Sunday, June 24, 2007

More about board visualisation

Loomis said lately that he plays better blindfoldchess when looking at an empty board. I experience the same. So that's a plea for board visualization. I have done a lot of visualisation exercises at the website of Jan Matthies years ago and at a certain moment I got a chessboard with pieces before my minds eye which I could handle just like a physical set. It only lasted for a few minutes though. So I have a reasonable idea what is needed for perfect visualisation. I don't think that the system of Jan Matthies is very efficient, although it works in the end. Further I noticed a lot of methods around the web that break up the chessboard in quadrants, which you have to put together later on. If those methods work for you, good for you! But for me that looks way too complicated.

There are 3 kinds of movements on a chessboard. Straight-, diagonal- and knightmovements.
Straight movements are very easy to imagine before the mind's eye, since we are used to rows and columns since our youth. The diagonals are very wrinkled usually.
This is my method to iron them out:

Let's have a look at the darksquared bishop. There are 4 rectangles which cover the whole board:

The blue line is "a special case of a rectangle" (please be flexible). Imagine these 4 rectangles one by one before the minds eye.

Any dark square is a "member" of one or two rectangles. On the rim it is a member of only one rectangle, in the middle it is a member of two rectangles.

Take for instance square d6:

You have to imagine before your minds eye the two rectangles which go thru d6. When you do this for every square, all the wrinkles disappear! With the light squares it works all the same in mirror view.

With this exercise, the movements of the rook, bishop, queen, king and pawn should be no problem anymore. The knight is quite a different animal, at which I hope to come back later.

Besides visualization exercises and blindfoldchess I'm still working on "reasoning".


  1. I have found the quadrant way to be too artificial, so am thinking in terms of the 8x8 now. To the extent that I'm working on this!

  2. I just remembered, a blind guy I once played with had 300 ratingpoints less than me. But he managed to lure me in a trick that made me realize that he was much better aware of the diagonals than me.

  3. In the mornings, whenever I walk somewhere, I never walk straight. I allow myself to drift substantially to the left. In the afternoons this is reversed, I drift substantially to the right. I figure a few more years at this and I'll have the diagonals down pat. I just hope I don't forget how the straightaways work!

  4. I figure you end up in a chesscafe in stead of your work everyday due to the Coriolis-force?

  5. I always carry a Coriolis Compensator. The technology is similar to that in the Heisenberg Compensator but it works in the classical regime.