## Wednesday, February 16, 2011

### Scandrills

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What are the kind of tasks that are suitable for microdrills? What are the tables of multiplication, chesswise?
• The task must be related to calculation.
• The task must be simple. Ideal is that they are as complex as 1 fact. That square overthere is e4 is an example of a fact. That piece is under attack is another.
After some experiments is seems to me that vision-related scans are the most suitable. That are simple tasks like scanning the board for pieces under attack, pieces that are undefended etc.. As Uwe pointed out, if there is tactical vision there must be other visions too like strategical vison, positional vision etc.. Of course he is right. Every vision is related to simple facts. Every simple fact can be scanned for. Every scan can be turned into a scandrill. For instance:
Point out in random given positions:
• Which pieces are under attack.
• Which pieces are undefended.
• Which pieces can deliver check.
• Which squares are suitable for an outpost.
• Which squares are suitable for invasion.
• Which pawns are weak.
• Etcetera.
Fritz 12 has implemented the first 3 of these trainings. Matching the "board vision" as pointed out by NM Dan Heisman. At first these drills seem trivial. But when I started with one of them, I could only point to 8 attacked pieces per minute at average! Imagine that!
If I have only 3 minutes at average in a slow game and I can only point out 8 pieces under attack per minute, it becomes clear why I am so lousy at calculation. Being so slow means that the task is done by the wrong part of the brain. If I am so slow with all these kinds of scans (I am) I must suck at chess (I do). In some positions it took me two minutes to find out what I missed. See diagram for one of the many examples. Here I thought that pinned pieces could attack something. What they can't of course.

1. IMHO The easiest microdrills to learn are..... *drum rolls* .... in the endgame.

If you can confidently know how to play:
a) Lucena Position
b) Karstedt's draw
c) Philidor Position
d) Back Rank Defense
e) How to mate a long king with Bishop and Knight

Keep doing it until you can achieve those with your eyes closed.

If you have these principles down pat, your endgame technique will improve. And because your endgame technique improves, you have more options for your middlegame and this usually brings about more ideas and better strategies.

cheerios :)

2. Tanc,
Of course these exercises are excellent. Jet, I don't consider them suitable for my method. They are too complex. They don't consist of 1 never changing fact. These are the kind of positions that are solved best by knowledge.
Further they happen not frequent enough.

The scans I propagate are usefull every move. They save you time, energy and brain resources every move!

3. "If I have only 3 minutes at average in a slow game and I can only point out 8 pieces under attack per minute, it becomes clear why I am so lousy at calculation."

It is not tha-a-t bad at an real game. At every move only 2 things happen, a piece vanishes form a square and a piece appear on an other square. All other 62 squares are still the same. You just have to understand ( fully ) the consequences of that move.

These drills seems to be interesting but i am not shure if they are that good/helpful or even without any "danger". Wich piece is under attack is a "drill" i do with the little children in my chessclub. They lose pieces almost every other move. To much light on an unimportant spot might be blinding for the important things?

At this moment i have a "good feeling" about my way of tactics training. But it will need a year to judge it realy, sigh.

4. The good news is in the flow of a game the positions change by a ply and you don't need to recalculate everythin

5. Question: has anyone on here ever reached a true Lucena position in a rated game. I never have had the chance in like 200 rated games and many people that have learned it and played hundreds of games have never seen one come up.

6. @Uwe,
Wich piece is under attack is a "drill" i do with the little children in my chessclub. They lose pieces almost every other move. To much light on an unimportant spot might be blinding for the important things?

To stay in tune with the metaphor: Do you think it is a good idea to exercise 17 x 23 when 3 x 4 takes you still 8 seconds to figure out?

7. "To stay in tune with the metaphor: Do you think it is a good idea to exercise 17 x 23 when 3 x 4 takes you still 8 seconds to figure out?"

Hmmm, if i would know what to do, i would be better in chess now...and would not read your blog ;-)

i think this training should be checked if its beneficial:
This Training should improve the tactical vision. I suggest to do some timecontrolled and rated tactics first and then, after the drills, redo them again to check for improvement. Microdrills with microimprovment are not thaat interesting ;-) but it might be, that after these drills you improve ( better ) at tactics?

8. The scandrills mentioned and the scandrills to be designed must improve overall calculation and vision. That comprises but is not limited to tactics (why limit the posibilities). So it suffices to measure improvement of OTB rating.

Yesterday I lost a long OTB game. I calculated a mate in six (11 ply) but I didn't see that at move five my King was in check so I could not deliver the mate at move six. In stead I lost a piece.

It's my take that if I had done the check-drill of Fritz, I had seen the check.

I agree that it doesn't matter if you see a check in 8 seconds or in 1 in a current position. But at move 6 in a calculation it might be the difference of seeing it or seeing it not.

The better you are at the simple tables of multiplication (chesswise), the easier matters are at calculating move six of a variation in your head.

But don't worry, you don't need to do the drills;) I will do them and find out if it works. I' let you know.

9. Sounds intresting but lots of information one must put in the brain while we need all the brain capacities already to come up with a good, suitable, move.

So i wonder, did your calculation not slow down when doing all this?

But then again, those questions you ask must already be ingrained in your thought proces for finding a good move. So aren't you doing double work?

10. CT,
I realize that my ravings aren't immediately clear to everybody.