The hypothesis I'm working on right now can be summarized as:
After you reach a certain level, improvement in chess can be achieved mainly by pattern recognition.
What does that say, a certain level?
That's the plateau where people are stalling after initial growth.
When you haven't reached that level yet, probably anything will cause you to improve.
A list of facts that need clarification.
There are a lot of facts that need clarification.
A lot of these questions seem to point in the direction of this hypothesis.
That's why this hypothesis has evolved in the first place.
I have tried to geather a list of these facts/questions.
On a lot of these items we have posted before. So sorry for doubles
The former French blitz champion.
I had the honour to play a lot of games with this guy. He had drunk about a whole bottle of red wine.
During the games he was talking to another guy. So he paid hardly any attention to the game.
But he beated me game after game. What is it that makes this guy so good? It is not calculation, because he hardly looked at the board. It's no positional plan, because he hasn't taken time to work something out.
Beaten by kids.
I'm often beaten by "runner up" kids.
I often talk to them afterwards to find out how they are "phsychologically build."
Most of the time it are ordinary kids which you can easely beat on reasoning, logic, planning, knowledge, memory etc.. That always gives me the feeling that these boys perform a simple trick. A simple trick that is mystified by others as a chess prodigy.
The speed of grandmasters.
The 2 seconds per move average of Susan Polgar during her simul is simply beyond imagination.
How is that possible?
The only explanation I can find is described in this old post.
Grandmaster John Nunn describes that he once played 100 blitzgames with a master.
5 minutes on the clock for Nunn and 10 minutes for the master.
He won with 88-12.
Afterwards the master was disappointed:
"I thought that I would see lots of advanced strategic concepts in these games but actually all I have learnt is LPDO."
"LPDO?" Nunn asked.
"Loose Pieces Drop Off"
Most of the games where decided by relatively simple tactics involving undefended pieces.
Brainscans of grandmasters and amateurs showed that grandmasters use mainly their long term memory while amateurs have to invent every move.
Papa Polgar proved that any child can be a prodigy with the right training.
How about adults?
Research of Prof. Adriaan de Groot cs. showed that grandmasters investigate 2-3 candidate moves per move while amateurs look at 6-8 candidates per move.
He found that both the capability of calculation (!) and the memory of the grandmasters vs. amateur differed very little.
To me all these facts seem to point at one single item: Ferociously fast pattern recognition.