Sunday, August 14, 2005

Speed does matter.

Some time ago I experimented with playing against the computer.
At first I played a tempo.
Because if pattern recognition plays indeed an important role, it would probably manifest itself in the first few seconds of looking at a position. No matter if one is drunk or having the flu.
What happened was that I had to adjust the level of the computer time and again, because I lost every game.
In the end the computer was allowed to think only 1 ply ahead.
And even then I scored only about 50%.
I was astonished. But I started to use more time myself and my results got better.
So I had to adjust the level of the computer until it was 5 ply deep.
And I forgot what happened when playing a tempo.
At 5 ply I needed about 15 minutes to score 50% against the computer.
Experimenting with 6 ply lead to loosing everytime due to oversights of rather simple combinations.
At this place I started to experiment with scanning and board vision techniques.
The “rake experience”.
I started to book results against 6 ply, but I might as well just fool myself because of the fact that my game time had increased from 15 minutes to an hour. As JavaManIssa pointed out.

At the tournaments I got the feeling that though the scanning techniques helped me to avoid oversights, I used a lot of time for relatively simple tasks. What seemed complex, appeared to be only a pile of simple things. But these simple things costed me way too much time and energy to work out OTB.
This has lead me to the conclusion that I first have to learn to do the simple things a tempo, before I can get to more complex tasks.
That this is true can be seen when you try to solve problems at CTS.
CTS contains tons of relatively simple problems, but time and again you will find yourself using more than 3 seconds to solve them. Ok, there are a few complex ones at CTS, but let that not obfuscate the isue. If I look over the shoulder of Margriet, I see her solving most problems, only much slower than me. So speed does matter.
The performance of Susan Polgar with average 2.7 seconds per move with a succesrate of 96+% during her simul indicates the same. There is no way that she had time to think. So all the work was done by pattern recognition.
And when you consider I even loose against the computer at only 1 ply deep when playing a tempo, it will be no surprise that if a person has learned that trick, (s)he will win all the time without effort from guys like me.

How do I learn to recognize simple combinations a tempo?
CTS has clearly proven that the program of DLM hasn’t helped me very much with this point.
So I decided to do some serious work at CTS and have a look where that will bring me.

CTS circle 1: 7,500 / 70,000


  1. Hey TS,

    Go check out phorku played on our DeLaMaza U1800 team in the Team 45 tournament.


  2. People think I'm crazy...
    But like I said earlier, it is all about the patterns.