In the past I had already written a lot about feedback here. I think that everything that is said there still stands today.
If you read the comments on my previous post, then you can see that we found that feedback is the nec plus ultra method to improve your motorskills. Let's see if I can elaborate on this.
Knowledge is short lived in chess. It either fades away or it is transformed into procedural knowledge. To give an example: when you read that it is a good idea to occupy an open file with a rook, you will either do that or forget to do that. Once it is a habit, you will do it every time, even when it isn't necessary. If it doesn't become a habit you don't will do it, but when you teach children you will tell them still that they have to occupy an open line. If knowledge isn't transformed into skill you are left with the impotent ghost of knowledge. This illustrates i.m.n.s.h.o. a transfer problem as mentioned by Phaedrus.
The transformation of knowledge is helped by narratives. Why? Because it helps to make the knowledge conscious. Consciousness is paramount. The following factors play a role:
- acquisition of knowledge
- quality of the knowledge
- transformation of knowledge into procedural memory. The forming of habits. With the aid of narratives.
- assessment of the knowledge. Because procedural knowledge is only semi-intelligent, you need to know it's value. Otherwise you cannot determine when the knowledge must be overruled. This assessment is based on the feedback from experience. Again, conscious feedback will adjust procedural memory while automatic feedback makes that this process of adjustment grinds to a hold.
- duration of validity of the knowledge. This only plays a role with opening knowledge.
Let's take a closer look at Troyis.
While playing Troyis the feedback was rather low level and hardly conscious. It was simply based on trial and error. Yet the result was sufficient to score well at this test. The question is, can the amount of time I used for Troyis (about 22 hours) be diminished with better and more conscious feedback?
Possibly so. When I had taken some time to look better at the game of Troyis I could probably develop an efficient strategy to move through the maze. Trial and error simply doesn't lead to a sufficient optimized strategy.
It has to be said that the lazy way is attractive. After all, playing Troyis is no penalty. But for chess the lazy way is too time-consuming. There are too many skills to be mastered.
A factor that has to be taken into account is the difference in speed of the declaritive part of the mind, which is low, and the procedural part, which is fast.
Last friday at the club I played against an opponent who is rated 500 points below me. He has made a great progress the past years so maybe he is somewhat underrated. It is an elder guy, he doesn't like to think about the game nor to talk about it. He just plays a lot. He did see all tactics quite well. At a certain moment I made a severe positional error. I played a freeing move which in itself was a good idea, but I forgot to prepare the move. By just playing simple and logical moves his position became better and tactics came into play all by itself. At a certain moment he could win the exchange and I would be virtually lost. But he didn't see it and I could trade off a few pieces and the queens. I was a pawn behind with R+R+N against R+R+N. He had clearly no idea how to play this and I won the game in a simple way, despite being a pawn down.
This game illustrated me the following:
Feedback by means of just trial and error can make you a tactically competent player. Since the feedback is simple, you win a piece or not. But at the very moment he had to make a positional decision, he was lost. I just attacked a weak pawn and he couldn't resist to defend it. Because material is what tactics is about. If he had given up the pawn and had activated his rooks, he could have drawed, possibly. But this is something he cannot find by trial and error. And since he doesn't like to think, talk or read about chess he has cut off all other feedback.