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Showing posts from April, 2008

### The Trap

There are 3 kinds of scans I try to improve: Trap Converge Targets In this post I want to talk only about the trap. The following diagram is quite well suited to explain how the exercise works. In the problemset of Chess Tempo there are a lot of mates. I consider a mate to be a special instance of a trap. You trap the king. A mate like below took me quite some time since there are a few initial moves which look promising but which are not. White to move. You don't know beforehand that this is a mate, but it isn't likely that you can win a piece. Solution [ 1.Qxg7+ Kxg7 2.Rf7+ Kg8 3.Rxe7+ Kf8 4.Ng6# ] It isn't important to spend much time to find the solution but it doesn't hurt either. There is no objection to look it up. The exercise starts when the solution is known . Input-output-narrative. The input is the position at hand. The output is the endposition with the mate. The narrative describes in words how you arrive at the mate starting from this position. How the wh

### Theoretical conception of an exercise

A lot has been said about how the process works. Let's see if it is possible to conceive an exercise based on the diagnosis so far. First let me summarize a few important issues. These should be of help to conduct how to exercise (my english seems to deteriorate) It all starts with a special kind of knowledge. The knowledge describes the input (characteristics of the position) and the output (a move) along with how to get there (the narrative). This proces of input and output is visualized before the minds eye, so that the apprentice can copy it. The apprentice is the procedural part of the brain. The attitude is active, that is to say your attitude is based on the question: how can I make that I will see the solution in the future immediately? It is best to start with the motorskills you need every move. I have done the problems on Chess Tempo past week and I found that 3 different kinds of scans give me in almost all cases the solution: Trap-mate-radiation of pieces. There are a

### Apprentice with an attitude problem

I called the procedural memory the ultimate apprentice since it works by imitation. In the past weeks I used the word "consciousness" to indicate the decisive factor whether the apprentice would learn something or not. But I now realize that is the wrong term. The difference is made by the attitude of the apprentice. Whether his attitude is "active and inquisitive" or "passive and lazy". I gave an example of the choir I'm in where the people have problems with singing the vocals. Margriet has corrected us about 50 times, yet we forget it and make the same mistakes over and over again. The first problem is that we don't hear it ourselves. The second problem is that we don't believe Margriet. The third problem is that we think it's our neighbours problem. The fourth problem is that we act passively. "Margriet must make us sing well" while we lay back. You can't say we are unaware or unconscious of the problem. But we treat it as

### Rigmarole causing mayhem

One of the great problems of the current subject we are talking about lately is the vague terminology I use. It possibly causes some people to think that what I'm saying is way over their head. I don't think that should be the case though since the subject itself is straightforward enough and everybody knows it from his own experience and is hence entitled to have an opinion about the subject. Sorry if you get confused by my terminology but I don't know better terms. I remember well the first times I encountered the word "mayhem". I didn't know what the word meant and I looked it up in the dictionary. Within a few months I encountered the word several times, and everytime I had to look it up. Right now, after 7 times or so, I know what the word mayhem means. Immediately when I hear it. I can use it in a sentence without noticing it. In my terminology the following has happened: Within only 7 repetitions I managed to create the lifetime lasting habit of transl

### On knife's edge. Stay sharp!

In the previous post I elaborated on my reasoning process which brought me some new hypotheses. It's time to focus on the core of the story. What do we have? A simple motorskill can be learned for life by repeating it just 7-15 times. The reason why we often need 20 hours or more, or 2500 repetitions or more, is because we then are talking about a compound complex motorskill which is composed of multiple simple subtasks. Every subtask takes 7-15 repetitions. In the previous post I gave an example of how singing of the right pitch is composed by hundred or more subtasks, each taking 7-15 repetitions. Everytime when precision is needed you can expect that. An example of a simple subtask in chess is: occupy an open file with a rook. If you repeat that 7-15 times with full attention, it will become a habit for life. There is a situation that 7-15 repetitions don't work. That is the case when you do those repetitions on the automatic pilot. On automatic pilot there is no consciousne

