Friday, May 09, 2008

The future

Now we are officially exposed as a cult I suggest some measures against those who offend our Hero. . . :)

After 136 masterlevel problems with the aid of my new mnemonic I get an idea what the future has in store.

No brain stalling anymore.
The mnemonic definitively solved my problem of a stalling brain due to complexity. Since the mnemonic comprises the most important tactical middlegame motifs, the complex position is broken down into it's simple elements, thus freeing brain resourses. I am very, very surprised that such simple means is so effective. In fact I start to find the masterlevel problems rather easy and I look forward for the more difficult ones deeper in the database.

Score 95%
The mnemonic leads me in 95% of the cases to the correct answer. That is remarkable, to say the least. There were two kinds of problems where the mnemonic wasn't sufficient to find the solution:

In a few cases I wasn't able to visualize the tree of analysis to the end, so I abandoned a line that was winning. Visualisation will not make you better in chess, lack of visualisation will make you worse though. Since it happened only in a few cases I don't worry about this aspect at the moment.

Endgame and positional play.
There are a few tactical motifs that are specific to the endgame. Here the mnemonic for common tactics is of no use. Once the mnemonic for common tactical middlegame motifs is mastered, a dedicated endgame mnemonic can be developed.
This indicates the way to go. A t some point a positional mnemonic will be necessary too.

The mnemonic is an aid to perform five different scans:
  • Double attacks
  • Batterries
  • Pin/skewers
  • Overloaded pieces
  • Convergency squares
The conscious application of these scans is quite strainfull for the brain. It is as if you are trying to form 5 habits at the same time. There is no easy way around this. It's my guess that it will take at least 2500 repetitions to settle the habits. There is no need to repeat the problems, as long as you apply the scans once per problem thoroughly.
This are the restraints:
  • active attitude
  • consciously
you can't educate your autopilot while you are on autopilot.

Base of the scans.
The productivity of the scans has the following base:
Goal of the mnemonic.
In the end the scans must become an automatic habit which is done unconscious and without effort. It will influence your speed and your ability to visualize.


  1. Do you "go down the list" of the mnemonic one by one or are you looking for all types of tactics at once as you scan the board?

  2. Wow, this must be big if it brings Rocky Rook out of hiding! :)

    Awesome stuff, great to see progress with this.

  3. Brilliant stuff. I'll volunteer to be a guinea pig if you need data. Was the order of the scan important? I'm hoping to rearrange the mnemonic into a more memorable acronym. Oh, and thanks for the comments on killer heuristic. Agreed that focusing on forcing moves seemed to be the antithesis of a wide net scan.

  4. Soap,
    I'm still playing with the order to find out what works best.

  5. BDK ... I've just been "busy" with other things. :-)

    I too am interested in order.

    The last three posts Tempo has written caught my eye because I've been trying to hone in on the same concept.

    I've always tried (succeeded ... no, tried, yes) in looking for checks, captures and threats. But now I'm thinking that incorporating Tempo's mnemonic when I'm looking for checks, captures and threats.

    So when I'm working problems at chesstempo, I sometimes find it hard to pinpoint the essence of the position. But I've found when I look for checks, captures and threats, I eventually get there. I think Tempo's mnemonic will help me dig a little deeper.

    And for the record, I really like the stuff you put out on this blog Tempo. But you have so much information, I have a hard time reading through it all and processing it with the limited time I have to scan chess blogs. But the last three posts of yours seem to summarize a lot of your research and that is what caught my attention.

  6. Seriously, some day when you distill this down to the nuggets with appropriately beautiful window dressing and presentation, I would plunk down $30 to buy your book. You could be the next De La Maza. Not that I'd want you to do a rush job, but you should do it before $30 becomes worth like one-tenth of a euro.

  7. Dabattpinold, dabattpinolc, dabattpinolc. It seems like it can't be THAT easy but you have extreme experience studying tactics so I will also try this mnemonic out as I study tactics and report back my success or lack thereof. I have a feeling this will speed up my process, but won't be able to solve some positions, that have say a queen that can be trapped or somesuch that's not a DA BATT PIN OL C. What about the traditional checks, captures, and threats? Do you try that first? That sequence seems to crack simpler problems very quickly.