Wednesday, October 14, 2020

With what shall I fix it

dear Liza, dear Liza? 

My little blitz test revealed me that I have about 30,000 holes in my bucket. Give or take a hole or two. Somehow, I must find the plugs that fix more than 1 hole at the time. I.e. I need multi fixing plugs. We are talking about transfer here.

So I'm investigating what the holes in my bucket have in common.


  1. I did a quick search of your blog posts, and only found one other reference to "dear Liza." I also searched for references to GM Jonathan Rowson and/or his books, and only found one. (I have referred to GM Rowson's books in several comments.) Consequently, I'm not sure if you are referring to Chess For Zebras or to the song "There's a hole in my bucket".

    In any event, GM Rowson's conclusion (regarding Henry's 'holes' in his 'bucket') seems applicable.

    "The reason our minds cannot be 'filled' is not because they have 'holes', but because they are not at all like buckets. . . . We construct our understanding of positions, which means using what we have, however imperfect, to make sense of what we are given. . . . real learning is often a painful process, because you are not just collecting new ideas and stacking them up in some sort of expanding cognitive warehouse. . . . Indeed, I have come to believe that the kind of learning that is most useful for chess improvement is actually 'unlearning'.

    Perhaps a shift in paradigm might help. Instead of viewing your improvement 'problem' as 'holes' in your 'bucket', consider that your intensive training has created small 'screens' that obscure/block parts of your view of the big 'screen' (big picture; 'vulture's eye view; etc.). In short, a learned inability to see the 'forest' because there are too many 'trees' blocking the view. If so, adding more trees (or plugging 'holes' in your 'bucket') is unlikely to give a more complete 'forest' view (or a 'bucket' that will actually retain all that 'water').

    As usual, that's sheer speculation, based on no actual 'facts' of the matter.

    I know that by taking just a short number of seconds to let System 1 tell me the 'story' of a position, it is much more likely to point me in the right direction. When I grab hold of the first tree branch tossed to me, I often grab one that will not hold up my weight, and I fall down the cliff. Maybe that's just me. . .

  2. I haven't read Rowson. So I refer to the song.

    I think I understand what you mean. I don't see the bucket because of the holes.

    In the forest metaphor, I have been chopping away trees for the past 22 years. And since a few months, I'm starting to see glimpses of the forest. The time comes near to stop chopping, and to focus on the big picture.

    1. You might find GM Jonathan Rowson's Chess for Zebras: Thinking Differently about Black and White to be very informative relative to your current investigation. There are many similarities in your ideas and conclusions regarding adult chess improvement.

  3. I'm experimenting with the omission of step 4, pre-digestion of the food by system 2 (conscious thinking).

    Meaning, I solve blitz tactics, and afterwards I draw the squares and the arrows directly. Thanks to mfardal, I can do that directly now. Without worrying about any rote learning.

  4. Another analogy (from drawing) that might prove helpful. Perception is keyed from “clues” that are right in front of our eyes.


    We "SEE" (perceive) what we expect to see. Look at the first picture in the link. If you are told to look for a young woman (in the first illustration), you WILL "see" a young woman. On the other hand, if you are told to look for an old woman, you WILL "see" an old woman. However, if you are NOT told which to look for, you may (initially) "see" one or the other - but you will NOT "see" both.

    The perceptual "clues" which enable System 1 to "see" (and report as meaningful to System 2) one or the other are not mutually exclusive. It is the assigned meaning (based on previous experience, knowledge, etc.) to the components that makes the difference in WHAT is perceived. There are several differentiating "clues" in the drawing - the chin (young woman) or the nose (old woman); the ear (young woman) or the eye (old woman); the necklace (young woman) or the mouth (old woman); the nose (partial view of the young woman) or the wart on the nose (old woman).

    It is the ROLE that these features play that determines the ease with which the two pictures can be differentiated. In the process of assigning MEANING and IMPORTANCE to the individual (ambiguous) features, System 1 causes other potential meanings and importance to be obscured/occulted. This makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to "see" the opposite "picture". Once System 1 has perceived ONE coherent "explanation" of what the picture is about, System 1 confidently asserts that it is the ONLY rational viewpoint; all other possibilities are eliminated SILENTLY (without conscious awareness or concurrence). System 2, once given a confident assertion from System 1, is satisfied that this ONE explanation represents "reality." Because System 2 is "lazy," it requires focused mental effort (an ability to “jump outside” of the overall System 1/System 2) to overcome that first impression/explanation.

    In a lot of cases, it becomes impossible to "see" the alternative viewpoint. If System 2 can be used to change focus and interpretation of ONE of the significant (but ambiguous) "clues", then System 1 will take that "clue" and MAY reinterpret the remainder of the picture with a different plausible explanation. This presumes that we must keep an open mind during the initial search for meaning (i.e., what in this position is significant) during the "vulture's eye view." This is much easier said than done.

    The purpose of coloring the squares and drawing the arrows (and using PoPLoAFun)is to change our interpretation of the perceived "clues" by changing the focus for System 1 to (re-)interpret the overall "picture" until the focused and engaged System 2 "approves" (verifies that the interpretation is the correct one).

  5. A suggestion:

    CAREFULLY look at the problems you got WRONG. (The ones you got right are actually unimportant for IMPROVEMENT.) Try to figure out WHY one (or more) of the "clues" that popped into your conscious mind seemed to be the most important indicators of the solution - but turned out to be WRONG. As you shift your viewpoint from the WRONG to the RIGHT “clues” and solution, determine if it was merely (HA! HA!) your interpretation of a specific "clue" that caused you to focus on the WRONG solution/variation. IFF you find this to be the case (and I think it highly likely), then that insight becomes a "trigger" to jump outside the system and reinterpret that "clue" as possibly ambiguous in ALL positions - and therefore something that needs careful interpretation whenever you "see" it.

    1. There are 2 possibilities to lose points, you are too slow or you went wrong.

      you did not see the right weakness?
      you did not judge it right?

      you did play a wrong weakness?
      you did not see the refutation?

      you did not see the right method to make use of this weakness?
      you did play the wrong method, what was wrong?

      you made wrong thinking - reasoning

      often the position is simply too complex, then you need to analyze it deeper