Finding my way in the chessdevelopment- and training jungle in order to improve my rating.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Difference between patterns and concepts
A concept is something that is totally different from a pattern. And I mean totally. A concept is created by the mind in a conscious way while a pattern is assimilated unconsciously.
In a chessgame there are way too many facts to handle for the mind. By summarizing facts into concepts, you are able to summarize thousands or even millions of similar positions into one single concept.
The weakness of pattern recognition is that it is too vulnerable for details. One pawn on a3 in stead of a2 can change the whole character of a position. That is true for every pattern. That makes it difficult to find the truth about a position by means of patterns.
Concepts are a means to simplify complex positions. It is our way to cope with a complex world. Inevitably you will loose details when simplifying matters. But that outweights the fact that it makes the game more managable. By far.
Now what are the consequences of this statement? That is easy to miss.
First of all it means that the method I was working with can't be the right one. I made an attempt to free up the strain on my STM by transferring tasks from STM to LTM. And allthough I found a method that indeed accomplishes this, this is not the final solution to the problem. After a hard and long journey I reached the end of the rainbow, but it was the wrong end again.
With concepts you summarize facts. In stead of shuffling around multiple facts in your head at lightning speed, you shuffle around a few concepts at an easy pace. Thus simulating speed for the spectators who think you are still shuffling around a vast amount of facts. The strain on the STM is lowered by summarization.
This all might seem very arbritrary but it has a huge impact on the way to study. When solving problems the emphasis is on finding the solution. With conceptbuilding you start with the solution and build from there. From this point of view, solving the problem yourself is in fact a waste of time. Especially when you solve problems under time constraints, when there is no time for evaluating the solution.
As a novice to chess, we started with very high level concepts and general rules. The longer we played, the more low level the concepts became and the more specific the rules. But somewhere in that process we became hypnotized by moves and variations. And look at us now. We are so addicted to moves and variations that we can't walk along a chesspositon without looking at the board and working out moves and variations. When that happens, we are no longer adding concepts to our repertoire.
When you evaluate a solution, you try to generalize it. When you manage to do that, you have build a concept of a generic solution. The concept is no longer applicable to the problem at hand alone, but it can be used to solve thousands of similar problems. The task of writing down a set of concepts has a lot of simularities with the Stoyko exercise. It is pretty daunting and out of your confort zone, so it is no wonder we have fallen for the easy path of contriving moves and variations instead
You can test easily if you have done your job well when building a concept. You can only visualize something of which you have a concept. So when you are able to visualize the whole solution with all its thickets you are ready to move on.
Since visualization and tactics have such a close relation, we can postulate the hypothesis that conceptbuilding will have a huge impact on tactics.
@Munich: The B-method has nothing to do with this.