### Phantom-knowledge and habit-forming

Let's see if it is possible to build a model of the transformation process of knowledge into procedural habits. What do we have? Information. When you read books, blogs, magazines, talk to other people etc. you get lots of information. Knowledge. By thinking about information you transform it into knowledge. What is the nature of this knowledge? In the end chessknowledge relates the characteristics of the board (input) to a certain move (output). All other knowledge is obsolete with regard to chess improvement. The output generating process is divided into two stages which compare as 1 : N diagnosis remedy To make Soapstone happy you can say that diagnosis culminates into evaluation of the position. Let's have a closer look at how knowledge generates a move. Spectrum of knowledge. On the gross end of the spectrum we find rules : Characteristic: open file Rule: occupy an open file with a rook Output: move the rook The advantage of a rule is that it gives a single kind of output

In the past I had already written a lot about feedback here . I think that everything that is said there still stands today. If you read the comments on my previous post , then you can see that we found that feedback is the nec plus ultra method to improve your motorskills . Let's see if I can elaborate on this. Knowledge is short lived in chess. It either fades away or it is transformed into procedural knowledge. To give an example: when you read that it is a good idea to occupy an open file with a rook, you will either do that or forget to do that. Once it is a habit, you will do it every time , even when it isn't necessary. If it doesn't become a habit you don't will do it, but when you teach children you will tell them still that they have to occupy an open line. If knowledge isn't transformed into skill you are left with the impotent ghost of knowledge. This illustrates i.m.n.s.h.o. a transfer problem as mentioned by Phaedrus . The transformation of knowl

### Knowledge, calculation and evaluation

While developing the theory about motorskills I was well aware that I deliberately left out a few topics. Reading this post from Soapstone I realized that it is now the time to address them in the light of the new findings. I don't know where this post is going since I use the writing as a means to think about it. So please bear with me. Before I start to talk about evaluation, calculation and knowledge I summarize the previous in an attempt to get some focus. Motorskills. Experienced (7+ years) chessplayers don't differ all that much in amount of patterns they recognize nor do they differ all that much in the skill of recognition they have. The real difference is made by the automatic scan-habits they have. When a task is performed with the aid of procedural memory you get these for free: speed visualisation It works the other way around too: when there is no speed and you can't visualise it you can be sure that you lack the motorskill to perform the task. Knowledge. Kno

### Scanning-skills as guide for pattern recognition.

I'm trying to falsify my hypothesis by putting it to the test via Chess Tempo . I focus on the following motorskills: identifying targets identifying attackers of those targets, including the path the attackers have to go identifying squares where my own pieces converge visualize the "radiation" from attackers and how this limits the mobility of the opponent's pieces but especially the king All these skills play a role in initially scanning the board. Today I encountered this problem: White to move. While I was looking at the black queen as target with my rook as attacker, I considered 1.Rf8 Immediately I recognized the pattern of a rook sac on h8 with an invasion of the white queen via h6-g7 1.Rf8 Qc6 2.Rh8+ Kxh8 3. Qxh6+ Kg8 4.Qg7# Because of the order of the scans I persist to use, I recognized this more complex pattern before I had the chance to look at a more simple pattern: 1.Qxh6+ Kxh6 2.Rh3# This simple Anastasia's mate only occurred to me while I was ex

### Skill-assisted thinking

An example of my previous post might clarify matters (or obscure them even more:). Say, Joe's rating is 1800. In that case I say 1700 points are atribbuted due to his motorskills while his average conscious thinking adds the other 100 points. Average Joe. Motorskills = 1700 Average conscious thinking = 100 Total rating = 1800 By drinking beer, having no sleep and trashtalking to spectators during the game he can diminish the influences of his conscious thinking to the maximum. In that case he plays still like a 1700 player. Beer-impaired Joe. Motorskills = 1700 Beer-impaired conscious thinking = 0 Total rating = 1700 If he improves his stamina, works on his focus and visualisation, drinks lots of coffee etc. he can improve his conscious thinking untill it is responsible for 200 rating points. In that case he will play like a 1900 player. Optimized Joe. Motorskills = 1700 Not average anymore conscious thinking = 200 Total rating = 1900 Fugures are arbitrary, of course. In my scheme