State of affairs of the tactical scans.
I have done about 300 masterlevel problems. The paralyzing stalling of the brain hasn't occurred anymore due to the scans. That is a big plus. I was pleasantly surprised by my pace and my accuracy. Some scans are difficult, some are easy and already start to become a habit.
- Double attacks. This is a difficult scan since there are often multiple possibilities which have to be examined. Further you need two targets at fork distance, but the targets aren't necessary already in place. Sometimes a preliminary move or trade is necessary. Besides that, an empty square can be a target too.
- Batteries. This is an easy scan. Both real and potential batteries are now recognized within seconds.
- Pins/skewers. This is an easy scan too, which I already am able to do in a few seconds. I discovered that there is a sort of "semi-pin". Usually that concerns the pawns that are in front of the opponents king. The aren't directly pinned, yet they can't move without causing great danger to the king. In combinations you treat them often as actual pins.
- Overloaded pieces. These are hard too spot. Often you have to trust on a feeling that the pieces are overloaded.
- Convergence squares. Sometimes hard to spot if there are many of them close together.
The double attack-scan worries me the most. After 300 exercises I'm nowhere near a habit.
I have thought a lot about the proper approach. I even re-read Buckley. There seem to be 3 major tasks in the middlegame which deserve 2 seperate scans.
- Improve your worst piece. Scan: identify your worst piece. This is something I definitely know but always forget to do. Once a bad piece is identified, I know how to activate it. The scan only is intended to make you aware of pieces that can perform better, not to tell you how to activate them.
- Induce weak pawns. Scan: identify which pawns can be forced to become weak.
- Attack weak pawns. Since you are already aware of them, no seperate scan is needed.
The tactical scans have some benefits for positional play too: targets are identified, convergence of pieces is a positional asset too, overloaded pieces indicate targets for attack etc..
There are two possibilities to train the two positional scans: use the strategy module of PCT and look if the scans lead you to the answers, or take a masterlevel game and go through it, performing the scans every move.
I tried this scan (again). But it is quite alien to my usual way of thinking and I don't expect the scans to become a habit in short time. So I decided to postpone it.