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  1. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    26 Sep '14 21:43
    Hi all,

    A conversation with another player in my 2014 Championship group reminded me of this, and I told him I was going to share it on the forum because it was long, and others might find it interesting or at least amusing!

    I am a manager at Disney, and a few years ago one of my direct reports was a retired person who worked part time for us, mostly for fun. As I got to know her better, I learned that she was a Master Hypnotist, and we sometimes had to rearrange her schedule because she lectured on the subject.

    Of course, I did what any hack player would do- I asked her if it would help me play better chess. I had a tournament coming up, so I asked for help.

    When I did, she paused for a moment, and then said "First, you must understand that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Forget the 'swinging watches' bunk- it is all about clearing your mind and rearranging your thoughts." (I may be paraphrasing inaccurately)

    I told her I understood.

    She then paused a bit more, and then asked "When you play, do you often look three moves ahead?"

    I replied "Well it depends, but that is a pretty reasonable and accurate assumption."

    She then said "In the next tournament, only look two moves ahead."

    I scored 4.5 out of 5, winning my section of the Florida Class Championship. In every game, I won or drew based on a simple two-move combination that my opponents overlooked.

    I've always assumed that she effectively planted a suggestion that made me pay more attention to such ideas (I was indeed looking two moves ahead), but the bottom line is that I was very pleased.

    Unfortunately, I have not been able to replicate the effect, but it has always made me wonder about the thinking process, and I pay much more attention to those conversations than I did beforehand.
  2. Subscriber 64squaresofpain
    The drunk knight
    27 Sep '14 02:18
    If you can do that much damage just looking 2 moves ahead.....
    imagine what you could do looking further 🙂

    As Master Yoda would say (recent acquisition of Disney): There is no Try, only Do!
  3. 27 Sep '14 09:26
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Hi all,

    A conversation with another player in my 2014 Championship group reminded me of this, and I told him I was going to share it on the forum because it was long, and others might find it interesting or at least amusing!

    I am a manager at Disney, and a few years ago one of my direct reports was a retired person who worked part time for us, mos ...[text shortened]... he thinking process, and I pay much more attention to those conversations than I did beforehand.
    Andrew Soltis in one of his books demonstrates a Karpov Kasparov world championship match where the players did not need to look more than 5 tempi (2 and a half moves) ahead at any given moment.
  4. 27 Sep '14 11:26
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett

    Unfortunately, I have not been able to replicate the effect, but it has always made me wonder about the thinking process, and I pay much more attention to those conversations than I did beforehand.
    Interesting. The advice or trust in it (and therefore in your own capacity) might have been able to clear the mind and improved your positional play instead, seeing the strategies instead of the moves.

    My own play improved a lot when I stopped thinking through move sequences too much each and every time. Now I just trust certain positions and combinations will bring enough promising possibilities. Only a few times in each match I have to think 3+ moves ahead in detail, mostly during the endgame or very closed or muddy positions. And even there I suspect knowing more standard situations and positions might simplify it even further.

    Then again, you're 200 points above my rating so my experience might not be meaningful in that realm. For all I know I'm at my maximum with my current approach! It's just that in the experiences of last year, less meant suddenly more.
  5. 27 Sep '14 12:48
    At our level the two move trick is what chess is all about.
    Master that, spotting the for and against and you will get better.

    Inbetween 2 movers look for or try and create a weakness
    to get into two-mover territory.

    If defending a weakness look for two-movers to get out of it.

    You really only need to calculate if embarking a sacrificial attack on the King.
    In endings it's often just counting, knowing technique and being two move alert.
    (two movers crop up a lot in endings - especially Rook endings.)
  6. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    27 Sep '14 15:14
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Hi all,

    A conversation with another player in my 2014 Championship group reminded me of this, and I told him I was going to share it on the forum because it was long, and others might find it interesting or at least amusing!

    I am a manager at Disney, and a few years ago one of my direct reports was a retired person who worked part time for us, mos ...[text shortened]... he thinking process, and I pay much more attention to those conversations than I did beforehand.
    Perhaps the effect 'wore off' and you need to see her again to recapture the effect.
  7. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    27 Sep '14 23:50
    Originally posted by deejee
    Then again, you're 200 points above my rating so my experience might not be meaningful in that realm. For all I know I'm at my maximum with my current approach! It's just that in the experiences of last year, less meant suddenly more.
    Ratings here have very little value (IMO, anyway), and while I certainly advocate respecting everyone, I would never use a RHP rating as one of the reasons!

    That said, I think you are on the money- overthinking is a common malady amongst our kind.
  8. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    28 Sep '14 02:02
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Ratings here have very little value (IMO, anyway), and while I certainly advocate respecting everyone, I would never use a RHP rating as one of the reasons!

    That said, I think you are on the money- overthinking is a common malady amongst our kind.
    I am amazing in my ability to not overthink a game🙂