Monday, March 16, 2020

LoA vision

I have a database with 931 tactical problems in the following categories:
  • Discovered attack
  • Double attack
  • Skewer
  • Pin
  • Overloading
  • Mate in 3
I learned the geometrical patterns by heart of 252 positions (27%) already. It took me 50 days.
I focused on PoPs (points of pressure) and Funs (functions) solely.
So far the method seems to work excellent. 

Now I have drawn a definite conclusion about the middlegame, I thought that it would be nice to extend my method to middlegame positions too. Hence I began a search for a database with positional problems. I couldn't find an acceptable one.

But then I realised the following: I now have a definite method of judgment for every middlegame move. Which is the following: how does this move alter the balance of piece activity? In the previous post, I called it the battle of the LoA's (lines of attack). Do I really need a problem set with positional problems?

The answer is: probably not. I just have to draw the lines of attack in the position. Any position. Since what I need is LoA vision. So why not use the database I already have? Who cares that it are tactical positions? When I know the points of pressure and functions already, why not draw the lines of attack in the same positions?
So that is what I'm going to do.

I had a sneak peek in endgame theory. I discovered that I don't need to learn so much positions, but merely that I have know how to devise an endgame plan. So that is what I'm going to focus on the coming time. 110 days to the first tournament. Still some time to work. I'm excited!


  1. Positional play is "built-in" - IFF you can "see" the PoPs, LoAs and Funs in each position as you play.

    I alluded to this in a previous two-part comment on March 25, 2017 at 5:49 and 5:51 (scroll down almost to the bottom of the comment area):

    War on Trial and Error - Saturday, March 11, 2017

    If you are eliminating tactical errors by "seeing" the available PoPLoAFun, you are avoiding the false values. Whatever is left as viable candidate moves must be the true values.

    Or, as master detective Sherlock Holmes said:

    "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

    That gives added emphasis to the old Soviet Union chess truism:

    "If it doesn't work, but you really want it to, then it must work."

  2. I need to solve one other problem before the tournaments in July. I'm a terrible writer of the moves. When I notate the moves, I seem to do that with another part of the brain than when I think about chess. Shifting between different brain parts is killing me. It feels whether I'm torn apart. It is lirerally painful. And I hate it. Especially in time trouble. Besides that, my notation sheet is usually unreadable with wrong and forgotten moves. When I'm allowed to lay down my pencil, my play improves with 200 points. At least, so it feels.

    Somehow, writing down the moves has never become automatic even after all those years. Any suggestions how I could train that?

    1. I need a pgn viewer with an automatic replay with adjustable speed.

    2. I am like you, but probably worse. We probably need to practice writing down moves when going over Master games, for example; i.e., practice writing in a notebook, and maybe one day there won't be big illegible scribbles all over it.

  3. It is a matter of statistics. If you can access or occupy more lines of attack, you have a greater chance that there is something interesting to do.

    1. More lines of attack allow for shifting attacks.

  4. I'm thinking more in terms of obligations now (functions) I seems to find more answers in positions. Cheers, Jim

  5. I think of PoPs as "where" the opposing pieces (including Pawns) come into contact,LoAs as the "auras" emanating from ALL pieces (having the force of 1 on every potential or actual square that each piece can move to [including Pawn promotion], regardless of whether the piece can legally move to those squares in the current position), and Functions as direct or indirect obligations assigned to each piece. Obligations are (nearly?) always associated with defensive tasks. The observation ("vulture's eye view") and integration of ALL PopLoAFun in a given position constitutes strategic planning.

    In every position, the essential task is to "SEE" ALL "the requirements of each position." These requirements may change at each PLY. Knowledge of typical structures, and the strategic and tactical methods appropriate to those structures, is very helpful for recognizing and forming analogies (pattern recognition) by reducing the required amount of time to integrate ALL PopLoAFun into a coherent plan, but is not essential to good play. This is how PoPLoAFun integrates tactics ("how" to do what is required) with strategy ("what" should be done, both IMMEDIATELY and for the foreseeable [by mere mortals!] future).

    You can't figure out "HOW" to do something without understanding "WHAT" must be done.

  6. At the moment i believe that : chessability = ability to "see" relevant lines and factors in relevant positions. To "see" is something different than to be able to calculate. To see happens very quick and is based on memorys (and sufficient deep understanding ) of related positions.
    So the question should always be: what is important to see in that position

  7. PART I:


    Things are never as “simple” as they appear to be on the surface.

    FEN: r4b1k/8/5PQ1/p1pp3p/P7/5qB1/1P6/4R1K1 w - - 0 1

    I find myself studying “simple” positions from previous tactical puzzles, like the one given above. It is Puzzle #232 from 303 Tricky Chess Tactics – A Great Training Tool for Players. In spite of the relative small amount of material, it is rich in complications. When I first “solved” this problem, I was blind to possible alternative candidate moves.

