In my previous post I concluded (if you read between the lines) that the only training that actually worked made use of the verbal capacities of the brain. In order to check my findings I started to solve problems at Chess Tempo while describing the characteristics of the position and the moves by speaking out loud.
"Ok, here I see that the king can be driven away towards my own pieces. I must prevent that he escapes via d6. I can prevent that by Nc4+. I can safely play that since his knight on b6 is pinned" etc., etc..
I take ample time to describe everything that is going on in the position before I play through the solution. After all what I want to learn is to recognize the elements of a combination in every position. Of course the experiment isn't conclusive yet. But I noticed 3 intrigueing things.
- In the period I had my greatest ratinggrowth I felt sharp. During the circles I have hardly felt that. But during these new exercises I felt sharp again for the first time again after long.
- My "chess vision" was empowered again for the first time since long. The last time was during the period of ratinggrowth. With chess vision I mean that I look at the invisable patterns at the board instead of at the pieces. The patterns formed by the covered squares that is.
- I noticed characteristics of the problemset that didn't appear to me before. The problemset of Chess Tempo contains a lot of traps in the form of driving the king or the queen into a matingnet. Sometimes winning pieces if the opponent tries to defend that. In comparison: I have no idea what kind of problems are the most common on CTS, allthough I have done 70,000+ problems there. So I get important meta-information.
I got an e-mail of a british player of approximately 2200 who said that he had learned to play chess according to the following method:
"I started playing games against myself. Soon after this, I started to try and create brilliant finishes to my games. These you would call chess problems. Problems which I created myself. So I taught myself tactics, I discovered ideas well before I ever heard their names. I would bet that this is what other boys had been doing throughout history."
That is an interesting idea. It's my take you need the verbal aspect when you create your own problems from your own games. I will first continue my current experiment before I'm going to try the suggested approach. I don't want the results to get intermingled.