#### Only Chess Forum

1. 21 Mar '10 19:11
I expect this is hopeless, but I'll post anyway...

I'm reading Analysis of Variations, Ch1 of Kotov's Think Like a Grandmaster. To Kotov, it seems that the main component of calculation is time management: players spend too much time revisiting lines already considered, fail to properly allocate their clock time between candidate lines, and so on. Reading his examples, my problem is far more basic. I simply can't visualize the board position more than a few moves ahead, even when he's telling me what the main lines are. I'm pretty good when pieces move around empty squares. The problems start when squares become empty or change contents due to capture and recapture. I keep getting distracted by the current contents of the square.

Is there any technique, or is it just practice? For example, do you look at the board as is, then superimpose moves, or do you build up an independent representation of the board? It occurs to me that players who are capable of playing blindfold (a skill which seems like magic to me) would be able to analyse to any depth. So perhaps it's 'simply' learning to imagine the 8x8 board in your head.
2.  orion25
Art is hard
21 Mar '10 20:20
Originally posted by Fizzer
I expect this is hopeless, but I'll post anyway...

I'm reading Analysis of Variations, Ch1 of Kotov's Think Like a Grandmaster. To Kotov, it seems that the main component of calculation is time management: players spend too much time revisiting lines already considered, fail to properly allocate their clock time between candidate lines, and so on. Readi ...[text shortened]... to any depth. So perhaps it's 'simply' learning to imagine the 8x8 board in your head.
I think it is pretty much just practise. Doing loads of tactic puzzles will probably help - while solving try not to move the pieces until you are sure the answer is correct. As to blindfold chess, I don't think being able to successfully view and remember a current position is the same as quickly visualizing how the board looks like a few moves later. But I have never played blindfold, so who am I?
3. 21 Mar '10 20:30
beyond practice one thing is interesting I would say: annotation. writing down games, (in pgn like format 1.d4 d5 2. c4 etc) forces you to do that kind of thing.

Then, I found it very interesting to try to understand what you are exactly doing when thinking without the board (and consequently even with a board): are you reproducing the picture of the board in your mind, where you would see the pieces as you see them concretely? do you consider all possibilities as a logical tree? are you conceptualizing "lines of force" like: I know that my bishop is on this diagonal, and so that it goes through the center white squares, as does my Knight on on the other side)? what do such lines of force mean?
4. 21 Mar '10 20:44
I know it's vague but what can we tell you.
Practise, practise and practise.
The more you do it the better you become. It just happens.

Here I usually say it's best to use a full size board when doing puzzles
to get the full effect but I've come to the opion if you play on screen
then you need screen vision as well.

It took me a fair while to get used to playing blitz on a screen postage stamp.
Even now I lemon or have to triple check a combination.

I use to do tests/mazes like this. You must do it in your head.

Only the Bishop moves, the Black pieces stay where they are.

You must take the Black King.

You are not allowed to move onto a square protected by a Knight.
(this actually helps you solving it as it cuts down your options).
5. 21 Mar '10 21:30
I never actually visualize in the sense of "seeing" a physical representation of the resulting position in my minds eye.
6. 21 Mar '10 21:32
Originally posted by Fizzer
I expect this is hopeless, but I'll post anyway...

I'm reading Analysis of Variations, Ch1 of Kotov's Think Like a Grandmaster. To Kotov, it seems that the main component of calculation is time management: players spend too much time revisiting lines already considered, fail to properly allocate their clock time between candidate lines, and so on. Readi ...[text shortened]... to any depth. So perhaps it's 'simply' learning to imagine the 8x8 board in your head.
Quite frankly if it were not for the analysis board here I would play 300 points below my already inflated rating! (I actually hope that the analysis board is helping me to also visualize but I usually just visualize dinner.)

