After a long journey of reasoning everything seems to fall in the right place. Guess what, it is much simpler than I thought. Why didn't I see it before? It is the only logical way. Patterns, concepts, visualization, speed, it is all irrelevant.
I have been analysing about 100 problems rated 2000 - 2300 at Chess Tempo. For 90% of the problems I found that my pattern recognition, my knowledge of tactical concepts and my visualization were more than sufficient to solve the problems. By far.
Yet I made mistakes often. What is the nature of those mistakes?
Take the following problem from Chess Tempo (diagram below, rated 2216).
I suggest you first try to solve it at Chess Tempo here so that my ideas will come across better. Before reading further.
Black to move.
There are only 4 moves in a row which you must make correctly. None of these are hard to find. None of them is illogical. None of them requires more than a mediocre ability to visualize. Yet it is easy to go astray. Since every move has reasonable looking alternatives. People at CT found 14 different suboptimal moves. Moves that change the outcome of the game to the worse.
So the real problem is to learn to choose between two or more reasonable looking moves. I apply the following trainingmethod now:
- I work on a subset of problems at CT with a rating between 2000 and 2300.
- I don't use a clock.
- I try to find the solution for some time. For no other reason then to find the problems I can't solve.
- I use a checklist with questions I ask myself about the position.
- I look up the solution.
- I formulate why I didn't find the correct solution myself.
- I formulate a question I should ask myself in order to guide my thoughtprocess the next time.
- I put the question on the list.