Conscious effort is unpleasant.
My board visualisation exercises gave me a clear framework consisting of diagonals. The key of the exercises is that you make a conscious effort. The automatic pilot is tabu. Conscious imagining of the details will commit these details to LTM. You can easy test if something is committed to LTM: it shows immediately in the next exercise. Don't let the brain deceive you by its brilliant trick to reconstruct instaneously what you are looking at. The difference is simple: a reconstruction fades away easy while something stored in LTM doesn't. With conscious effort you can make great progress in little time.
But it isn't pleasant to make a conscious effort. It is difficult to keep the focus of attention on the right spot. It is much easier to sit back and let the automatic pilot take over. The brain is very resistant against conscious efforts. Maybe I should say lazy. I hope that things will get easier after more exercise.
Fill in the details.
Now the outlines of the diagonals are clear it is time to fill in more detail. When I imagine the diagonal a4-e8, it is easy to see the squares a4 and e8. But in between it is rather fuzzy. It is not immediate clear how many squares there are in between for example. Or how the diagonal crosses other diagonals.
So today I started with trying to "build" quadrants out of squares, while focussing on the white squares. The quadrants were build quite from memory since I hadn't seen a board for 8 hours. Which means that all the elements are already in your memory, you just put them together in another way. After I had build all quadrants I fitted them together. Just a few days ago I had called this exercise way too complicated. As a rat running around in circles I come back to the same exercise and find it to be relative easy. So the order must be that you work from outside in. First build a framework, then fill in the details. When you work the other way around you tend to lose sight too easy.
Every day I play a few blindfoldgames against the the computer. I let the computer play at a pretty low level, since it is an exercise in visualisation and not in reasoning. I use an empty board since I do already separate exercises for board visualisation.
I don't have the feeling that I made any progress with blindfoldchess last week and I think to know why. When playing blindfoldchess I tend to play on the automatic pilot. So I learn nothing from it. Next week I will try to put in conscious effort, let's see if that makes a difference.
In the mean time I make little progress in my reasoning. I discovered from Polgars book that the middlegame has 77 different classes of positions. So that gives an idea about the amount of work ahead.
Storing patterns in LTM.
Is conscious effort the panacee to commit patterns to LTM?
It sure looks like it.
Can it be the missing element in MDLM's method?
I tend to think so. Since MDLM is the developer of his own system he possibly did his program with a conscious effort. Since we got the method "second hand" we were inclined to do the exercises on the automatic pilot. Hence with less result.
Maybe I see this conscious effort stuff way too rosy. If so, I trust that reality will soon catch up. If not, I might better call it Conscious Effort (TM).
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