Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dissecting CCT

3 area's.
There are 3 area's of improvement to investigate:
  • Board vision
  • Tactical vision
  • Visualisation of the tree of analysis (ToA).
For the first two area's I have developed a method and I have proven that the method works. Based on the statistics of one game:)
High time to investigate the third area of improvement.

Visualization of the ToA.
When it comes to managing the ToA the kind of tasks involved are split in two separate area's of investigation:
  • Branches - Visualisation
  • Nodes - List of candidate moves
Due to the make up of the mind these are processed in different ways. The conscious brain is only suitable for a sequential or serial processing of topics. A branch without nodes is an example of a sequentially organized object.

The conscious mind isn't able of multitasking or parallel processing. Only the unconscious mind can do that. When it comes to handling the nodes, our conscious mind runs into trouble. When there is no unconscious recognition of the solution triggered by board vison or tactical vision, conscious guidance is needed, though. So we must emulate a parallel process by serial means.

List of candidate moves.
When you arrive at a node, there are mutiple possibilities to go forward by definition. At a node you have to make a list of candidate moves. Take for instance the following diagram:

Black to move.

What we know for sure is that the move we are looking for is a CCT.
  • 1. ... Nf2+
  • 1. ... Qg1+
  • 1. ... Re1+
  • 1. ... Nxb2
  • 1. ... Qxb2
  • 1. ... Qxc4
  • 1. ... Qxd5
  • 1. ... fxg3
  • 1. ... Rxg3
  • 1. ... Ne1
  • 1. ... Nb4
  • 1. ... Ne5
  • 1. ... Qf2
  • 1. ... Qc3
  • 1. ... Re2
On the one hand CCT got rid of quite a few lines that must be going nowhere since, well, they start with a move that is not a CCT. Like 1. ... Re3 for instance.
On the other hand, CCT has introduced a lot of garbage moves on the candidate list too.

Adding logical reasoning.
It is hard to believe that Heisman insist on investigating garbage moves, so I think that it is allowed to weed out the list a bit further by adding some logical reasoning.

In a position like this, I must do either one of the following:
  • Mate the white king OR
  • Capture the bishop OR
  • Save the knight
Which shortens the list to:
  • 1. ... Nf2+
  • 1. ... Qg1+
  • 1. ... Re1+
  • 1. ... Nxb2
  • 1. ... fxg3
  • 1. ... Rxg3
  • 1. ... Ne1
  • 1. ... Nb4
  • 1. ... Ne5
At this point, CCT cannot help me to choose between these moves. It only gives me a hierarchy so I know in which order to investigate the moves.

The only tool I have to decide between the candidate moves is to visualize the branches. Once I have found a promising branch, I must try to falsify it by looking at all the CCT moves of my opponent as an answer.

  • CCT eliminates non promising lines.
  • CCT adds garbage lines.
  • Logical reasoning removes a few garbage lines.
  • Visualise the branches.
  • Once a promising line is found, try to falsify by looking at CCT moves of your opponent.
So CCT must become the core of the thoughtprocess, but visualisation will still separate the boys from the men.


  1. .For the first two area's I have developed a method and I have proven that the method works. Based on the statistics of one game:)

    I did some "attraction exercises": Very easy tactics at CT and some CT-Art, and i did improve in "Attraction" and "Distraction" at the "Rated Tactical Motif Performance" - Blitz. ( small statistic too but not thaaaaat small ;-). I was weak in "Attraction" and i try to make it a strength. I wonder if i get weak at other Tactical Motifs? Of couse i hope not!

    Visualization of the ToA.

    You try to think like a computer. I think Kotov is wrong. I think it is necessary to "analyse" the position first without looking for moves. "Whats going on?". Material Balance, ... With the last moves of my opponent i guess what he wants to do or what he wants me not to do... I try to see where are the problems for me and him/her, Try to detect weaknesses..., try to find plans and then i look for candidate moves..
    One of the strongest players of my club told me, that he is looking at EVERY possible move for a moment.

