Friday, July 27, 2012

Trial & Error

Maybe you wonder why I came up with a new element like Trial&Error. It is not an argument I have invented for the sake of arguments. It's just based on observations during problem solving. Maybe I can convince you to take it as an element in its own right. The following diagram shows a mate which you can solve by trial&error alone. No subtle idea's to be found, no logical reasoning, no pattern recognition of any importance, just try and reject a whole bunch of lines.

Black to move and mate.
You can find the solution here.

The only thing that is needed is precision and stamina.
This problem shows that T&E is an element in its own right. This means that it can and probably should be trained by a separate method. I asociated it with Troyis. You must be able to move the pieces in your head at lightning speed in order to cover all the possible lines. That is a distinct skill.


  1. Not at all easy! With hindsight, the heuristic required here is that of getting the R into the attack. No other first move does this. It is then possible to reason out the moves one by one. Analysing the whole solution before making the first move would be very difficult here.

  2. @BK,
    I think that trial & error should be the preferred thoughtprocess for attacking chess problems. Trial being the automatic probing while error is the conscious decision "is this going anywhere?"

    I can't imagine that learning more geometrical patterns by heart will have much influence on the efficiency of this process. There are simply way too much possibilities and you can't cover them all. As you saw in this example.

    On the other end of the spectrum, logical thinking can be converted into logical patterns probably. Since tactics imply a definite result, the amount of logical patterns will be finite.

    Patterns like: now I must the king prevent from escaping. Now I must look for an invasion square. Now I must look for removal of the gard. Now must I make a quiet move, can his pieces interfere my attack.

    All these logical patterns you will find over and over again. Those can be learned by heart. So you don't have to think anymore which way to go or what to look for.