Thursday, May 08, 2008

Triviality is the spice of life.

What I have found is almost too trivial for words.
As predicted, the mnemonic used in initial scanning the board has altered a few times and is now changed into DaBattPinOlC
  • Double attack
  • Battery
  • Pin/skewer
  • Overloaded piece
  • Convergence squares
Before I used this mnemonic I did the first two masterlevel problems of Renko's CD killermoves.
With both problems I had great trouble to find out what was going on since my brain was simply overloaded by the amount of information in the complex position. Trying to solve those problems by my usual trial and error habit it took me 1.5 hours per problem. Once I started to use this mnemonic I did another 38 masterlevel problems and the stalling of my brain was over. Averaging 15 minutes per problem. Either it is a coincidence that the first two problems were much more difficult than the next 38 or a systematic approach really makes the difference. Using this mnemonic the complexity is broken down into its simple bite-sized elements. The only thing I have to do now is to take care that it becomes a habit.

There are a few differences with the previos mnemonic. I don't search for targets anymore. This shortcut to find tactics has proven to be insufficient. This is replaced by the search for double attacks, batteries, pins and overloaded pieces. I omit the scan for traps too since we are talking about mates 99% of the time and I can't help to look for mates anyway. That is already a habit.
Further I changed the order of the scans.

The essence of the matter:
You can't educate your autopilot while you are on autopilot.


  1. I counted the amount of basic tactical motifs per problem (DA, batt, pins and overloaded pieces) for the active side: 4 at average. With a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8.

  2. Very exciting development! I really like the final quote.

    As far as traps, what about traps that aren't mates? E.g., trapping the queen or whatever.

  3. Blue,
    after 65 problems I already notice the first signs of habit-forming. That is amazing when you realize that 100k+ problems on autopilot weren't able to do the very same.

    About traps that are not mates: in the past 10 years I have missed a trap 2 times. And I still remember those. No reason for a separate scan. That is what I meant with scans are personal.

  4. Interesting point.

    Just amazing. This could be a wonderful aid.