Thursday, December 01, 2011

From man to man

Munich said:

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).

Actually, you (Temposchlucker) found out what is the hypothesis of aoxomoxoa: difficult puzzles are made of several easy patterns. While an easy-easy puzzle contain often just 1 simple tactic, an "easy"-difficult puzzle often contain 2 or more easy-easy puzzle tactic ideas (remember my 2+2 = 4 equation?). Here the hypothesis of aox again, see point 5 & 9

 Of course being able to recognize 728 knightforks in 1 minute is better than 7 per minute. And if you want to do repetitions until mortgage foreclosure, be my guest.

I don't deny the importance of that. Everything what is said about that still stands today. But I suggest kindly to don't let that make you to miss the points I'm trying to make.

First of all you must realize that the patterns that make you miss problems are not tactical patterns at all. It are the patterns that live in the shadow of their famous brothers. It are the patterns with no name. It are the invisible patterns during normal play.

Only by deduction I was able to prove their very existence. Don't be blinded by their famous brothers! You can see them but you must make an effort to do so!

Where do you find those patterns? You can find them by what they instigate. Everytime you miss a problem you can deduct their existence. But they are not limited to tactical problems. Oh no! You can find them during your whole game where you make suboptimal moves.

Let's talk about the problem where you could win the queen. 413 people found the win of the queen but missed Ng6. Gotcha!! Be quick! Put the spotlights on before it escapes!

The move Ng6 attacking a loose piece can hardly be called a tactical pattern. It's just a move. Nothing new. One tempo used to attack the bishop, one tempo used to save the bishop. Happens all the time. You can hardly find a more modest move.

These almost invisible modest patterns make us loose game after game. That raises the all important question: how can we make that we don't miss those volatile patterns? The answer is: THROUGH GUIDANCE BY COMMON SENSE!

Now what is more natural than to say by yourself "okay, I have found an interesting tactic, is there some counterattack that can knock my socks off while starting the tactic?" If you ask yourself that I bet you will find Rxe7. And if you have found that, how long would it take to find the antidote when you ask yourself "Ah, is there a way to safe my knight without loosing a tempo?"

This is what I mean by its not rocket science. It is just plain common sense. Our problem is that we don't use our plain common sense. And if our moves are not even guided by plain common sense, what on earth can we expect?

Now what's the receipe?
We must train to use our plain common sense to guide our pattern recognition.
How do we do that?
By finding the places where our plain common sense fails.
How do we recognize those places?
We recognize those places by where we fail the most.
Where do we fail the most?
At high rated tactics at Chess Tempo.
Tactics, has this anything to do with tactics?
Why not easy tactics?
Since you don't fail them.
Anything special about those high rated tactics?
Yes, take those who don't go deeper than 4 moves.
To prevent you from failing by lack of visualization or STM overload.
What about speed?
You can't speed up your common sense as long as you don't use it.
What about repetition?
Eat your heart out.


  1. Me Munich:
    You wrote:
    >Now what's the receipe?
    >We must train to use our plain
    >common sense to guide our pattern
    >How do we do that?
    >By finding the places where our >plain common sense fails.
    >How do we recognize those places?
    >We recognize those places by >where we fail the most.
    >Where do we fail the most?
    >At high rated tactics at Chess >Tempo.
    I agree that we find them in puzzles that we fail.
    >Where do we fail the most?
    >At high rated tactics at Chess >Tempo.
    This is true. Since high rated tactics consist of several such "places" (I call them patterns/concepts/themes), it is enough to fail 1 of these places.
    Let's do easy maths:
    The probability to find the correct answer for an easy puzzle is 90% (which has 1 pattern).
    The probability to find a different other easy puzzle is also 90% (it has a different pattern, but also just 1 pattern).

    The probability to find both answers correct is 0.90 x 0.90 = 0.81 = 81%. See? the probability to solve the puzzles are getting down the more patterns they contain!
    Now to speed:
    To find an easy puzzle within 7 seconds is 30%.
    To find 2 easy puzzles within 7 seconds each the probability is:
    0.3x0.3 = 0.09 = 9%.
    Assuming that a puzzle that contains 2 patterns at the same time is more than twice as difficult we might argue that we could even lower these 9% --> resulting in a very difficult puzzle.

    In the "win the queen" puzzle I had a long look to find the queen trap (40 seconds, probability is 90% to find this easy idea). I used my common sense to look out of any anti-tactics my opponent could do to me.
    I had a very short look at various moves. Each maybe 5 seconds. I did look at RxNe7 which sacrifices the exchange. I thought "well, then I am the exchange up". But I missed, that my knight on c6 is overloaded. If I take the rook, then the queen is not trapped anymore.
    Back to probability maths:
    queen-trap idea 90%
    overloading counter tactic 30%
    --> results in 27% chances to find this puzzle. However, I assume that this is only valid for 2 easy tactics in a row, but not if it is 2 in 1. It is simple maths anyway; we don’t have the exact numbers to calculate the probabilities.
    This is my very point: we need to train the underlying patters to see them fast. Because if we don’t spot them instantly, we wont spot them in side-variations. Variations hidden in the dark, because we do consider these side-lines, but we don’t spend much time on them.

