Friday, January 08, 2021

Finally some answers

 After almost 3 weeks of terrible back ache, matters finally are getting a bit better.

I saw a lot of issues coming along in the comments. I realized that we might be able to formulate a lot of answers to some longstanding questions. Like:

  • Why did FM Stoyko gain 100 rating points per exercise while we do not?
  • Why must we study master games?
  • How should we perform such study?
  • How to perform deliberate practise?
  • What's the difference between old and new patterns?
  • Why is it so difficult to get any further once you plateau?
Robert gathered a whole lot of information. As far as I can see, all the answers to the above questions came along. I couldn't formulate it because I could only lie on by back in one position, the past weeks. Now I physically make a bit progress, lately, I will give it a try.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Wrong way around

 While I was busy to build abstract ideas from concrete positions, some familiar framework emerged. I was doing the same thing as I was doing in 2017. I was erecting my tree of scenarios again.

Do you recognize the box from the previous posts?

Back then, it didn't work out as expected. But now we have discovered the mechanism behind transfer, it is clear that I used the tree of scenarios the wrong way around.

I had build the tree of scenarios within a few months by system 2 (conscious thinking). When I considered it ready, I tried to use it in my training as a guide to inspire system 1 to work up some miracles. But that is the wrong way around. The training must not be to try to solve the puzzles with the aid of a thought process (the tree of scenarios in my case), but to refine the tree of scenarios during the feedback phase of the puzzle. Which means, after the puzzle is solved.

The right way is:

  • Solve the puzzle
  • Generalize the puzzle to find how it fits in the abstract coatrack
We don't have to teach system 1 how to come up with ideas from a coatrack. It already knows how to do that. We just need to use system 2 to build a proper one.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Higher level of abstraction

 The conclusion of our former discussion can be summarized as: in order to transfer knowledge learned from one position to another, system 1 (unconscious) must be fed by analogies with a higher level of abstraction. If you think deeply about it, it makes perfectly sense. But at first glance, is sounds like gibberish. How to make it more concrete? (which sounds as less abstract 😁 ). In other words, what the heck are we talking about??

White to move

r5k1/pp3Bpp/2n3n1/6P1/3q4/B5Q1/P4PKP/4R3 b - - 0 0


I have encountered this problem 9 times over the years. As you can clearly see, I have learned nothing from it. (tijd = solving time)

So, what feedback must we abstract from this position that is usable for other analog positions as well? What is the main idea behind this position?

The black king is out in the open. The main question is: how can we prevent him from skedaddling into obscurity again?

This abstraction can be used in many, many positions.

For this particular position, the way to solution can be concretized as: how to prevent Kg8?

Friday, December 11, 2020


  Something Robert said somewhere struck a chord with me. He talked about analogy being the primary language of system 1 (unconscious thinking). Since then I wondered how we could integrate analogies in our training method.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Opening philosophy

 What do I want to reach with my new opening repertoire? In the first place, I want a direction to my actions.

Floundering around

For years, I played my openings by means of chance. Since I can learn pretty quick a bunch of variations, I usually can replace a repertoire within a few weeks. I have done this so many times in the past. But the problem with variations is, that they will hit sooner or later the end of the variation. Black is slightly better. Now what? If you can't answer that question, you might as well rephrase the question with: So what?


By choosing a direction for my actions, I create the possibility for feedback. If you don't know what you want to achieve, you have no way to judge whether you achieved it. In fact, the direction you choose initially, doesn't matter all that much. Since feedback should guarantee that you correct your direction along the way. Hence I will not hesitate to stretch matters to the brink of absurdity. The fastest way to end up in the middle is to test the extremes first.

Initial direction

So what initial direction shall I choose? An opening should lead to a certain type of middlegame.  Aox provided me with a bunch of papers about the middlegame. That will be my main direction. Nimzowitsch wrote about centralization. That will be my practical guide. Further media:

  • DVD FM Storey The Sniper!
  • DVD FM Storey The White Sniper
  • Videos GM Ron Henley about the Sniper

Saving time

An important reason for choosing a direction, is that it saves time. Big time. Without direction, you can think about a move until the cows come home. If you have no goal, you cannot know if you have reached it. For me that used to mean that I always ended up in time trouble. Now I chase a goal, I play much faster.

Practical matters

There are many ways to play an opening. There is no absolute right way. Hence I will not try to find the best moves. Good enough moves will do. If you stick out your c5 pawn early in the game as black, you might well end up with a majority in the center, once your c pawn is traded for his d pawn. From that moment on, you created an extra possibility: you can trade pieces and enter an endgame. Trying to convert the central pawn majority into a win.

His system

Nimzowitsch' system tells us how to treat a center:

  • restraint
  • blockade
  • destroy
That's what I want to achieve with the Sniper. And the HAD. I'm not interested in variations, but in ways to achieve this. Since I don't want to do things half-heartedly, I'm going to play the sniper with white as well.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

The Sniper!

Robert signalled that it is time to talk about the sniper. What's the idea behind the opening? 

The sniper in the move order as I want to play it, starts with the moves 1. ... c5 2. ... g6 3. ... Bg7. It's a hyper modern opening, and the idea behind that type of opening is commonly known as "give white the pawn center and invite him to overextend, then attack the center from the flanks".

The sniper is coined and elaborated by FM Charlie Storey. He made a DVD about it. It was picked up by GM Ron Henley too, who made a series of videos about it.

Storey noticed that if you have the mentality to play for a win with white and for a draw with black, you always end up as second or third in a tournament, at best. If you want to win a tournament, you must play for a win with black too.

So he "invented" the Sniper. General ideas:

  • play for a win with black
  • play for an unbalanced position
  • minimize risk
  • try to get the pawn majority in the center
  • work towards an endgame once you get the majority in the center
  • use 1. ... c5 2. ... g6 3. ... Bg7 against anything except 1.b3 and 1.b4
  • search for messy positions without theory
  • since black has less space, to trade a piece is a good idea
  • in certain cases you go for the Hyper Accelerated Dragon
  • there's little chance to get checkmated before move 25
Storey doesn't work out too many variations, but he provides ideas. He provides a scaffolding for your opening.

The evaluation by Stockfish is often misleading due to the dilution principle. He noticed the following:
Say white evaluates to +0.68. Then you let the engine play the best moves for both sides. And after 10 moves or so, the engine evaluates the position as -0.58.

To play the sniper, you need a certain mentality (the same with the HAD). It is not everybody's taste.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Double whammy

 I cannot get around it. We must talk about the double whammy move. After a tactical streak of 150 days training in a row, some characteristics started to jump out on me. One such  characteristic is the omnipresence of the double whammy move. We have talked a lot about duplo attacks in the past. Like the pin, the skewer, the double attack and the discovered attack. All these attacks can be reckoned as double whammy moves. They strike at two targets at the same time. But looking at tactical problem after problem, I noticed that there was very often a tempo battle going on. As FM Charley Story uses to say, a tempo can win a game. Just one tempo is sometimes enough. And there are a whole lot of moves that cannot be characterized as a tactical theme. These moves do not only what they do, but besides that they maintain the pressure. I talked about them in the past as moves with an additional punch.

I decided to throw the moves with additional punch and the duplo attacks on one pile: the double whammy moves. If you recognize the double whammy moves in a tactical problem, you are half way the solution.

Diagram 1. White to move

3Br1k1/bpq2ppp/2pp4/p3nP2/2P1n3/1P4PP/P1Q2PB1/3R1R1K b - - 0 0


Search the double whammy.