    The authors’ solution is:

    1. Bd6 (threatens 2. Bxf8 Rxf8 3. Qg7#) and if 1. … Bxd6?? 2. Qg7 mates immediately. The best Black can do is trade Queens by 1. …Qxh3 2. Bxf8 Qg4+ but that leaves him a piece behind.

    I managed to figure out a couple of alternatives that seemed to be better, but came nowhere close to the thoroughness of GM Stockfish, whose analysis is given below. (I only included the analysis down to and including all moves which left White at 0.0 or higher.) Note that the proposed solution is the 6th Stockfish proposal.

    D37 Mate 9 1.Re5 Qd1+ 2.Kg2 Qd2+ 3.Kh3 Qh6 4.Rxh5 Ra7 5.f7 Rxf7 6.Be5+ Bg7 7.Qxh6+ Kg8 8.Qh8+ Bxh8 9.Rxh8#
    D37 +7.60 1.f7 Qg4 2.Qxg4 hxg4 3.Re8 Ra6 4.Be5+ Kh7 5.Rxf8 Kg6 6.Rd8 Kxf7 7.Rxd5 Rc6 8.Rd7+ Ke6 9.Rc7 Ra6 10.Rxc5 Kf5 11.Bc3+ Ke6 12.Re5+ Kd6 13.Rxa5 Rc6 14.Bb4+ Kd7 15.Rd5+ Ke6 16.Rc5 Ra6 17.a5 Kd6 18.Kf2 Ra7 19.Kg2 Rb7 20.Rb5+ Kc6 21.Rxb7 Kxb7 22.Bc3 Ka6 23.Kf2 Kb5 24.Kg3 Ka6 25.Kxg4 Kb7 26.b4
    D37 +7.06 1.Re7 Qd1+ 2.Kg2 Qd2+ 3.Kh3 Qh6 4.Qxh6+ Bxh6 5.Be5 Bf8 6.f7+ Kh7 7.Re8 Ra6 8.Rxf8 Kg6 9.Rd8 Kxf7 10.Rxd5 c4 11.Bc3 Ke6 12.Rxa5 Rc6 13.Rxh5 Rc8 14.Kg4 Kd6 15.Kf3 Kc6 16.Bb4 Kb7 17.Rh6 Ra8 18.a5 Re8 19.Bc3 Ka7 20.Bd4+ Kb7 21.Rg6 Kc7 22.Bc3 Kb8 23.Rc6 Rf8+ 24.Ke3 Rg8 25.Rh6
    D37 +2.71 1.b4 Qg4 2.Qxg4 hxg4 3.b5 c4 4.Kg2 Bc5 5.Re6 Kg8 6.Rc6 Bd4 7.b6 Bxb6 8.Rxb6 c3 9.Rb7 Ra6 10.f7+ Kf8 11.Rc7 Rf6 12.Rxc3 Kxf7 13.Rc5 d4 14.Rc4 Rb6 15.Be1 Rd6 16.Bxa5 Ke6 17.Bb4 Kd5 18.Rc5+ Ke4 19.a5 g3 20.Rg5 Rc6 21.Kxg3 Kd3 22.Rc5 Rf6 23.Rb5 Kc4 24.Rb7 Kd3 25.Rb6 Rf1 26.Kg4 Ke4 27.a6 Ra1 28.Rf6 d3 29.Bc3 Ra2
    D37 +0.25 1.Kh2 Qg4 2.Qf7 h4 3.Be5 Rd8 4.Qc7 Rc8 5.Qxa5 Bh6 6.f7+ Kh7 7.Qc3 Bf4+ 8.Kh1 Bxe5 9.Rxe5 Rf8 10.Qd3+ Kh8 11.Rxd5 Rxf7 12.Qe3 Kh7 13.Rg5 Rf1+ 14.Kh2 Qf4+ 15.Qxf4 Rxf4 16.a5 Rb4 17.Rxc5 Rxb2+ 18.Kh3 Ra2 19.Kxh4 Kg6 20.Kg4 Ra4+ 21.Kf3 Kf6 22.Ke3 Ke6 23.Kd3 Kd6 24.Rg5 Kc6 25.Kc3
    D37 0.00 1.Bd6 Qg4+ 2.Qxg4 hxg4 3.Bxf8 Rxf8 4.Re5 d4 5.Rxc5 Rxf6 6.Rd5 Rb6 7.Rxd4 Rxb2 8.Rxg4 Rb4 9.Rg6 Rxa4 10.Kf2 Kh7 11.Ra6 Ra3 12.Ke2 Ra2+ 13.Kd3 a4 14.Kc3 a3 15.Kb3 Ra1 16.Rxa3 Rxa3+ 17.Kxa3 Kg6 18.Ka2 Kf5 19.Kb3 Kf4 20.Kc3 Ke5 21.Kc4 Ke4 22.Kb5 Kd5 23.Ka5 Ke6
    D37 0.00 1.Be5 Qg4+ 2.Qxg4 hxg4 3.Kg2 Kh7 4.Kg3 Kg6 5.Kxg4 Ra7 6.Rd1 Rd7 7.b3 Rb7 8.Rxd5 Rxb3 9.Rd8 Rb4+ 10.Kf3 Kf7 11.Ra8 Rxa4 12.Ke3 Ke6 13.Re8+ Kf7

