I don't have the feeling that my idea about guidance comes across very well. Let me try another angle of attack.
First I want to make one point very clear. I don't have anything against speedtraining. As a matter of fact, at this very moment I do speedtraining of the overworked piece tactic with a low rated problemset at Chess Tempo at moments when I'm too lazy to think for myself. It works and it should be trained.
But don't let the results of this interfere with the results of guidance, since that is quite a different animal. First you should read this little story.
What did I learn from this? The mind is protected against cognitive overload by context restraints. You will only find those patterns which match the actual context. I looked for two hours at the position for a positional clue (I had not invented "No DIY" yet) without noticing the mate in 3. After the context was changed, I recognised the mate within 20 seconds. So the patterns for the mate were familiar enough.
The 2200-2300 rated problems with 1-4 moves are only difficult for us due to a limited context. The context limits the patterns we can recognize. No matter how well the patterns are automated.
Remember the words of Munich:
Still, in the very fist puzzle (with the distraction theme) I only considered the check ...Rf8+, but not the check ...Bg3+. Nevertheless it is good to be able to find 35 checks/ minute instead of 6 or 7 checks per minute (the value I started with when I did the check-training).
This is an example of context-restraint pattern recognition.
Now what am I trying to accomplish with that guidance stuff? A checklist with logical questions guides you through the right context. It protects you from cognitive overload by restraining the patterns to be recognized by their relevance to the context. The mind is beautyfully organized!
Did you notice that whenever the context is changed by a hint that you slap your head and recognize the relevant patterns at once? Not only are you able to recognize the patterns, but you are able to visualize them too.
Take for instance this position from a video of GM Rowson (see diagram).
White to move and win (that's a context!)
Rowson couldn't solve this problem within 20 minutes. He complained that he suffered from a cognitive overload. There are just way too many possibilities, even with only 4 pieces!
You can formulate a few concepts that will limit the amount of possibilities. For instance:
- A check is always safe.
- Pinning the pawn is always safe.
- Covering the promotion square is safe when the king doesn't protect that square too.
- If you can put your queen on c1 there is time to approach with your king
- The same is true when you can force the black king towards c1
- Beware of stalemate with the king on a1 and the queen taking c2
- Mate enters the equation when you can win tempo's for advancing the white king towards the 3rd file.
- Some mates allow promotion.
- Beware of minor promotion to knight.
1.Qd5 Ke3 2.Qg2 c1=Q 3.Qg5 wins the queen.
This gives you a bit of an idea how guidance by concepts works. How it diminishes the cognitive overload. How it enhances the visualization. And that even grandmasters are lost in a position with only 4 pieces due to cognitive overload if they lack a concept.
You might argue "yeah, but I remembered the problem xyz so I could solve problem abc. So there is no difference between a concept and a pattern in the sense that they both provide the cues for remembering how to solve the problem." Well, that's true. But don't nihilize the importance of context and its restraining effects on pattern recognition. You need these restraints to prevent you from cognitive overload but at the same time they must not exclude relevant patterns. You can't steer that by pattern recognition alone. You need logical reasoning for that.
My checklist has now 136 questions of which about the half are about tactics and half about positional play. I'm going to test the tactical questions against a high rated problemset.