Monday, June 13, 2016

Expert in failure

Besides categorizing chess puzzles according to their tactical characteristics, I try to categorize them according to the mental characteristics that are involved as well. I found the following three main categories:
  • Forgetting the vultures view
  • Sloppy calculation
  • Familiar patterns that are not familiar enough
The bulk of the failures is coming from the first two categories. These have a few subcategories in common, like being hasty, fixating on the wrong idea, doing the right move for the wrong reason and so on.

Forgetting the vultures view
The vultures view should be the first line of offence. The fact that I still forget to look where my pieces go is due to a lack of discipline in combination with decades long bad habits.

Sloppy calculation
After the vultures view from your own perspective, the possible lines of attack should be clear. Now the possible defences of your opponent should be considered. There are five possible standard answers:
  • Counter attack
  • Capture the attacker
  • Escape
  • Interference
  • (pin the attacker)
For the counter attack you need the vultures view, but now from the perspective of your opponent! (the second vulture in the picture, usually out of focus). Can he simply ignore your attack and mate you at the back rank?
Capture, escape and interference are so common, yet I often forget to look at it. I put pin the attacker between brackets, since it isn't a very frequent occurring issue. I added it for completeness only.

Familiar patterns that are not familiar enough
There are a whole lot of tactical patterns that are familiar, but not familiar enough that they pop up easy. Take for instance this position. It shows a standard way of fixing a knight fork that doesn't work yet, by coercion of the king into a check. There are quite a few of this standard methods which application needs to become a skill.

I'm going to work on the first two issues first, forgetting the vultures view and sloppy calculation since they form the bulk of my failures. They are the cause that I don't use the full potential of what is already available as skill or knowledge in my system.

Keeping the overview. As usual, the enemy vulture is out of focus

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