  8. PART II:

    If nothing else, this shows me that I (we?) too often settle for the first “solution” that seems to work, rather than identifying and analyzing other alternatives out to a definite conclusion. I think this is one area where “knowing that” is so much less important than “knowing how.”

    “When you see a good move, look for a better one.” ― Emanuel Lasker

    Following Lasker’s dictum is important during a game, provided you are not in time trouble. However, it is absolutely essential when analyzing a position or a game away from the board. I suspect that I fail at this regularly, and thus do not get as much out of my training as I could. I think it is mental “laziness” on my part, which much be corrected if I expect to raise my playing skill. I intend to correct this flaw in my “thinking process.”

    "In [the Chess Master] this antagonism [between combination play and positional play] is completed by position play. By combination the Master aims to defeat the false values, the true values shall guide him in his position play, which in turn shall bring those values to honour. The Master is like a man in a learned dispute who knows sophistry but does not make use of it, except for the purpose of exposing the sly subtleties of an artful opponent who disputes a true, sound, vigorous thesis with mere trickery." - Emanuel Lasker

  9. If you have the impression you are onto something, then chances are - you really are.
    I'd say you will improve if you have such a positive feeling towards a method.

    I started playing a lot of bullet recently, and it really stressed me out. After a while not so much anymore - and I really improved my speed.
    Trouble is: it made my longer time control ratings worse. I lost a lot of games due to impatience and moving too fast.

    But recently I got my act back together and I think I got my patience back while I am still a better bullet player. Overall, at least in my case, I think I improved, not only in bullet.
    Likely it is not bullet what is the key to improvement, but simply that it was a personal lack in skill. It improved me, but it would not improve a player who wasnt awfully bad in Bullet (relative to his longer time control ratings).

    In lichess, I am currently have 3 trophies:
    Top 100 player (out of 57.000) in Classic rating
    Top 100 player in Horde chess
    Top 50 player in Racing kings.

    My bullet went up to 2000, this time no tricks (carefully pre-chosen opponents), but purely earned by playing bullet in tournaments against random opponents. I managed to beat some really high rated bullet players, but lost to really weak ones, too. Bullet is really a bit rolling the dice, but overall my rating chart inched higher and higher over the weeks and months.
    Here my profile

    Back to temposchlucker: if others are skeptical - so what? It might not work for them, it only needs to work for you. Getting rid of weaknesses cant be bad. If your feeling is, that this yields you something, I bet it will.

  10. From studying (and thinking about my studies), I've gotten some insights (NOT more knowledge) that seem to help me; YMMV.

    (1) Surface features provide reliable "clues" to essences.

    (2) Novices and experts perceive the same things. The difference is the content and depth of what is "seen" on the surface as clues to a deeper understanding of the essence.

    Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking 1st Edition
    by Douglas Hofstadter (Author), Emmanuel Sander (Author)

    (3) Knowledge is important, but not as important as skill in applying whatever knowledge is possessed. Knowledge ["know that"] and skill ["know how"] are not synonymous.

    (4) Concentrating on each particular problem with the same intensity as is (or should be) applied during a serious game (NOT BLITZ!) is absolutely necessary for long-term skill improvement.

    This is why quickly solving myriad tactical puzzles based purely on rote memorization of the solutions does not produce significant skill improvement over time. Many teachers and high-level players strongly suggest taking an approach similar to Stoyko exercises - pick a complicated position and spend 20-30 minutes working out every possibility. Don't allow your mind to wander, and most importantly, do your best to penetrate to as deep a level of understanding of all aspects of the position as you can. These kinds of exercises will increase your capability to dig deeper when needed most by increasing your skill.

    (5) When solving puzzles, set up the puzzle on a board that is identical to what you will use during serious games.

    This maximizes the transfer of skill from study to actual games through pattern recognition. Do not assume that it is sufficient to merely "see" the problem on a small diagram on a screen or in a book. The amount of time "wasted" on setting up an actual board will be amply repaid during an actual game.