Today I thought I was a bishop
I'm making a huge progress with board visualization. When I started with exercises a few days ago, I saw just one black sheet before the minds eye. While starting my exercises I saw only 10% light at the places where I imagined the lines. The image was very distorted, scattered and dark. Yesterday and today I added a new exercise. I imagine a bishop trotting over the diagonals. First from rim to rim, later criss-cross over the board. Now I see about 60% of the board, especially where the bishop is. The other edge of the board still remains in the dark. It begins to look just like an ordinary chessboard. Since I know exactly what I'm after, the exercises are much more effective.
What can we make of all this?
I'll try to give it a shot.
The brains are very efficient. When it isn't absolutely necessary, images are not stored in the long term memory (LTM). From any subject only a few outlines are stored in the LTM. You can exactly see what is stored in LTM. That is what you see when you close your eyes and try to see the subject with your minds eye. A very distorted picture. To camouflage this, the brain makes use of a brilliant technique: reconstruction. Within no time the brain is able to reconstruct the image from the few elements that are stored. So that it looks just like the whole image is there. But when you look at the details you will find that the brain is cheating you. Look at a picture of a motorcycle in your minds eye.When your eyes glide along the picture and you look at the handle bars, the rest of the motorcycle is hardly visible. You don't see the details of the sissy bar. When you look at the sissybar, you don't have a clear picture of the front tyre. The details are reconstructed by the brain before your minds eye just when you decide to look at it. This economical use of resources in the brain has only one downside. It makes use of the short term memory (STM). Which means that it fades away after only a few seconds.
Which is especially annoying when you are trying to imagine a beautiful combination on your virtual chessboard.
All this waffling is just an attempt to clarify the facts I'm observing. It has no scientific backup whatsoever.
Let's, for the sake of reasoning, assume that the above is true. What conclusions can we derive from it?
First of all the described exercises are a method to store patterns in LTM. Which is the holy grail of chess development.
Recently in a scientific paper about cognitive research the researcher posed the important question: "What we don't know is why a grandmaster assimilates all those patterns in his LTM while the amateur who studies the game for decades does not."
The clue must be within the exercises above.
Years ago I have exercised on the website of Jan Matthies for weeks, maybe months on end. But it didn't give me the same improvement as now. What I want to stress is the importance of precision. While I did those exercises I didn't quite know what I was after. And so an immense effort was wasted because the exercise didn't adress the problem properly.
The brain is very resistant against uneconomically use of LTM. Even if you look at a chessboard for decades the brain is not impressed and doesn't store the diagonals in your LTM. Only if you make the effort to consciously look over all the details of the diagonals in your minds eye the brain is willing to store the pictures in your LTM. Once that is done your STM is freed from to obligation to reconstruct the pictures all the time and has free space for more useful tings.
I am well aware that I have builded a big building on little fundament. We'll see if it lasts.