Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How to get a good idea.

Although life still needs a lot of attention, the greatest calamities are parried now. Which means there will be a little more time for chess in the near future.
I don't think my blogging will be same however.
I have done my share in the circles and the blogging and a lot -if not the most- has been said. So if I write it will probably be not quite the same as in the past. But I trust you will bear with me.

Where am I standing now?
The past few months I have played only one game a week in our internal club competition. I belong now to the 4 best players of our club which is quite nice. I have read your chessblogs daily. Further I have done nothing chess-related. I really enjoyed the break after 4 years of daily training 7 days a week and doing 100K+ problems.
4 years of tactical circles, blogging and chessstudy didn't bring me the succes in chess what I hoped for. I learned a lot about the human mind and the learningprocess though. Which was my primary goal. So overall I feel content with it.
Before my break I wanted to look at the chessvideo's of chesslecture.com and the like. Further I wanted to look at positions from grandmastergames for 10+ hours per position. If I will start with chesstraining again, these two points will be the core of my plan.

How to get a good idea.

The past few months I have asked myself "where does inspiration come from?" I thought I could force the generation of good idea's by hard training, but that is clearly not the case.
For now I postulate the hypothesis that there exists an universal reservoir of idea's. Both good and bad idea's. We just have to learn to tap into this reservoir. We are at the receiving end and our receiver has to be disposed from impediments.
In general, hard training is the way to clean our system and make the way free for inspiration. But there isn't an evident relation between the efforts you put in it and the fruits you will be reaping. Without efforts, nothing will happen at all though.
One of the main impediments we suffer from is to be content with bad idea's. Discrimination is needed to seperate the bad idea's from the good idea's.

If the hypothesis above is true, the question is "what kind of effort cleans my receiving system?".


  1. Congrats on your status as BMAC (big man at club). You asked, probably rhetorically,
    the question is "what kind of effort cleans my receiving system?"
    How about a good chess coach, someone you really respect as a player who will meet you once a week or so in person?

  2. Dude,
    Welcome back.

    I think you're right, there is something to be added here in the intermediate world. There is something missing even for those that are putting in the hours.

  3. welcome back, so thus begins the PTR era at blogger.com, or "post tempo revival". but seriously, great to have you back in any form.

    how to clean the channel and then in turn prepare it to transmit in the best possible way? so many chess players, so many opinions. so many techniques, so many openings, middlegames, and endings. so many great players, and historic battles. so many places and times and speeds to play! so many books, and softwares; so many articles.

    perhaps, it is said, that the single best way to get better is playing a sufficient number of high quality slow games A. and B., the sustained review of them, examining them for errors, and committing their leasons to memory.

    of course as athletes we must at once run daily (length and duration) then interspice weight or resistence training (resistence and intensity). but at a much latter time, or as you suggest after 100k tactical problems, we get into not laying a platform or foundation of basic fitness, but it is time to fine tune the machine, and you dont do that with round after round of tactics, you do it by deep work, and deep review of the products of our own efforts.

    there is little i can tell you in chess or training that you dont already know or know better; but this is one persons opinion, and as is your best trait among several, you have an ability here to generate many of those, that is to say elicit opinions and cross conversations, to the delight of all, never boring. :)

    warmest, david

  4. I'm glad you're excelling at your chess club and back here posting.

    You already know how to find the reservoir of chess ideas--it's all the books, videos, and games out there. You also know how to find good ones, and that you learn best by spaced repetition and writing your own analysis and comparing it with experts. And you know the times of day when we're most receptive.

    Why did your improvement stop? Did you reach a point where it took all your effort to retain your existing knowledge and so you couldn't make forward progress?

    A master I know said that God does not divide looks, intelligence, nor chess talent equally. And of course our ability to learn is stronger when we are young. Anyway, welcome back! As long as you're enjoying yourself it's all good.

  5. Tempo, don't listen to histbestfriend. My bet is that more DVDs, books, etc isn't what you need (after your truly insane bout of chess study). A good coach (IM level or higher if possible) will instantly see the problems in your games, see patterns of error as you meet over the weeks, and push you to the next level. That's my theory about what is best for those who are already laden with book knowledge and at a plateau. Not that there is a single best thing to do.

    Some people swear by master games.
    Some by tactical puzzles.
    Others by their coach.
    Others by marijuana and porn.

    You have obviously tried 1,2, and 4 to excess, so why not number 3.

    Good to see you posting again. The blogosphere was lonely.

  6. Note, since hisbestfriend is sort of new, let me be clear that my first sentence was a joke (hisbestfriend, it used to be a rite of passage amongst the Knights to be personally offended by one of tempo's comments: I'm doing my best to fill his shoed).


  7. Given the comments I see I have to clarify my question in a new post. Which will soon follow.