The first method is based on slow conscious learning, while the second has become known as "the salt mines". Which is based on massive repetitions at high speed, a form of unconscious learning. Conscious learning is intelligent, while unconscious learning aims at speed and precision.
The lesson learned, is that the two methods aren't mutually exclusive. I don't have to choose. Both methods of learning have their own application and complement each other. In order to understand how the two methods interact, we should extend the "learn how to drive analogy" (hat tip to Aox).
The learn how to drive analogy.
Conscious learning will learn a person how to drive a car, and to become an experienced average driver. Your performance will be limited by the natural speed and precision of your unconscious processes. If you want to become a racing driver, you need more. You need to train subtasks like shifting gears in order to do it faster and with more precision. On the other hand, you need strategies to improve the main task too, which is done by additional conscious training. Both methods of learning are needed to optimize the task as a whole.
In general we can state: conscious learning is needed when we need to add intelligence, unconscious learning is needed when we lack speed and precision.
The experienced average driver.
The big question is: what does an experienced average driver mean in chess? For me, that is a master level player. If I look at the problems at CT where I fail by making an error or using too much time, it is for 98% caused by a failure to apply plain common sense to the problem, and for 2% it is caused by a lack of visualization skills. I have solved a lot of 2000 - 2400 rated problems in the past, and that was about the same. May be a 95 : 5 % ratio or 90 : 10 %. But almost every time I solved such high rated problem, I slapped my head, after seeing that the solution was very simple in essence. Meaning, that I need to apply more intelligence to the problem, not speed or precision. Meaning, conscious training must be applied. Above 2400, the problems became more esoteric, and I was hampered by a lack of imagination or visualization skills. For which salt mines could be necessary.
What you need, is a realistic vision concerning your failures.
|How I feel when solving problems|