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Showing posts from July, 2012

### recapitulation

. . . . With the aid of mr. Z I have been able to reformulate some issues. Let me recapitulate. There are 3 natural areas of  tactical improvement. Geometrical patterns Trial&error Logical reasoning The problems I showed you I did not fail due to lack of acquired geometrical patterns. Logical reasoning is nice, but it is not what separates the men from the boys. For otb play it is too slow to make the difference. When you not have fixed the problems with your trial&error, that is. The area that will be effected most by training is t&e. Trial&error. The papers about cognitive science I read point in the direction of t&e as a method that is most commonly used by  (grand)masters. I noticed that my t&e often misses logic. T&e works by means of patterns. Otherwise it could not work in an automatic way. If I say that my t&e misses logic that means that it misses logical patterns. Training should adress exactly this. Training

### Brains for sale

. . . . Yesterday I encountered a problem at CT that I have done once a few days before. I remembered the position and I remembered parts of my analysis. I remembered different lines of investigation. I remembered that I had spent about an hour on it. What I didn't remember though was what the solution was. . . . . White to move. You can find the solution here . After about 11 minutes trial&error I opted for 1.g4 Somehow I had envisioned a mate on c4, to deliver by b3. Which fails underway because at least two faults in the line, btw. The correct answer is 1.Ke3, of course. I didn't even consider the move. How can that be? Some of my readers might suggest that I'm not familiar with the pattern. I have done Polgars brick, though and I estimate that somewhere around 1500-2000 problems of the 5333+1 had exactly this theme. Prevent a king who can walk around a pawn or a bishop to escape. There is no pattern I'm more f

### From logical reasoning to trial & error

AoxomoxoA complained that when he started to do the problems at standard CT correct, his succesrate and his rating went up, but he became slower and slower. In the end he decided to forget about his rating and succesrate and he went for low level problems and speed. For me it is more logical that when you want to get to masterlevel, that you try to do masterlevel problems. And that when you notice that you are slow, that you ask yourself  "why am I so slow and how can I speed up?". How can I change reasoning into automatic trial error? Of course by making a pattern of the logical reasoning. Take for instance the following diagram:   . . . . Black to move. You can find the solution here . I probed the position with trial & error for about 5 minutes, then I got stuck. Then I started to reason for about 20 minutes, and all of a sudden I saw the solution. Why on earth did that take me 20 minutes? The problem is that I had looked at the init

### Trial & Error

Maybe you wonder why I came up with a new element like Trial&Error. It is not an argument I have invented for the sake of arguments. It's just based on observations during problem solving. Maybe I can convince you to take it as an element in its own right. The following diagram shows a mate which you can solve by trial&error alone. No subtle idea's to be found, no logical reasoning, no pattern recognition of any importance, just try and reject a whole bunch of lines. . . . . Black to move and mate. You can find the solution here . The only thing that is needed is precision and stamina. This problem shows that T&E is an element in its own right. This means that it can and probably should be trained by a separate method. I asociated it with Troyis . You must be able to move the pieces in your head at lightning speed in order to cover all the possible lines. That is a distinct skill.

### Getting the right idea

The following diagram shows very well where the exact problem manifests itself. . . . . White to move. It is a forced mate. You can find the solution here . With trial and error, you will see that all logical lines peter out pretty soon. That's the moment you need an idea . Without the right idea, you can't find the first move. No tactical patterns from the past will help you here, since the position is way too specific. Of course tactical patterns play a role, but what I say is that they are not going to bring you the right idea. Logic is destructive by nature. It plays a role by the error part of trial and error. It works by means of elimination. Every creative idea that comes to mind is tested and discarded when it doesn't work. Logic reasoning tells you to look for an invasion square. A square where your pieces can outnumber the opponent. Which can act as a bridge head. That is a common theme when attacking. When all obvious invasion

### The 3 skills

Usually we talk about 2 skills when it comes to chess improvement, pattern recognition and logical reasoning. But in fact there there are 3 skills which must work harmoniously together: Pattern recognition Logic reasonic Trial & error Pattern recognition is typically meant for the relative simple cases (<1500). Trial & error plus logical reasoning form a feedback loop. Trial & error is meant for probing the position and to look at lines at lightning speed. It is a bit of a Troyis-like activity.When an error is identified, logical reasoning should come up with alternatives. From these three skills, logical reasoning is the weakest link by far. Yet trial & error needs exercise as well.

### Talent = the ability to reason

Due to a discussion with mr. Z about yesterdays post I realized that I had to look again. So I took this 2435 rated problem and tried my hand in order to see where exactly the failure happens. . . . . White to move. Last move black was Nxe7 You can find the solution here . The reason I failed this problem is because I wasn't able to formulate a decent reasoning. Yesterday I argued that this is because my mind is overwhelmed. Today I found that I deceive myself here. The real reason is less flattering. Somehow my mind is lazy. I start with trial and error in automatic mode, but when nothing works, I'm not going to formulate what the problem is but in stead I repeat my trial and error. It seems that I'm not able to leave my comfortzone and formulate what the problem is. At the very moment I do, I'm able to solve the problem. But I cannot set myself to it. Doing much problems doesn't sound lazy, but in fact it is. Since I did them on aut

### Chess talent = ability to be not overwhelmed

It is some time ago that I started to investigate the advice of NM Dan Heisman about becoming better at tactics. Since then a few definite conclusion were formulated. If you are good at chess or not has everything to do with how easy your mind is overwhelmed by many possibilities. If you are easy overwhelmed, like me, you are bad at chess. Good chessplayers are able to prune irrelevant lines early. It doesn't make much difference if the pruning is justified. What is left is sufficient to work with and be not overwhelmed by it. This makes theorists and purists bad chessplayers beforehand. You can compare it with the pruning as it is done in chess engines. Every now and then a branch will we pruned with a better line in it. A line that only could have been discovered by brute force. But since brute force takes too many resources, it is a less viable way to find the best move within a reasonable time. From all methods reasoning proved to be the best way to add pruning. This

### Doing something

. . . . In the position above you can place the rook in three different kind of places where it performs three different kind of actions: On Rg1: Nothing. On Rf1: Taking away squares from the knight. On Rd1: Attacking the knight. Full potential. On every square where you place the rook it attacks 14 squares. That is its full potential. Mobility. If you place the rook at f1 the possibilities of the knight are diminished by two squares. At the same time the full potential of the rook is limited by two squares. That leads to its actual possibilities. Its mobility. Full potential - limitations = actual possibilities = mobility. Attack. If  the rook attacks the knight, there comes a tactical element into the game. The problem though is that you can chase the knight untill the cows come home, it simply moves away. Tactics naturally flow from good positions. Attacking is useless as long as the enemy has enough posibilities to meet the problem. In order to make an attack

### Eval()

Although I haven't posted for a while, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy with chess. I'm learning a new programming language, and what better idea is there than to experiment with programs for chess? So I dived among other things into the world of the chess engines. I always found it very troublesome that a chess engine didn't explain to me how it acquired its value of the best move. It is nice that you are +70 centipawns ahead, but how much is contributed by mobility and how much by king safety? I found a good open source engine (hattip to mr. Z) and I changed it so that is writes now down the analysis parameters in a database. The next step is two write a program that can show the positions from the database and the development of the parameters during the game. The goal is to get a hunch how the tipping point of a game is reached. Which parameters are adding together and break the draw margin at the end? How does move 7 contribute to this? What I not