It all began way back in 1998, when I started to play chess again after a hiatus of a few decades. After a few months I witnessed how our club champion got is ass handed by a 14 your old boy. The boy didn't use much time, and he even seemed to have trouble to concentrate on the board. At that moment it dawned upon me that his performance was simply based on some kind of super trick.
I decided that I wanted to know how this trick works, and I wanted to learn the trick myself. And so I started my investigation. Soon I discovered the ideas of prof. Adriaan de Groot, and the experiments of papa Polgar. It soon dawned on me that the trick had something to do with pattern recognition and the subconscious. The question became, can I replicate the results of papa Polgar as an adult, with myself in the role of guinea pig?
I bought Polgars first brick and started to solve mate problems. After the brick I continued with the steps method, followed by the discs of George Renko. I started to become better, and slowly my OTB rating improved from 1532 to 1856 (FIDE).
In 2005 I joined the Knights Errant, who followed the ideas of Michael de la Maza. I was dubbed the knight of international pancakes. Here I heard for the first time about repetition. I decided to make a grand experiment of it, and to log my experiences and mistakes along the journey. I was already busy for 7 years, so it was clear it wouldn't become a simple walk in the park. I decided to exaggerate every experiment, so that others don't need to make the same errors as I did, and to prevent them from entering a dead end. And so I wandered enthusiastically into any pitfall I could find. The power of reaching adult chess improvement would be that there would be for the first time a conscious description of how the results were attained. Thus far only the descriptions of which methods don't work have materialized, and so the story is in dire need of a happy end.
I intend to describe when certain ideas were discussed for the first time.
February 2005 I was introduced to the idea of repetition, and I did all sorts of the seven circles of hell in a grand way.
In 2006 the duplo attack and the trap were discovered as paramount ways to gain wood. The idea for the need to memorize 50,000 to 100,000 patterns was falsified, by discovering the real nature of pattern recognition.
In November 2006 we see the first sitting duck in the arena.
In December 2006 the first vulture makes his appearance. In the same month I discovered the paramount role of piece activity as the nec plus ultra. This was my first attempt to build a thought process, based on understanding.
In may 2007 the Chess Module was invented. In the same month, the importance of feedback was formulated.
In june 2007 backwards thinking was discovered. The first visualization experiments started.
In August 2007 I started to experiment with narratives. In the same month seeing versus understanding makes its debut.
In September 2007 the first picture of a coatrack was published.
In October 2007 the idea “when a piece or pawn is protected multiple times, it probably stands in the way” came about.
November 2007 was hacked by the Russians.
In December 2007 we talked about that it might suffice to only look at the played move. What does the piece do on his new square, and what doesn't the piece do on his old square anymore?
In January 2008 the framework made its entrance. Serious doubts on the MDLM system was casted.
In May 2008 we talked about confirmation bias.
In September 2008 we investigated the stalling mind.
In January 2009 we all left for the first time our comfort zone. Chess was described in terms of the three battles:
- the battle of the pieces
- the battle of the pawns
- the battle of time
February 2009, more about backwards thinking and narratives. And visualization.
March 2009 the miracles of the subconscious.
October 2009 about the importance of outnumbering.
December 2009 the idea of transferring skills or knowledge from one position to another was formulated. And the transfer to OTB play.
December 2010 The two types of times were formulated. One time as the amount of tempo's to reach an ideal situation, after when it is reached, there are no more tempos needed. The difference between falling asleep over your work and after your work. And another time defined as the struggle for the initiative. In the same month we adopted mentalization as a better word for visualization.
Here I discovered that my blog was spiraling in circles over the same subjects over and over again, reaching at a deeper level of understanding with each spiral:
- Piece activity
- Dynamism vs static positional ideas
- Backwards thinking
- A coach is best
- A book is the next best (I ordered Reassess 4th edition)
- Pawn structure
- Database with patterns
- Learning on automatic pilot doesn't work
- Preconditions for attack of Vukovic
- coathangers and their racks
- Tempos and geometry
- Dual purpose moves
- Analysis of games
- Chaos theory. Identifying the move where the game goes haywire
- Avoiding complexity to relieve the short term memory
- Flexible moves
The ideas we are elaborating on today, are for the most part based on earlier discoveries. Brought together in a coherent framework. What will the future bring? It is difficult to say. After 6 months of salt mining, I knew for sure that another 6 months wouldn't change a thing. I'm busy with the PLF (PoPLoAFun) system for over half a year now, and we have made great theoretical progress. But will it transfer to practice? I feel confident it will. But I have felt confident before, so that is no guarantee at all. I'm very pleased that all questions that were raised in the past are addressed, and that all past conclusions have found a place in our current ideas.
So far this blog is a monument of falsified chess improvement theories. What not to do when trying to improve at chess. It might even get a mention in the Guinness book of records for the biggest rearguard struggle in the history of chess. If it will be more than that, we will find out in the next two years. One way or another, we will have found answer on a few big questions. Is adult chess improvement even possible? At least I improved my English as an adult.
1000 post wouldn't have been possible without the7349 contributions of the readers of this blog. It were your contributions, discussions, questions and rantings that kept the juices flowing. I want to thank you for that!