Saturday, April 30, 2011

The last frontier

Board vision and tactical vision is being dealt with. That leaves one topic to be investigated:

"Visualization – The ability to keep track of where all the pieces are (and “see” them as a position) as you move the pieces in your head, analyzing future possibilities" (NM Dan Heisman).

I isolate the following 3 topics:
  1. The current position.
  2. The transition to a future position
  3. The future position
1 The current position.
The current position has features that are manifest and that are not manifest.
The first thing to do is to identify the manifest features.
  • Board vision is meant to see what the pieces are currently doing.
  • Tactical vision is an aid to see which tactical elements are present.
  • Time by geometry. See an old post of mine how time manifests itself as geometry on the chessboard. Geometry as a method to look in the future
All these techniques reveal a bit of the forseeable future.
After these 3 points have revealed a few features we start to probe the position by making moves in the mind. Some call that forward chaining, I believe.
This probing process reveals what I have called triggers somewhere.The triggers trigger a cue to a chunk. A feature that you didn't see before. Often this leads to backwards thinking. You see a tactical pattern but it doesn't work. Can you find a forcing route to make it work? See a post about backwards thinking.
All this is about manifest features. There are unmanifest features too. Those you can't see in the current position. These features are unmanifest in the diagram.

Black to move.

In the diagram above you can't decide on 1. ... Rxg3 above 1. ... fxg3 based on the manifested features. There is no justification for that. The justification for Rxg3 lies in the features of the position that aren't manifest yet. You have to look in the future.

2. Transition to a future position.
At some moment you must decide on one or more moves to create a future position. What are the elements here?
  • A candidate list. A list with the most promising moves. Some sort of CCT seems to fit here. The point is, the branch from one position to another must be forcing. If there is no CCT, there is no force. If there is no forcing possible, the position is quiescent. In quiescent positions there are, by definition, no tactics. If there are no tactics, there is no reason to calculate. So essentially it is about a method of pruning lines. Which is a relief for STM.
  • Hierarchy. Somehow you must decide on which branch is the most promising.
  • Evaluation?
  • Recognition of quiescense.

3. The future position.
All the skills you need in a current position are needed in a future position too.
But there are a few additional problems to overcome too.
  • You have to "see" the future position without using STM for it.
  • You must not only see the pieces, but the squares they are covering too. The "radiation" of the pieces.
The question is: how far should this visualization go. Must you litterally "see" the future position?


  1. "If there are no tactics, there is no reason to calculate."
    If there are no tactics, then there are strategical or positional things to do. They need calculation too.
    If you dont clculate and choose the wrong strategy you are lost.
    I would say: you need a list of possible strategy's, then you find candidate moves fitting these strategy, calculate and choose the
    best move. Sometimes you find a move good for several possible strategys, then this is a multy-purpose-move.

  2. @Aox
    When there are no CCT, there are no forcing moves. When there are no forcing moves, the amount of possibillities is too big to be able to calculate them. Hence you must make moves based on general considerations. By definition.

  3. ehhh, if this thoughtprocess works for you...

    There are more than just tactical pattern to learn, here a nice example:

    With your new tactical visions you should be better at CTS, CT or OTB. Any "second" experience?

    I have a weakness in "attraction" so i did some easy CT-Attraction-Tactics but i add some decoy of CT-ART and some Renko-tactics. I will stay with "Attraction" for quite a while, till its a big strength of mine. I can monitor the progress by the changes in the CT - Rated Tactical Motif Performance. I think in a few hundret jears i should be master ;-)

  4. @Aox,
    ehhh, if this thoughtprocess works for you...

    Sorry that I write so incomprehensible apperently.
    So far nothing works for me. I'm just investigating the consequences of NM Heisman's idea's by stretching them to the limit. With these words you are saying you do not agree with him. Why not?

  5. With your new tactical visions you should be better at CTS, CT or OTB. Any "second" experience?

    Give me a year.

    Thx for the link! I will have a look at it soon.