Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Thanks for the help, guys, your comments are quite inspirational.

For scanning I'm using now the mnemonic CoTarTraDaDaPinOl (Convergence, Targets, Trap, Double attack, Discovered attack, Pins, Overloading). The first results are great, since they take away the complexity of the masterlevel problems.

Everybody has his positions where the brain stalls because of the complexity. Weird enough that aren't the same positions for everybody. Tanc gave an example of a position which he found very deep and hard to see. Initially I wanted to show him how he could see the simplicity in the complexity. But soon after I found my own Nemesis in Renko's killermoves.

What do we have?
Good scanning breaks down a complex position in its simple elements. It really works that way. The brain is initially overwhelmed by short term memory overload, but the dissection of the position frees up the resources in the mind.
The scanning must be finetuned by applying it to reality. That makes it into something personal. Expect the mnemonic to change a few times because of the optimization of the scanprocess.
I use the term convergence squares where Tanc uses weaknesses. I use the word trap, but in games that means in 99% of the cases mate.

The scanning for targets was initially designed to replace the need to look for double attacks, discovered attacks and pins/skewers seperately since they all have two targets. But it doesn't work that way. Maybe I have to declare it obsolete, but that is what I'm going to find out next since I intend to continue with the killermoves of Renko. There seems a scan to be missing too which needs to identify the pieces that can be replaced by means of trade. Sometimes a combination doesn't work because of the wrong targets. By replacing those targets by means of trade, you can change those targets in more suitable targets. All that I'm going to optimize the following weeks.

Changing the emphasis.
It is important to place the emphasis on the scanprocess and not on the search for the solution. That is to say, only after the solution is found the work begins to optimize your scan. We are all very inclined to place the emphasis on the solutionprocess and to stop once the solution is found.

What's the difference.
This is a quite important point of which we know little. 1ooK+ problems didn't optimize the scanprocess by it self. The habit is still to search for a move by random trial and error. For sure I have seen a lot of double attacks, pins and discovered attacks. Yet the search for it hasn't optimized itself and in a complex position I forget to look for them.

With the convergy scan it is different. Allthough I have done that much less, it has already formed itself into a habit. Still a bit shaky, maybe, but nevertheless. The difference is the active attitude with which I try to implement the scan, with the aid of conscious thought. It's the difference between falling asleep over your work or after your work. You can't educate your autopilot while you are on autopilot. That is the main spiller of time while trying to improve.


  1. I take it by not responding you don't like to mention what club you currently play for?

  2. I don't like to mention it in public so I sent you an e-mail yesterday. Which you obviously haven't read yet. I play in the city somewhat NE to where you play.

  3. The habit is still to search for a move by random trial and error.

    I think this is key, as once I stopped doing that and started with 'FSTDD' I got much better with simple tactics, and it became automatic after applying the scan process to lots and lots of problems to practice.

    It will be interesting to see if it works for your more complicated topics.

  4. I have done another 23 masterlevel problems while using the mnemonic and my mind didn't stall anymore. It works as a method to break down the complexity and it lead to the correct answer in 90% of the cases.

    It is pretty demanding, but I'm full of hope that it will become easy some day.

  5. I like the whole idea. I'm going to start trying it at chesstempo.