    "In a position like this, I must do either one of the following:
    Mate the white king OR
    Capture the bishop ORSave the knightWhich"

    OR you look for an other big thread, as Silman says: follow your own agenda to keep the initiative. Something like 1...Qxb2 must be checked to see it dont work.

    One problem of black position: the knight is hanging. One Problem of white: the king cant move. Blacks Rooks and Queen are very activ and have many squares... With a solid analysis the best move is easyser to see:
    RxBg3 gaining a piece protects the knight opens evantually the h-line for the rook at e1 or the Queen...

  2. Hi Tempo,

    I didn't study either of them, but Agaard wrote an entire book on calculation and Daniel King devoted one of his Power play DVD's on the subject. Aren't you curious to counter-check or supplement you prelimary conclusions on this subject with one of these?

  3. By the way, the article http://www.sahklube4.hr/1.pdf
    that Axoa referred to is quite shocking in my humble opinion. It states that the talent for spatial vision is not an advantage for chess playing! But... to what extend is the ability to drill skills related to ones 'talent' for spatial vision?

  4. @Aox,

    You try to think like a computer.

    No, I'm trying to follow Heismans advice.

    OR you look for an other big thread, as Silman says: follow your own agenda to keep the initiative. Something like 1...Qxb2 must be checked to see it dont work.

    Not OR. Possibly AND.
    The given order is the most logical. If you have found a good move and you have time left, you can decide to look at the remaing threats.

    With a solid analysis the best move is easyser to see:
    RxBg3 gaining a piece protects the knight opens evantually the h-line for the rook at e1 or the Queen...

    The difference betweenn fxg3 and Rxg3 can be found only by visualisation of the branches. Which happens to be the point I wanted to make.

  5. @papa,
    I read Kotov, Nunn and Agaard about the ToA. All made good points.

    But they all suffer from the same problem: they have become good at chess at a young age and don't know how they did it. So I'm afraid that in the end we have to think for ourselves.

    Within a few days I intend to devote a post to the article you are referring to.

  6. There are different thinking technics. I like the ones of ICS, Silman and Smirnov ( they differ ):

    by GM Igor Smirnov:
    "Understanding of the general ideas will help us in the calculation also, (because we are not the computers and we cannot calculate all the lines). That’s why we need to calculate only the logical moves, which will provide the right plans.
    During the game we should think about the position in general first, then start to calculate the concrete variations.
    To find all the candidate-moves, I recommend you to focus the attention on every single piece, starting from the king, then queen, rooks, bishops, knights, pawns.

    you should calculate all the forcing moves, even if they look bad for the first sight. "

    ( These are the CCT's )

    In a game you dont know if the Best move is a CCT.

  7. If this methode works for you and you do not have problems to implement it in your thoughtproces (each time you have to come up with a move) then this system can help you a great deal to make that next jump forwards.

  8. http://etd.lib.fsu.edu/theses/available/etd-07142008-152522/unrestricted/RoringRDissertation1.pdf

  9. CCT- you are revving up to another theoretical failure. As if you try to describe a picture that is in 3d color in 2d monochrome. Won't help, can't do it. You have done this in the past. Chess isn't simple. Stop trying to force simple solutions on it IT WONT WORK. It'd work if you are around 1300, then it's ok to give some general advice which spurs thinking and the time you reach 1600 you think this is it. Later you find out it isn't. Around 2000? Are you kidding? You work there with finer a finer and more specific things far far further from the general. I have nothing bad to say about dissecting analysis, calc etc, those are legitimate ideas. Push there. Heisman writes for semi beginners.

  10. Anon,
    I must insist on my right to fail. Otherwise I must believe you on your word which I consider to be much worse.

    You work there with finer a finer and more specific things far far further from the general.

    You are a romanticist, right? Good grief, we are talking about KIDS here that beat you and me.

  11. I bet those KIDS don't use CCT anyway. I don't think I'm a romantic I copy pasted your whole blog and read it over more than one time. The first file was 400kb+ I think I managed to simplify it to around 100 kb. Very often I reflect on your findings and I think you saved me enormous time. But you aren't fan of your own blog.
    I sent you a letter explaining my experience on how kids learn so the argument about them does not impress me in any shape.
    I suggest you follow the day one of these "prodigies" and see what they do. Oh, you can't, you have work and life and wife? I think you are familiar with the Polgars. Read his book about their upbringing for QED. (polgars also did not use CCT)

    (maybe explaining is a bit insulting here, I respect your intelligence more than you think -If you find the letter, I must apologize I was a bit sloppy (some facts) writing it.)

