- The board vision exercises as presented in my sidebar, AKA "the salt mines"
- Decompose the solution for an hour and visualize the results for a few minutes
- Imagine the future position with the aid of a verbal narrative
- Identify the function of the pieces and visualize this
- Identify the tactical themes of a combination and visualize this
- Verbal formulation of the purpose of a move
- Solving problems extreme fast
- Solving problems extreme slow
- Solving extreme many problems
- Doing extreme many repetitions
- Solving without repetition
- Playing blindfold chess
- Playing correspondence chess
- Playing a lot of blitz
- Playing a lot of rapid
- Playing a lot of slow OTB
- Stoyko exercises
- Extreme difficult problems
- Extreme easy problems
- All kind of scanning techniques
- All kinds of thought processes
- All kinds of board vision exercises
- Exercises for specific pieces
- Themed exercises
- Random exercises
- With clock
- Without clock
- Visualization of covered squares
- Imagining the aura of the pieces
- Targeting my weaknesses in isolation
- Targeting my weaknesses with an all out approach
- Refusing draw offers
There are a few more thing I tried, but I don't feel like recherching that now. Let's focus on what works instead.
Only three methods showed any progress:
My efforts in the salt mines were inspired by the the result I had by playing Troyis. The problem with this method is, that it is too specific. I improved, but the improvements are irrelevant to the game. I analyzed extensively where I spilled points when solving problems at CT, and in only about 2% of the cases it had to do with the motor skills you learn while salt mining.
Mate in one
Working through Papa Polgars brick changed my vision. In stead of looking at the pieces, I started looking for the squares they cover, the "aura" of the pieces. I have done a whole host of vision exercises, and got improvement there. But again, those improvements are rather irrelevant to solving the kind of problems as presented by CT. It helps to visualize future positions, but that simply is not the main reason I spill points. Maybe in 3% of the cases a lack of visualization skills are the cause of spilling points at CT.
The steps method just worked. But I couldn't find a follow up, and failed sofar to write my own. Everything I learned from it was relevant to the kind of problems CT presents to me.
I know the tactical themes thoroughly. The problem is that they often are not popping up while scanning the board. The triggers do not fire. I have a lack of cues that activate the retrieval. If I guide my focus consciously, I'm able to retrieve the relevant tactical themes, but conscious thinking is extremely slow. In stead of spilling points by making errors, I spill then points by using time.
The Steps method shows us the way. I have felt a long time that tactical prowess should be acquired in the same way I learned how to drive a car. The instructor provides the knowledge, and in just 50 hours or so, the unconsciousness works its magic, and internalizes it. That's how the Steps method worked.
What I'm going to do, is to write my own follow up. I have long neglected the knowledge I thought I already knew. But when you dive deep into a tactical motif, there is a whole lot to be discovered. I let me be guided by Martin Weteschnik's Chess tactics from scratch. When I studied his chapter about the reloader, I immediately recognized a few reloaders in the problems afterwards. That is how it should work. I will start with the study of the pin. Deep study of the pin should acquire me a cue or two, don't you think? That's the theory.
It must work. It is logical that it should work. It is the only thing I haven't tried yet.