All improvement starts with knowledge. Since everything that has to be absorbed in long term memory (LTM) in an unconscious way must pass through the STM first with full consciousness. Learning new knowledge is the method par excellence to do this.
But if the study of knowledge gets no follow up by applying it into practice, it is utterly useless indeed. And that is what DLM frowned upon. In stead of frowning it is better to look for better ways to implement the knowledge. If knowledge is applied in practice, you can't prevent it from transformation into skill. What are the impediments that hinder the process of the application of knowledge?
- There are preconditions. You must be able to apply the knowledge. This is often expressed by something like "there is no need to worry about pawnstructure as long as you hang a piece every second game". But the prerogative to hang pieces consequently is reserved for the lower levels. One day you will grow over it.
- Forgetfulness. To forget to apply your knowledge when the position asks for it. This one is amazing and deserves special attention. In the lower ranks of our club we have quite an amount of seasoned guys who know most theory very well. When you ask them to give instruction about the opening to the yongsters they tell everything the kids need to know. But if you play against them and do something unusual in the opening they forget to develop themselves!
- Crudeness of knowledge. One day you will learn that the bishoppair is favourable. But there is a lot of knowledge that should accompany this crude knowledge. For instance that the bishoppair in the middlegame is something quite different than the bishoppair in the endgame. In the middlegame I often sac a pawn or two to enhance the activity of my bishops. That is perfect while there is a chance to mate the opponents king. But it leaves you with an ending that is probably lost. No matter the bishoppair.
I advocate the RETINA-method:
- Read new knowledge
- Elaborate upon it
- Try it in practice
- Investigate the results
- Nurture your narratives
- Apply the knowledge into practice