The comments from readers of this blog are often very inspiring.
This was Mousetrappers' comment on my previous post:
Pattern recognition seems to be an equation with many variables. One of them is the number of patterns stored in LTM. Another one is the search patterns that make jump them from LTM into awareness. And yet another one is the ability to check if patterns are valid or not. In CTS it often happens that I see a pattern A (say a back rank mate) and try to exploit it with my move. Bad luck. Because within 3 seconds I missed a counter-pattern that avoids back rank mate. Instead, there is a pattern B (say a skewer of the queen, winning a knight). Had the problem before been a skewer, too, my mind (search pattern) would have been tuned to skewers, and I would have exploited it instantly, neglecting the back rank pattern.
It inspired me to leave CTS alone for a few hours to search the web. I have to work on my board game addiction anyway:)
I found the following (due to stupidity I didn't write the URL down, sorry):
In cognitive science they found a very important difference in visual span between amateurs and (grand)masters.
When they looked for 5 seconds at a chess position with more than 20 pieces, the amateurs could recall the position of only 5 pieces at average. (Typical what a short term memory can hold). The (grand)masters recalled all 20+ pieces. They found the following correlation: recall 5 pieces extra per 400 ratingpoints. They located this advantage in the brainpart for unconscious visual dataprocessing. When the presented position wasn't from a real game but randomly generated, most of the advantage of the grandmasters disappeared.
And this you can see happen on a daily basis at CTS: the positions that pose us difficulties because we have a time shortage, are easily solved by higher rated players who seem to see all pieces in such a short time. It really has a whiff of magic!
So if you want to design a chess training for yourself, make sure you adress this issue of magical speed!