Thursday, July 26, 2012

The 3 skills

Usually we talk about 2 skills when it comes to chess improvement, pattern recognition and logical reasoning. But in fact there there are 3 skills which must work harmoniously together:
  • Pattern recognition
  • Logic reasonic
  • Trial & error
Pattern recognition is typically meant for the relative simple cases (<1500).
Trial & error plus logical reasoning form a feedback loop. Trial & error is meant for probing the position and to look at lines at lightning speed. It is a bit of a Troyis-like activity.When an error is identified, logical reasoning should come up with alternatives. From these three skills, logical reasoning is the weakest link by far. Yet trial & error needs exercise as well.


  1. "Trial and error" is:
    1) Search for an Idea, thats is a pattern = search for Pattern ( = good move ) recognition
    2) Calculation, thats a pattern and you have to evaluate the calculated (final) positions, thats 100%! Pattern Recognition
    If you cant judge the final position by experience then you have to continue to calculate! That costs time.
    If you cant prune the calculation by "experience"=Memory=stored pattern then no "lightning" speed.

    Logic reasoning is a pattern but on a different level. The problems at chessity seems to me VERY logical, they seem to be constructed to force to logical reasoning.

    You reduce "pattern recognition" to recognition of tactical pattern. But the brain is a neural network, all it does is pattern recognition. Logical reasoning and so on are illusions anyway..

    Hard facts as far as i know them :
    Calculation and Reasoning can be improved ( on the cost of spending more time ) by calculation training = CT-Standard. Its possible to get more %correct but you will get slower because you will have more to do (than before).
    Speed can only be generated if you have better access to the memory, by storing more and better(insights, positions, move sequences...) and having quick access to that memory.
    Masters use more LTM.

  2. @Aox,

    Logic reasoning is a pattern but on a different level

    That's a good start.

    Logical reasoning is the weakest link by far during solving high rated problems. The reason is that the logical patterns don't just pop up in my mind. I have to think and rethink, and generally it takes 1 to 2 hours to solve a high rated problem.

    With hindsight, the formulated logic is always straightforward and simple. "my queen is under attack AND she has zero mobility THUS I must counterattack the opponents queen". There is no reason why this should not pop up immediately. Yet it takes 1-2 hours to construct the logic needed.

    The trainingsmethod I'm looking for automates exactly that. We are talking about a limited amount of generic logical patterns here.

  3. The Book "Move first, think later" says you have to find the Move first and then you may find a "reasoning" later. Masters often cant tell why a move is good. Your ideas are very much with Smirnovs trainingsideas: Small set of positional "ideas" he calls it principles, repetition of the right "thought" process... If you have a vew coins left