Monday, June 04, 2007

For Loomis

Loomis asked me:

I'm very interested to see an example or two of problems that you spend 4 hours on. I have a feeling that I don't have the discipline that you do to spend that much time on a problem. :-).

diagram 1

White to move.

diagram 2

White to move.

I don't look at this as actual problemsolving. I see it as an investigation.

The main question is: how can I solve a position as this OTB in 3 minutes (the average time per move).
I use a few minutes in an attempt to solve it. Then I go to the solution and work out all variations with the aid of Arena.
Then I try to find out why I missed what I missed. Then I try to found out what the specific characteristics are of what I missed. What is needed to recognize all important elements of the position within 3 minutes? What happens in my mind? What kind of exercise would I need to train this?
So it isn't a matter of discipline to look for so long at one position. It is a matter of curiosity.
Since the questions I ask myself are the same, it doesn't matter if I investigate 1 problem or 100 problems to try and find the answers on these very questions.

My latest discovery is (the importance of) interference.
My penultimate discovery was that there is a difference between the series of subsequent moves (with moves A, B en C as seperate moves in time, my usual way of looking at a position) and a geometrical pattern (where A, B and C are visible at the same time in one spacial pattern).


  1. Sounds like your approach fits perfectly to the way Dvoretsky wants "us" to work with the game.

    Anyone who have read his books knows that it's not exactly a cakewalk (sometimes not even for IM's and (dare I say it?) GM's I think). But for the one who is prepared to put the work in the reward should be great.

    I'm about to dive into the "School of chess excellence" series myself and I'm gonna use a similar approach as you. Therefore it's very interesting to see what you think about it.

    Thanks, keep up the good work. :-)

  2. i dont think that it is at all unusual to spend two or three hours on one position, and have spent two or three days on one...

    as usual, wonderful blog.

    stopping by for a moment. warmly, dk

  3. DK,
    agreed, but this are tactical positions where you can reach a definite conclusion.