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Showing posts from April, 2016

### Condensing logical reasoning to knowledge

While I solve a puzzle, I observe which subjects are consuming the most time. That are potential the subjects where I can improve the most. In this post about time usage I already made a list of a few time consumers. What stands out, is that there are a lot decisions in the list. In chess you must constantly make decisions, and when you base them on logical reasoning, they tend to take an awful lot of time. It are these time consumers that must be taken on for a speed overhaul. If I can devise a set of rules for certain positions, then I can condense the logical reasoning into knowledge. Knowledge that might be automated later on. In the following diagram, I will give it a try. [Disclaimer] As usual, I don't know beforehand what I'm going to write. That means that maybe it isn't even possible what I propose. But that is a result in itself. Besides that, it might give you ideas, which can be helpful when you share them. The position might be trivial to you, great, mayb

### How to speed up logical reasoning

My trial and error is replaced by logical reasoning. I believe that is a necessary step. But logical reasoning is terribly slow. The choice is to loose points due to excessive time usage, or due to erring because of skipping the check for possible refutations. Somehow, the logical reasoning must be sped up. But how to speed up logical reasoning? The thinking itself cannot be sped up. I have been thinking about this for days, but I didn't found a satisfactory method. The only thing I can think of, is that the logical thinking must be condensed into some kind of knowledge, and that this knowledge must be memorized. What I'm going to try, is to categorize important positions, based on the characteristics, in the hope to find some knowledge that is worth categorizing. Maybe someone has a better idea? To err or too late

### Investigating the initiative II

Let's see how a more complex situation works: Diagram 1 Black to move r2q1rk1/pp2ppbp/2p3p1/4Nb2/PP1Pn2N/2nQ2P1/1B2PPBP/R4RK1 b - - 1 1 solution [O] = Offense {D} = Defense Attacks that are easy to spot as harmless are coloured grey . Tasks that play a role in the actual combination are coloured red. White: Nh4 [O] Attack Bf5 [O] Threatens Nxg6 - Rf8 Bg2 [O] Attack Ne4 Qd3 [O] Attacks Ne4 [O] Attacks Nc3 {D} Defends e2 Bb2 [O] Attack Nc3 Ne5 [O] Threatens Nxg6 - Rf8  [O] Threatens Nd7 - Rf8 [O] Threatens Nxf7 - Qd8 [O] Threatens Nxc6 - Qd8  e2 {D} Defends Qd3 d4 {D} Shields Qd3 {D} Defends N Black: Bg7 Attacks Ne5 Bf5 {D} Defends Ne4 [O] Attacks indirect Qd3 Ne4 {D} Defends Nc3 [O] Threatens Nxg3 - Rf1 [O] Threatens Nd2 - Rf1 [O] Threatens Nxf2 - Qd3 [O] Threatens Nc5 - Qd3 Qd8 [O] Attacks d4 [O] Skewers Qd3 Nc3 {D} Defends Ne4 [O] Threatens check at Nxe2+ [O] Threatens Nd1 - Bb2 [O] Threatens Nxa4 - Bb2 This l

### Investigating the initiative

The past month has shown me the importance of applying logic in stead of trial & error. Maintaining the initiative during a combination is probably the most important subject of chess logic. But there are other important subjects too, of course. I plan a series of posts on the initiative. Since I have not the slightest idea where my investigating will lead me, I have no idea how long that series is going to be. I will probably often make use of diagrams with arrows etcetera. Alas doesn't Lucas Chess allow positions without kings, so please don't get distracted by issues in a position not relevant to the subject, like "the remaining endgame is a draw" or something like that. Let's start with a simple position, the removal of the guard: Diagram 1 White to move Pieces perform tasks. A task can be something like "attacking a piece" or "defending a piece". Every task usually consumes a tempo. In general, one attacking move can be answer

### Enjoying the exercises

Today it is exactly a month ago that I quitted the salt mines, in favour of working on a thought process. Which conclusions can be drawn? Board vision. The salt mines I have mined, were specifically designed for improving board vision. While solving exercises at CT the past month, I time and again asked myself: Is my failure or excessive time usage caused by poor board vision? In less then 1% of the cases I found that poor board vision played a decisive roll. In other words: you can't expect much improvement by salt mining when it comes to blitz problems at CT with a rating around 1700. Context of the position. I wanted to create a formal check-list with questions to interrogate the position. That was what I initially understood as being the thought process. In two weeks this check-list developed towards a list of only three questions, which are mainly useful to understand the context of the position: How is the material balance? Is the position about trap, double attack,

### Time usage

The good news is that I replaced a lot of clueless trial & error by logical thinking. The bad news is that logical thinking takes an awful lot of time, so that the nett result is an improvement of only 50 points in rating. Hence the hunt for possibilities to simplify logical thinking is open. In the last years the main motive for seeking chess improvement has been narrowing down to the mere curiosity how the mind works. I'm happy to see that enjoyment in the exercises themselves comes back due to adding logical thinking to the positions. So far I found the following causes of possibly uneconomic time usage: decide with which piece to capture decide which escape square is the best decide which order of moves is best decide whether the counter attack is dangerous or not declining a good move  repetition of lines which are not working Decide with which piece to capture What I need is a decision model. If the piece to capture is defended, then the piece with the lowest v

