Thursday, August 23, 2012

Transfer between problems

Black to move.
You can find the solution here.

I had written down all relevant tactical elements perfect. I checked this afterwards.
Yet I couldn't find the first move.
1. ... Rd5
Since I underestimated the trouble white is in after this move.

The reason for this post is that this raises a question.
To make an exercise fruitfull, I must take something from it with me to the next problems. Otherwise this is a waste of time. But in this specific case, what is it that I must encode in memory?
Is it a pattern, a chunk or a template? But I have written them down in little time and complete already. That I can do in the next exercises too. And it was not enough to solve this.
Is it knowledge? But what knowledge? And how is it going to be reusable?
Is it a skill? But what skill? And how do I train it?
Or something else?
Without knowing what to learn from this exercise and what to ingrain into your brains in a way that is reusable with the next problems, it is impossible to implement any kind of deliberate practice.


  1. There is the potential Pin Rc4 and the potential Fork Ne4 which would deflect the knight d2. Then a move like Rd4 is "easy"

    I think a higher rated player would not have much problems with this puzzle. Without knowing its a tactics puzzle Re4 looks like the possible best move anyway. The rook gains lots of activity, all other pieces do have a job to do.

    Silent moves are not easy to see. Usually you try to make something work, then you try to make something else work ... and then you find the solution to prevent all of the opponents refutations: the silent move.

  2. @Aox,
    that I higher rated player would have no problem with this is a real comfort. Now I know what to do! ;)

  3. There is more to tactics then just tactics.
    Chess is about finding the best ( or at least a good ) move.
    You should try to look at tactics with an positional eye too.
    Very often the best tactical move is the best "positional" ( without calculation of movesequences ) move too. ( which is logical if you think about it )

    Sorry, cant tell you what to do. As someone with a 50% chance to solve puzzles of this rating i did want to share my "experience". After a break of 2 years with hard rated standard problems i did solve a few of them again and i gained a standard rating of 2249, this is almost precise the rating of this puzzle.

    I would suggest a quiet move training...

  4. This is not really a good advise, but rather interesting observation:
    If you place a white piece on the square d4, so that Rd4 is a Rxd4 move, it becomes a little bit more easy.

    How to encode it in you memory?

    --> Hm. Maybe it could help to know similar puzzles like the following one? (If you encode this one, then you will have found at least a part of your question):

    I hope it helps.

  5. @Aox,
    so you already make good moves then!
    The only thing that is left to do is to speed it up. Deliberate practice means in this case that you find out what it is exactly that makes you so slow.

  6. I know from experience, that the difficulty in solving puzzles is somehow like this (from easy to difficult):

    The solutional move is

    - a capture that gives check
    - a check
    - a capture
    - a capture that threatens mate
    - a check mate threat carried out by a piece that is attacked anyway and hence has to move anyway otherwise it would get lost
    - a check mate threat by a n.ot t.hreatened p.iece (= n.t.p.)
    - a threat to capture (by n.t.p.)
    - a threat to do a discovery double check (by n.t.p.)
    - a threat to do a discovery check (ntp)
    - a threat to pin, to fork, to skewer, to discover, to capture (ntp)
    - a threat that involves all other tags than the previously mentioned. (ntp)

    So your puzzle is in the 2nd most difficult kind of puzzles, so I am not surprised that it is rather high rated.

    Of course this ranking is just a rule by thumb.
    There are other rules, too:
    Number of moves required to solve the puzzle, number of patterns screaming all at the same time of you (misleading patterns), backward and sideway moves, moves that require a good board vision (bishops hidden in the far oposite corner), and maybe some more I just could not think of at the moment?

    All this just explains why a puzzle is difficult, but it does not really solve the question how to encode (learn) the essence of some puzzles like the bespoken one here.

    One trouble it has is that the quiet move threats the pin is not the only forcing move.
    Also it is unusual for a rook to get into the middle of the board and then to do a side move.

    I guess that is the crack of it anyway - a sideway move of a rook which you would not place in the middle in the first place, because rooks dont belong into the center.
    Somehow the guidance rule "dont move your rooks into the center" is what makes you blind for such threats.
    Nevertheless, I would say it is a good guidance rule. Because such rules are selecting good moves.
    We humans have a highly selective search algorythm, seldom exceeding more than 100 nodes. So it is very important to seperate good moves from bad moves. It makes us prone to overlook moves like this nice rook sideway move, but that is probably outweight by 100 other puzzles where your guidance rule is improving your search algorythm.

  7. @Munich,
    I had seen the sideways move of the rook (I had listed all tactical elements before hand) but a quick look at b3 convinced that white was ok. I didn't realize that the ensuing 2. ... Qe2 is so strong.
    Another strong point of Rd4 is that it frees the black knight from the pin it was in. I had seen the individual tactical elements perfectly well and complete. Yet I wasn't able to make a combination of it.

    After a lengthy discussion with mr.Z we decided that it is understanding what I must try to take with me from this position to the next. So I will work it out in an elaborate narrative first.

  8. Understanding =~ WM =~ chunks
    Mabye the number of tactical elements was bigger than 7?

    If you look only at the "used" tactical elements of this puzzle it becomes "easy". But i am afraid that you have to find the "used" elements by testing all possible combinations. That is "hard"

    Here a very simple puzzle ( almost no pieces ) with some related tactical elements

  9. Understanding =~ WM =~ chunks

    That is the task to accomplish indeed. The amount of tactical elements was average for these kind of problems.