    Chess is intricate, period. That doesn't mean it must not be dissected into elements. But forcing helpless concepts on it? As your last post explains, you are confident enough to claim you improved over scientific papers.You did read them, so did I. You did experiment with the concepts, put in very hard work. + Respect. What makes you think you aren't above this heisman lobotomy already? Go back and think about SYSTEMS. Think on your own feet you do that well. Sorry for the critical tone I hope you see beyond it.

    I must add something here. Yesterday I played starcraft and tried to explain something to my brother who is a beginner as I watched his game. There was a clearly bad situation he run into without seeing :
    1. Immediate consequences: Losing all his mobile army + space
    2. Strategical cons: He must give up the map, losing map control, he must rebuild consuming up his resources also time, he must be on the defensive until he can attempt to go out again, giving the opponent time and opportunity to secure more resources to build a bigger+ techier army. This chain of thought crossed my mind in one sec, BEFORE any exchange took place. I recognized the characteristics, his attacking army's configuration, the placement of his units and the opponent's,the terrain, even considered his skill level, and recognized he goes into a butchery. To give picture about the speed, Before I could say NO! he launched his attack and got massacred 60% of his army before I managed to pull out the rest. It made me think about recognizing and reacting to signs. Maybe a professional player would see other things there, over me. He may spot a particular detail and have the necessary practiced ability to solve that situation with an attack despite all of this. He could explain this to me, as I explained it to my brother, who said it is terribly difficult to comprehend. For me it is simple and fast, and a child could do it. Familiar, eh?
    The interesting thing, I can also explain it. My cusin also plays sc, he can't. He just saw this, and said " that's stupid, you should not attacked there. - Why? "It's bad." My cousin learned this game by practicing a lot. I practiced more and know the whys also. I watched professional games and tried to imitate them, he used try and fail, a long chain of guesses. I am by far the better player but I don't think it is because I can explain whys. But this situation was as clear for him as for me.
    Kids use their eyes to recognize things from birth, they don't bother with theorizing. Eventually they practice enough under supervision to cross the street,learn with rigor that it is wrong to be run over by a car, so you have to prepare for the car, you have to recognize the car's speed etc. Later they will decide to stay, walk or run , they compare the situation with their abilities and their experience within a second.

    Sorry for this long post ;-)

  12. Anon,
    yes, your tone happens to be a bit insulting now and then. I did read your letter but I did not answer it since I had the feeling that it started at the middle of a thoughtprocess. You have more on youre mind than you write down. Since I'm not para-abnormally gifted I could not guess what that is.

    About CCT: there is something very clever in it. Maybe disrespect for Heisman made you missed it? But I must agree that in the end of the day it is not going to win me much games as long as I don't solve my main problem: visualization.

    About the kids that beat you and me: look at the A-group at Tata: it are almost all kids. The 10-13-yo kids that beat me every now and then aren't playing sophisticated chess. They use a trick. And I'm busy to find out what that trick is and how I can learn my brains to do the same. And that, my friend, is pretty 2D.

  13. You are spot on in your first paragraph in every aspect. Actually I was a bit ashamed, I wont describe the actual situation because it isn't relevant but I wasn't happy the next day reading it with clearer mind. It also seems like I'm becoming a bit impatient as I grow older and don't really take my time to describe what I think in an exact fashion.

