Sunday, May 20, 2007

Next best

According to the reasoning of my previous posts, the best method to improve your unconscious chessmodule is to hire a coach to give feedback on your games. I don't want to spend money for a coach though. I tried if a chessprogram could replace a coach. Since chessprograms don't show WHY a certain move is better, they are of little help. You can only confirm issues you already know. They don't learn you anything new. I assume that chess program writers don't want that anyone knows HOW their chessengine evaluates a position. So they are close to useless for this specific goal.

And thus I will try the next best method, to study heavily commented mastergames. The comments must be given in plain language, not in variants (otherwise I could use a computer myself). I will try to find the moves myself first, to give my chessmodule a chance to err. I expect the comments to give contextual information so I can learn WHY my moves are wrong.


  1. That is probably the next best thing. One thing that helped me was to go through one of the books first, find moves that the author gave LOTS of annotations on, and wrote those moves on the first page of the game. This way, I know to spend more time on those moves that will have heavy annotation. The only drawback? I remembered the first move of the first game :) But since I tried to do it without reading the annotation, but just to get a sense for how much there was, it didn't happen for any other moves after that first day of writing the moves down.

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  3. salute. what you describe is the best way.

    rather than go through thousands of games, it is better to construct your own collection of GM games large enough to broaden your horizons, but not so broadly as to dilute the area of forus;

    then go through them first for familiarity; then in a slow, more evaluative mode WITHOUT recourse to annotations, and ONLY then, visit the annotations to see what you missed, what you figured out correctly but perhaps didnt go far enough.

    lastly, re-visit them in the year or two and see if anything is more comprehensible than the first time around.

    the seven circles as mazla describes them is, i feel, too fast or more like carbohydrates, but such a way as what you describe is valuable protean. then all you do is eat, remembering to chew!

  4. I imagine working with fellow club member of equivalent strength might be an alternative to paid coaching. Bronstein talked of playing the same position against 5 strong players and noting their ideas.

  5. David,
    your comparison with muscle training is interesting. A scientific study described that when you train your biceps between the angles of 7 and 23 degrees at a certain pace, that you become stronger only between those angles (and at that pace). In the area where you focus consciously, your unconscious chessmodule adapts itself for better performance. Outside the area of your focus, nothing happens.

  6. Tak,
    that's true. What matters is the quality of the feedback.