious thinking), but then it has to shut up and give system 1 (subconscious thinking) the time to works its miracles.

It works. Albeit I still have the feeling that the method is suboptimal. But at least we have a direction for further investigation.