Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Attacking complexity

Still developing a strategy for complex tactical positions.
There are two problems here:
  • The positions vastly differ
  • Within a position the complexity is caused by the sheer amount of simple motifs together with their interference.
The positions vastly differ.
First of all an inventory must be made of the different kind of positions. Since I only research one position per 5 days or so that will take some time. Besides that I have no idea how many different kind of positions there are, so maybe it isn't even doable. But I don't worry about that, over time I will know the answer on this.

Within a position.
How do you "attack" a certain position? What should be your problemsolving strategy? What questions should you ask yourself to find your way in the maze?
In a position I'm pretty fast "overwhelmed" by its complexity. When there are too many things to be stored in my short term memory (STM), I just tend to get paralyzed.
So I try to develop a strategy how to handle this. One possible strategy could be how to avoid such positions. Another possible strategy could be how to gamble on the best move. But for the moment I try to break down complexity in it's simple elements. Once that is done I try to "generalize" the approach of these simple elements so that it becomes available for all kinds of the same sort elements. That sounds difficult and that is what it is.

I will try to give an example.
As Blue Devil stated a long time ago, counting during trades can be difficult. By that time I waved that away, but now I have to admit that he was right.
Usually when all trades happen at the same square, it isn't too difficult for an experienced player to keep track of the movements and the traded values.
But if your Queen is attacked and in stead of moving her away you decide to counterattack by attacking the queen of your opponent, then you have to keep track of two series of moves at different parts at the board. When you add to this the bookkeeping of the trades, then it is amazing how fast your short term memory overloads. Limited space in your STM = complexity. So I'm looking for a method of counting which is less taxing for my STM.
As long as I don't encounter an dead end, I will try to work out this kind of submethods. For now I'm not ready yet for a strategy of avoidance or gambling.

My experience during a blindfold game lately made me think. The fact that I could remember the position even after an unintended break of an hour, means that I use my LTM as an extension of my STM. The skill to use your LTM as an extension of your STM is what the expert distinguishes from the amateur and the clubplayer from the homeplayer. That is what is shown by brainsscans during cognitive research. The $10k-question is: How do you acquire that skill. What is the optimal trainingsmethod?
Answering these questions may make the need to simplify positions to avoid STM-overload unnecessary.

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