(But Kotov gives a bunch of rules when it should come naturally. I think Soltis in his book says that people are different and they analyze differently. Tal and Capablanca just 'saw' positions. Lasker and Alekhine could kill oaks with the variations they carried around in their heads.) Practice, practice, and then practice again and again but don't become a slave to rules.
7. 21 Mar '10 22:58
But really, getting used to annotations is quite useful I think; and also being capable to picture the board (is g3 white? can you go from g3 to f8 with two moves of a knight, that kind of stuff)
8.  nimzo5
Ronin
22 Mar '10 15:25
Visualization definitely can be improved with practice. There are lots of different methods but pretty much anything that is making you work at it should suffice. Takes patience you will get better with time.
9.  thesonofsaul
King of the Ashes
22 Mar '10 20:38
I've improved my "chess momory" by memorizing entire games. . . along with variations and tactical traps along the way. This takes a while, but even after doing just one I felt noticeable improvement.

I call this "memorizing the understanding." Just remembering the moves isn't good enough. However, if you also memorize possible blunders on both sides and the ensuing variations (at least for several moves until the advantage for one side is obvious) you have the benefit of not only improving your ability to remember moves but also the ideas in the resulting positions after those moves.

I know. It sounds too much like work. It is actually quite easy, however, and enjoyable, too. All you need to do is start slowly playing through an annotated game. Every time you either reach a side variation or discover--and write down-- one yourself play through that. When you are done, return the pieces to the initial position and start again. By the time you are done you've gone over the game so many times from the start that most of it sticks in your head without any effort at all. Even by the third game memorized in this way I hardly had to exert any effort at all. Absolutely worth a try and the time given to it.
10.  Paul Leggett
Chess Librarian
23 Mar '10 00:43
Originally posted by thesonofsaul
I've improved my "chess momory" by memorizing entire games. . . along with variations and tactical traps along the way. This takes a while, but even after doing just one I felt noticeable improvement.

I call this "memorizing the understanding." Just remembering the moves isn't good enough. However, if you also memorize possible blunders on both side ...[text shortened]... hardly had to exert any effort at all. Absolutely worth a try and the time given to it.
Rec'd. I have done this simply because I enjoyed the game in question, and then only later realized how much I had gained, and how it carries over to other aspects of my play.

Paul
11. 23 Mar '10 12:08 / 2 edits
I think - Improve Your Chess Now by Tisdall - discusses this topic especially in relation to the Kotov book.
12.  peacedog
Highlander
23 Mar '10 12:21
Originally posted by Fizzer
I expect this is hopeless, but I'll post anyway...

I'm reading Analysis of Variations, Ch1 of Kotov's Think Like a Grandmaster. To Kotov, it seems that the main component of calculation is time management: players spend too much time revisiting lines already considered, fail to properly allocate their clock time between candidate lines, and so on. Readi ...[text shortened]... to any depth. So perhaps it's 'simply' learning to imagine the 8x8 board in your head.
Isn't Kotov's Think Like a Grandmaster a load of bollocks?

The old tree thing?

How can anyone think like that?

I can't.

Isn't the skip from one thing to the other, then back again, how the human mind works?
13.  nimzo5
Ronin
23 Mar '10 12:47
I don't think even Kotov rigidly followed his system. Tisdall does have a good response in his book, as do many others.

With the fide time control of 90+30sec, it's never been more critical to have an efficient method though. Identifying candidate moves, and going through each quickly is key. If I am skipping back and forth between variations it's because my candidate moves stink.
14.  SwissGambit
Caninus Interruptus
23 Mar '10 18:38 / 1 edit
Originally posted by greenpawn34
I know it's vague but what can we tell you.
Practise, practise and practise.
The more you do it the better you become. It just happens.

Here I usually say it's best to use a full size board when doing puzzles
to get the full effect but I've come to the opion if you play on screen
then you need screen vision as well.

It took me a fair while to ...[text shortened]... re protected by a Knight.
(this actually helps you solving it as it cuts down your options).
b4-a3-b2-g7-h6-e3-a7-b8

Funny how the Bishop has to run around each Knight.

Not sure about the comment on helping solving ... Bg3xb8 seems 'easier' to me.
15. 23 Mar '10 20:48
Thanks guys for the Tisdall book recommendation. It's exactly what I was looking for.