    Secondly. I did read all the heisman nooks (about a year ago), I saved 29 of them from cca 100. Just before I have written this I revisited "the seeds of tactical destruction" which looks suspiciously similar to idea I tried to convey in my 2nd post. (btw, what if we want to prearrange with a plan/opening to reach them as a piece configuration and obstruct the opponent to achieve as many as possible before we launch the attack?) I remembered I read something similar from him. So, I should make myself clearer here too, because I came down as if I think Heisman is an idiot, but he isn't of course. Still CCT isn't my cake.
    I agree with your conclusion about visualization. It is a strong must.
    To be a bit funny, it is so important you concluded it more than once throughout the years.
    Actually I was very excited because we came to prod this calc/vis problem seriously about the same time, (February 16, 2011 Scandrills -which is a brilliant post) I started to think about it, how to dissect it (I call that decompression in my own lingo), how to practice it etc. I recognized that even if I can visualize the position in my head, I miss crucial features: "takes, takes, takes, not good it won't win anything." Then the engine says: there was a pin there after the exchanges.Ups. You described the same thing when you played that game recently where you DID recognize the future factor in visualization/calculation.

    About the kids ..They use a trick. And I'm busy to find out what that trick is and how I can learn my brains to do the same. And that, my friend, is pretty 2D.

    You will kill yourself with this idea. Now I will provide factors for your careful consideration.
    You are smarter than these kids.
    You are smarter than some of them will ever be. (ok, I can't be this confident but you are smarter than most adults, and we concluded rightly that chess != intelligence)
    You are after this "supertrick" for years. (see I remember the lingo)

  14. I did some research on the polgar sisters (they are hungarian just like me) and now some on Karjakin, and I read the Waitzkin book in 2010. They are probably good examples. Polgars learned chess every day for 6-8 hours according to a predeveloped program, Karjakin played chess from 5, then at 6 he joined a club, Waitzkin also had an IM coach renowned Bruce Pandolfini,and parental support, as his childhood rival, who's father forced the kid to play chess 8-10 hrs daily. This supertrick looks like play and study positions til nosebleed with expert guidance. Children are very single minded if they like something they put enormous time and mental effort into it without the distractions of the adult life.

    To think about the supertrick further let's go back to the topic of my 2nd post, recognizing critical factors. It is a thin ice theorising here and there but maybe you will give it a thought.
    We train children's mind to recognize and identify things. We show them cars, birds, dogs and they look at these things with awe. Most of them develop the unnerving custom to tell the adult about their discoveries with loud voice: DOG ! Yea. CAR ! Yea. ...
    Because all the things are new, their emotional feedback constantly helps their memory by nudging them to think about their subject of awe frequently. They woke up, and their first thought is x and before sleep, they wanna talk about x. They wanna discuss x in the afternoon also at lunch.
    See where this is going?

    As a side question, do you know how much time was wasted with things you tried but they did not work? If you could go back, you'd tell yourself: don't bother with that, and bumm you saved months with one sentence. That isn't supertrick, just the fact that being own's coach and player and theoretican is a very time consuming business. Kids skip all this. They aren't explorers, they are a simple copy machine with unlimited paper and tint.

    So, why there are super talents? I think now that super talent's brain works differently in the subject area and most often only in the subject area. You can't copy that and most of the time the ST don't know how and why he/she is different. But I don't think it is an issue for us, even with super talent they don't show more than a few percent edge over the rest.

    Maybe they have a constant verbal connection or something, an instant "narrative" they employ.
    Maybe they are very intent to find details. What we have to do with effort they do it customarily. Somewhere in their childhood they locked in on that type of reasoning.

    Look at my brother again with the problem of recognizing critical factors and their consequences to make necessary decisions.
    Should i tell him about the million little thing he misses? Yes.
    Will he be dramatically better because of this? I doubt that. It is so intricate but it is so simple in the same time. We can talk it over but there are too many situations and quirky details. I chunk the position, he isn't.
    He must practice the same critical situations with my help, (and I know which are the critical situations because of my experience) talk it over, and practice it again and again until he can hold all the details in his mind compressed into a single unit and manipulate the elements of it fast enough with the learned algorithm. In fact, he will decide under a second. His ability will grow according to the time he puts into it because I can dissect and identify the elements, and I am familiar with necessary practice for the ability they require.
    Clearly, his supertrick is me.

    I'm tired. This consumed 1.5 hr. Don't feel compelled to write back, (nonetheless I hope i will hear about you ) you don't asked for a book written by me. I really hope I don't wasted your time and it gave some ideas even if you don't agree 100%.