    And it is not true, that you find the hidden patterns just in the difficult hard puzzles. You can find them in easy puzzles, too.
    OK, you will hardly fail an easy puzzle, but it can happen. And these seldom fails are worth a lot.
    So the conclusion is not, that we need to look at difficult puzzles because we fail them, but the conclusion is the other way round:
    We find these "places" in puzzles we failed. It doesn’t matter if they were easy or difficult puzzle. As long as you failed them, you found a "place" you did not know. Within a difficult puzzle you are married with patterns you already do know well. So training them might waste some time on the known patterns, too.
    It is true, it doesnt make sense to do easy puzzle we can do. It makes only sense to do easy puzzles we fail. And I include easy puzzles, I could do, but could not do "fast". They are less valuable than the puzzles I failed, but a long solving time is not so good, too.
    If I had spotted the queen trap faster, I would not have been so mad to move b6-b5 within 9 seconds, because I knew it was a difficult puzzle, so I would have spend more time on the counter tactics. But since finding the queen trap idea was a bit difficult (I needed some time), it made me feel more secure that I found the “crack” of the puzzle. So my long solving time in finding the queen-trap-idea is another cause why I failed the puzzle.

  2. These so called quiet moves tempo is talking about the hardest elements to find. A puzzle with the sequence tactical,quiet,tactical is infinitely harder than a simple 3 move tactical exercise with a forced sequence.
    I think these moves are the results of a pretty hard reasoning in a tactical context, which is very hard to do if you have your tactical hat on (or any of your hats) especially in a visualized environment, not a trivial problem.

    " Botvinnik said: It shows I need to perfect my play of two-move variations."


  3. I would say the missed move Ne7-g6 is not a difficult move. You need to see the overloading of the Nc6 (which covers Ne7).
    Tempo is right if he says that theses difficult puzzle are somehow easy. It isnt so head breaking difficult if you simple would have reasoned correct.
    Or how I want to put it: if you had seen the easy tactic that after 1.RxNe7 Nxe7 the a7 pawn is not protected anymore and that can be taken by the white queen which we actually wanted to trap. I am not sure about other solvers, but of course I thought about RxNe7 and believed that I am then the exchange up. I was angry about myself that I did not see that afterwards I lose my a7 pawn. Once you see the overloaded Nc6 I believe the move Ng6 is comming very quickly into your mind.
    But you wont see the overloading, because the Ne7 looks well guarded (bQ and bNc6 guards it), and you wont spend a lot of thinking time into the variation RxNe7. Why would you not spend much time on it? --> Because it loses the exchange and the knight is well guarded. You wont look more than 5 seconds into that branch in your tree of variations. Maximum 10 seconds. If you have not trained this kind of tactic (overloadings and distractions) or dont know it so good. Otherwise it is possible to "solve" that part of the tactic within 5-10 seconds and that will very likely result in getting the puzzle correct. You wont have much time for reasoning other than: "o.k. after I played 1.b6-b5 - is there any anti-tactic my opponent can do to me?"
    And this reasoning is not the cause of the failure of this puzzle. I believe most players did this reasoning, checked (amongst other moves) also Rxe7 (for 5-10 seconds), but believed it will simply win the exchange as a minimum.
    If you say you are able to solve most simple puzzles of the underlying patterns - yes this is true.
    But it is equally true, that most players where looking for "anti-tactics" that could disturb the queen winning motive. So why did we fail the puzzle? Because 5 seconds to look at RxNe7 is not enough for most of us.
    You wont be able to make better judgements which branch in the tree of variations you should invest more time to think. I believe all you can do is: make sure you can solve these simple tactics within very short time. Because if you cant - chances are you wont see it. Unless you go over and over and over again through all variations. Than, after 1 hour of thinking, you will realize the anti-tactic RxNe7 - and then once you found the anti-tactic idea, I would bet it wont take many more minutes till you dare to attempt to solve it.

    I am leaving to the Caribbean soon for some time (escaping the winter), which will likely result in much less internet activity.
    But what I will do is: whenever I spot and remember an easy puzzle I will post it and match it to the difficult puzzles of tempo. I am not explicitly searching for them - I simply remember tempo when I come across them. That is the way it works. It works in both directions: I match CT puzzles during my game (= I remember CT puzzles), and during my CT puzzles I match the CT puzzles with my games (= I remember games. Or Tempos difficult puzzles).
    And I match CT puzzles I never encountered (CT puzzles with higher rating) with CT puzzles I trained, which explains my CT Blitz rating gains.