## Posts

Showing posts from June, 2016

### Elaborating on the initiative

The position from the previous post is one of seven positions of 80 of my failures at CT. The seven positions have in common that there are mutual captures, and I feel I have difficulty to grasp exactly what is going on in them. That feeling is highly personal,and it is difficult to explain. But that feeling indicates there is something wrong with my approach what needs to be corrected. The effects of what is wrong are not limited to this position, it has a much broader effect. Which means that correction will have an impact on my capability to solve other positions of the same type, whatever “type” might mean here. That is exact what we want to learn, skills that transfer to other positions. We agreed on the idea that we cannot improve our calculation if we cannot improve at M1. No one so far managed to improve at M1 in a convincing way which is usable as template for further improvement. This means we must be smarter than that, and seek improvement elsewhere. One area where we

### I'm not seeing it. Yet.

In a previous post about seeing vs calculation , I showed you a few diagrams of puzzles where I find it difficult to see the solution. The following diagram is from the first puzzle of that post . After 1.Bxd4 Nxc5. White to move It shows the position after 1.Bxd4 Nxc5 The winning move is 2.Bxg7 and I can see why it is winning. Not only does the move capture the bishop, it also threatens the black queen. It is a discovered attack. In the time that black needs to save his queen, white can bring his bishop into safety. What I don't see though, is why 2.Bxc5 is not winning. Apparently the move does the same as 2.Bxg7, a discovered attack taking a piece and threatening the black queen. As usual, this post is not about this position . I use the position as a vehicle to show you something. We look at CCT, which describes what to look for in order of forcingness. That order is handy because it prunes branches with lesser forcing moves, preventing you from calculating unnece

### In search for the archetypical double attack

The archetypical image of a double attack is fairly simple. One attacker, one attacking square, two targets, all three are in contact with the attacking square. The "Y" could very well serve as its symbol. The attacker plays an important role in the geometrical shape of the double attack. A knight fork, a pawn fork, a rook fork etcetera all have different geometrics that are clearly recognizable. The angles between the attacker, attacking square and targets can differ, and so can the distance to the attacking square. The double attack is a member of the duple attack family, which means that it has two targets. And that is where matters become a bit quirky, since a target can be a piece, or one of the other tactical themes. Let me show you a few puzzles where the first move is a double attack, but with different targets. Piece + Piece Piece + Mate Piece + Invasion Piece + Loading a discovered attack Piece + Deflection of overworked defender Piece + Coercion into ano

### Seeing vs Calculation

From the 80 puzzles I have studied, there is a certain amount of which I have difficulty to SEE the actual solution. I can calculate the solution, of course, but I have the feeling that it should be possible to see it. But somehow, my mind is protesting against that. The other puzzles I have studied change from complex to simple, once I found the solution and investigated that. Once a solution has become simple, I can see it. No calculation is required any more. It is clear. But the positions I'm talking about now, remain somewhat cloaked, even after the solution is investigated and has become well known. I am not able to see the entire solution, but I must still calculate parts of the solution. So far, I haven't found the common factor in these positions. I hope you can help me to find that: Diagram 1 Diagram 2 Diagram 3 Diagram 4 Diagram 5 Diagram 6 Diagram 7 Only 7 out of 80 isn't too bad, of course, but I have the idea that I can learn something spec

### Sniffing glue

I have gathered about 70 puzzles which I failed. The next step is to milk every drop of knowledge out of these positions. For now I skip the mates, since they need a separate approach. I tagged the puzzles according to my own system. There are eight main tactical themes by which one can gain wood: Double attack Discovered attack Pin Skewer/RÃ¶ntgen attack Simultaneous attack Trap Promotion Incorrect sacrifice/hanging piece Whenever wood is gained, at least one of these themes must be present. In a combination, these themes can be connected directly. For instance, a discovered attack has two targets, and one of the targets can be the attacking square of a double attack. But the main themes can be glued together by a series of different themes too: Coercion Redeployment Distraction Blockade Interference Overloading Removal of the guard Exchange target piece Capture All these glueing themes have in common that they preserve the initiative, which means they are a me

### From complex to simple in ten minutes

Some things have gone awfully wrong during my chess education. For such flaws in my skills, I pay the price time and again. There are positions where you know you should see the clue immediately, but you don't. For instance this position: Black to move 4N3/1p1r1p1k/p1p1r1np/2P1nRp1/1P2PbP1/2B4P/1P2BK2/3R4 b - - 1 1 solution The last move of white was 1.Ne8. Can I take it? What worries me is the rook on d7. Its defender(s) can be harassed. Can I exchange this problem piece off with 1. ... Rxd1 first? But what about the zwischenzug 2.Nf6+ ? The knight sits well defended on f6. After I found the solution, I spent ten minutes about thinking why this position takes me so much time, and how I could fix that. I came up with the following reasoning: 1. ... Rxd1 captures a rook. This places the obligation on whites shoulders to take a rook back. White can postpone his obligation with the threat 2.Nf6+ as a zwischenzug. This would work if black had to remove his king. But if bl

### Law of conservation of misery

In my previous post, you could read that I was going to focus on the vultures view (offence) and the standard defences against whatever attack the vultures view might come up with. Every time I fix my failures, the used time grows. Due to my new focus, I make less errors, but at the expense of using way more time. Although I have the feeling that my approach works, it can't be denied that it is going to take an awful lot of time to make some serious rating progress. Somehow I absorb the newly discovered patterns too slow. I suspect that the reason for that is, that the frequency of occurrence of the same pattern is too low. There are quite a lot of patterns to absorb, but it takes often days or weeks before you encounter a certain pattern again, and that is not an efficient way to learn. I selected 100 failures. Since the amount of new patterns is vast yet finite, I'm going to analyze these 100 puzzles more deeply. With the emphasis on categorization of the patterns. Someh

### Expert in failure

Besides categorizing chess puzzles according to their tactical characteristics, I try to categorize them according to the mental characteristics that are involved as well. I found the following three main categories: Forgetting the vultures view Sloppy calculation Familiar patterns that are not familiar enough The bulk of the failures is coming from the first two categories. These have a few subcategories in common, like being hasty, fixating on the wrong idea, doing the right move for the wrong reason and so on. Forgetting the vultures view The vultures view should be the first line of offence. The fact that I still forget to look where my pieces go is due to a lack of discipline in combination with decades long bad habits. Sloppy calculation After the vultures view from your own perspective, the possible lines of attack should be clear. Now the possible defences of your opponent should be considered. There are five possible standard answers: Counter attack Capture the

### Grand scheme of an attack

This weekend I have been thinking about what is the best way to proceed. Once, I analyzed a lot of sacrifices at f7 from Polgars middlegame brick. I could distil a few rules out of it about when such sacrifice will work and when not. These rules help me to judge such positions fast. The accompanying patterns are burned into the brains, so it works fast too. At first sight, this seems a logical way to go. Knowledge is acquired by looking at common factors, and both the knowledge and the corresponding patterns are stored, and easy to retrieve. Yet there are a few drawbacks with this. I studied about 120 positions, and only about 28 or so fitted into the same template of an attack on f7. This means that there are 90 positions that don't fit into any general scheme. Maybe it is possible to categorize these too, but I might very well end up with 70 categories or so. Although the method of categorizing positions with the same features into templates works in itself, there are so many