While developing the theory about motorskills I was well aware that I deliberately left out a few topics. Reading this post from Soapstone I realized that it is now the time to address them in the light of the new findings. I don't know where this post is going since I use the writing as a means to think about it. So please bear with me. Before I start to talk about evaluation, calculation and knowledge I summarize the previous in an attempt to get some focus.
Experienced (7+ years) chessplayers don't differ all that much in amount of patterns they recognize nor do they differ all that much in the skill of recognition they have. The real difference is made by the automatic scan-habits they have.
When a task is performed with the aid of procedural memory you get these for free:
Knowledge is a strange commodity in chess.
Acquisition of knowledge.
Sometimes it is very difficult to obtain useful knowledge, but once acquired it is usually short lived. Within days or weeks the knowledge is converted into procedural memory.
For the acquisition of new knowledge the following elements are indicated as being helpful:
- a coach
- analysis of your own games
The transfer of knowledge into procedural memory is assisted by narratives. Just like the knowledge of the rules inevitaby will transform into procedural knowledge the same is true with almost any chess knowledge. You can't avoid it. Narratives form a bridge from acquisition to transfer. New knowledge that isn't transformed into procedural memory will usually be forgotten soon.
The only edge that you can have with knowledge while it is still in the state of declarative knowledge, is the advantage you have with opening knowledge. Actually this isn't quite true since opening knowledge is constantly renewed. If a certain amount of opening knowledge isn't renewed within the last decade or so then usually everybody knows it. Even in a chesscafe almost every tourist knows how to play the first 5-8 moves of the Najdorf with white. Automaticly and without even knowing why.
The word calculation is used in a rather unusual way in chess. It has nothing to do with arithmatic. How shall I define it? Maybe this "Soapstone-inspired-definition" is useful:
Calculation is everything what happens in the mind before you evaluate the endpositions of the tree of analysis.
After the calculation you have to assess the endpositions.
We like to belief that our decisionmaking is conscious and rational. Usually there are too many factors involved so we make a sort of emotional assessment.
Right now I realize I first have to think alot more about this subject, so I will shift that to a future post. There is clearly a lot that has to be taken into account. Sorry if I have awoken expectations that I can't fulfill at this very moment.