A few posts ago I mentioned an improvement of chess vision due to mumbling narratives while solving chess problems. In the previous post I mentioned chess vision as one of the elements of calculation.
What on earth is the relation between narritives and chess vision?!
Chess vision is defined as the ability to look at the covered squares in stead of the pieces. Narratives play a role in defining which squares play a crucial role in the position. An example will clarify matters.
White to move
This is halfway a combination, so the position looks pretty nonsensical. Blacks only hope can be that white's cellphone goes off, or white gets an heart attack, or, less likely, he can give eternal check at some moment. But that is irrelevant. The point is to find the fastest way to checkmate black and what is of help for white to find it.
I think the main reason why we are so bad at chess is because we fall for the temptation of looking at candidate moves without defining the criteria first. You can follow any sequence of logical looking but randomly selected candidate moves. But there is a whole tree of variations and only if you are very lucky you will find the correct sequence within a reasonable time and without error. If you found it, or looked it up you have the solution to the problem. If you leave it there, and only repeat the problems and their solutions, you can hardly hope that it will effect future solutions of different problems.
That is where narratives come in. You must ask yourself questions about the position like "what can I do to make sure that I will solve this problem easily in the future?", "What are the characteristics of this position?", "What are the criteria for a candidate move?" etc.. In formulating the answers you create the narratives that contain new knowledge. When I did this for this position, I noticed that the king is in a cage. But there are two escape possibilities: c6 and c8. This defines two criteria for a candidate move: It must close a gap in the cage and it must gain a tempo. The criterium to gain a tempo is a general criterium for all combinations (except for the very rare occasion of a silent move). You can only gain a tempo with a check, capture or threat. c8 can be closed by the rook or the knight. c6 can be closed by the knight only.
The additional knowledge created while formulating the narrative transforms your view. In stead of being candidate-move-driven you are going to work towards a well defined goal. In this case, closing the gaps in the cage so the king can't escape. That trims the tree of candidate moves to a manageable bonsai tree. In stead of calculating you see.
Learning to formulate a goal in stead of learning solutions by heart by repetition is the way to go. Seeing which moves suit the goal.
Solution: [1.Rxf8+ (closing the first gap with tempo) Kd7 2.Ne5+ (closing the second gap with tempo) Kd6 3.Rd8+ Qxd8 4.Qxd8+ Bd7 5.Qxd7#]
The London Chess Classic on Youtube
15 hours ago