### Counting

During solving a position, the following diagram came along. White to move 1rr5/4pp1k/p2p2p1/3P4/3bnPPp/B6P/PR4BK/2R5 w - - 0 2 solution It took me about a minute to work out the best sequence to capture. That shows a clear weakness of me, I have the feeling that I should see this kind of sequences immediately. This slows me down in every position with multiple mutual captures. How to improve this? Something really weird happened just yet. The following position took me 5:58 min to solve: White to move  6Q1/pb4r1/1p2N1k1/3p1p2/2P5/7P/1q3P2/2R3K1 w - - 1 1 solution 5:58 min?? Well, I was tired after doing a lot of exercises, but that's a poor reason. It shows a fundamental flaw. The fact that the problem has a blitz rating of 1715 shows that this flaw is pretty common: Problem Blitz Rating:1714.7 Blitz Av Seconds:00:51 Blitz Attempts:200 Blitz Success Rate:64% Problem Standard Rating:1517.4 Standard Av Seconds:02:58 Standard Attempts:790 Standard Succ

### Examples of errors

Overlooking preliminary moves. Diagram 1 White to move Here I overlooked the effect of Ne6, chasing the king into the knight fork (which I missed too). Overlooking simple mate patterns. Diagram 2 White to move Every now and then I miss a simple mate. Missing an overworked piece. Diagram 3 White to move Here I totally missed that after 1.Bxe3 the rook at b8 can't take on b4 without giving up the defense of Rc8. Underestimating my invasion. Diagram 4 Black to move Here I underestimated that the invasion 1. ... Be5 2. Nxe5 Qe1+ leads to mate. I dismissed the move Qe1+ because I had the feeling that white has all sorts of escapes, so I didn't check the move. Wrong choice between two knight moves. Diagram 5 Black to move Here I had to make a choice between 1. ... Ng4 and 1. ... Nf3 Both moves threaten mate with 2. ... Qh2 I chose 1. ... Ng4 because of  the extra knight fork 2. Re2 Nf2+ Hidden behind this, is that I missed the following mate

### Categorizing my failures

When I make an error at CT or use much time, the error usually falls in on of the following categories: When I can attack with one piece in to ways, I always choose the wrong move (say attacking with knight d5 via c3 or e3 the target on d1). When my king is in check and there are four escape squares, I always choose the wrong one. I get easy confused in crowded situations with mutual attacks (see previous post). Preliminary moves. Moves that put the attackers and/or targets in place for a duplo attack. Overworked piece. I overlook those on a regular base. Underestimating the power of my invasion. Endgame. Didn't recognize the mate pattern. It is evident that each category of errors needs its own fix.

### Lesson in initiative

There are all kinds of lessons to be learned from my failures at CT. The following position was not exactly an error, but it took me 3:55 m to get to the right answer, and actually I guessed it right. It revealed a main weakness in my approach to this kind of positions. Black to move and win r5k1/ppp2ppp/3q4/1BQn4/3n1r2/PN5P/1P3PP1/2RR2K1 b - - 1 1 Solution My mind is easily confused by this kind of positions: A lot of pieces of both colours, close together A lot of mutual threats The attack and the counter attack are close together Pieces of different value are exchanged When the pieces are further apart, it is easier to see their aura. With mutual threats, I have trouble with the administration. Especially shifting the focus from the attack to the counter attack is a gruesome experience for my mind, in general. Usually with a counter attack, the one who starts with capturing a piece gains wood, as long as he doesn't run out of pieces to capture. But here the ca

### Tic Tac

Today I reached a new All Time High at CT: 1791 (baseline 1700). I don't know why. Of course I have been busy with developing and implementing a new though process the past weeks. Yet today I just did the exercises without any thinking about a thought process at all. It doesn't feel like I have become faster. It feels like the clock ticks slower. Exercises to implement the new thought process seems to have boiled down to two things: I consequently count the material before starting. I estimate which targets are likely to be going to provide the wood to gain. I'm still working on priorities though, but it remains quite complicated. Tic Tac

### How to speed up a thought process?

The question in the title is far from trivial. I'm doing quite a lot of blitz problems at CT, lately, in an attempt to implement my new thought process. A thought process is maintained by thoughts, and thoughts are notoriously slow by nature. Sometimes I recognize something in the position, and I let trial and error take over. If I'm lucky, I find the solution, but more often than not, I find that I continue to use up time, without remembering that I was busy with a thought process. The conclusion must be: during this stage of implementation of the thought process, I must suppress the inclination to use T&E. The thoughts itself can't be sped up. I asked myself if there could be any salt mine exercise useful to speed up the thought process. I estimated that this might be useful in less than 2% of the cases. The only way to speed up the thought process is to build new cues and patterns by thoroughly analysing the positions, and categorize them in positions with equ

### Examples 2,3: prelimanary moves

The fact that my five step thought process covers all possibilities to gain wood in a forced way, makes that I sometimes can make progress by exclusion. If four of the five steps are excluded, the gain of wood must come from the remaining step. Since 3 of the 5 steps have geometrical characteristics which usually are easy to spot, a lot of time can be saved. Sometimes the solution is obscured by preliminary moves. There are two main types: moves that put the targets into place and moves that put the attackers into place. The moves have in common that the initiative must be preserved, so it are CCT moves. Example 2 Black to move and win 8/5k2/3Rn3/1p3r2/1P5P/2N2RK1/8/4r3 b - - 1 1 solution The winning motif is not visible yet. The targets are not in place. 1. ... Rg1+ preliminary move 1 forces the white king into a skewer 2.Kf2 Rf1+ preliminary move 2 attracts the white king in a double attack 3.Kxf1 Rxf3+ executes the winning double attack. The double attack is not