Why do I think there is a relation between visualization and concepts? You can find the position that caused the revelation here.
Why do I think that you should start with the solution and not with the problem? The main reason is that you can find no new things in your own mind within a reasonable time. Since there are only old things in your mind by definition. New things have to come from outside.
Remember that I'm talking here about people who have quite some tactical exercises under the belt. Who have gained 250 points by tactical exercises and stall. Myself for instance.
Of course you try to find the solution yourself first in order to create some emotional bond with the solution which helps to make more impression on your brains. But you should not ransack your mind for new knowledge which isn't there. That's simply a waste of time.
Of course it is just an invitation to not spill your time by an "experience expert of wasting time". Feel free to decline.
Low level concepts.
The concepts I formulated in the example position in my post about concept-guided-visualization are of little use. They are not general enough. In order to be useful the concepts you are looking after should be usable in a whole bunch of positions. You can find an example position here.
I cite the concepts:
- When I move the king it must attack something if possible
- I must not interfere with the communications of the rooks
- I must not put my king on an open file that my rooks may need later
- I must not give a chance for a skewer.
High level concepts.
Once I investigated bishop sacrifices at f7 in an uncastled king position. I formulated a scheme of concepts for this sacrifice.
White plays Bxf7+.
There are a few concepts:
- Most of the time there are 3 pieces which play in tandem. The bishop, the knight on f3 and the queen. So the question is: can they follow up.
- Without the queen you can't mate, usually.
- Square e6 is only covered by f7, so after the sacrifice it is an unprotected invasion square for the knight.
- There are the following ways for this sacrifice to be succesful:
- The king gets mated on the backrank,
- the king is driven out of his shelter towards g6 and mated out in the open. (Or black has to give material back to prevent it)
- The black Queen and King are forked with a white knight at e6
- The black queen gets lost due to lack of an escape route (via c7 to a5, for instance)
- The black queen can escape, but must give up the protection of c7, so the rook on a8 is lost (Bxf7+, Ng5+, Ne6, Nxc7, Nxa8)
- if the black queen escapes via the a5-d8 diagonal can it be trapped there?
- if the black queen escapes via a5 has it counterplay there?
- if the black queen escapes via e8, g6 has it counterplay against the white king via Qxg2?
- if you can win the rook at a8, can you free the knight?
So John Watson is right, there are no rules in chess. We call them concepts and you have to check if they actually work in the position at hand indeed.
Every opening has its grand schemes. Usually they are more positionally than tactically decisive, but specific tactics play a role, of course. I imagine a dragonplayer to be a person who studies 6 exchange sacrifices on c3 before breakfast.
The preconditions of Vukovic for a kingside attack are another example of a useful grand scheme.
Low level concepts versus grand schemes of concepts.
There is no real conflict here. We summarize facts in generic low level concepts and we summarize low level concepts into generic grand schemes.
Can we say something about the frequency of occurence?
The low level concept "put your pieces not in each others way" is applicable many times per game while the high level bishop sacrifice I described has to be considered only a few times per year, depending on the opening you play. The preconditions of Vukovic you have to consider once per game, at most. Low level concepts do happen more often than a specific combination of low level concepts (= a high level concept). So I think we have to focus on low level concepts.
I think we should try to make use of the fact that concepts have the property that they can guide visualisation. The power of visualization is that it is necessary for calculation. Since calculation is only necessary when there are tactics and forcing moves around, it is logical to focus on the formulation of concepts in tactical positions. I even think this is the fundament under the supertrick I'm always talking about.
Which is not the same as saying that we should neglect positional concepts.
When we talk about chess knowledge and transfer we are usually talking about high level concepts. Since high level concepts have a low frequency of occurence, there is the problem that they do not pop up when we need them. I have no ready method to fix this problem, but I think that we avoid it when focussing on low level concepts with a high frequency of occurrence. (Pfeww, that was an easy way out!)
In the past time I have been busy with installing a new computer and some geological stuff, so I haven't exercised all that much. To make it up with you I will devote a few posts to tactical positions and conceptbuilding, so you and I will know what I'm talking about. Let's see if my figments can withstand publicity.
BTW, since short there is an annoying underlining under text I write in blogger or gmail.
Probably due to a dutch spellingchecker checking english texts. Has anyone an idea how to stop unvoluntary invoked spellingcheckers?
Especially for the Bright Knight: