Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 03 Dec '07 15:39
    I've been spending more time reading the "lighter" aspects of chess lately (history, interesting games, etc. rather than deep analysis) and I must say it's given me a fresh perspective on the game.

    In particular, The Immortal Game (a good read) talks a little about the psychological aspects of chess. That's nothing new. He also talks about various studies performed that suggest players "see" patterns in a more abstract form. I can attest to this even at my level. Many people espouse this idea. Heisman talks about it (The Seeds of Tactics I believe) as does Silman and probably dozens of other chess writers.

    Nothing new, right? Well, the studies point out "chunking" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunking_(psychology)) and how the brain can store large amounts of information. This makes sense. A lot of people think chess players memorize entire positions, but clearly we know this to be false. I can generally recall a board position after looking at it for a few seconds, but it has little to do with memorizing each position as it does more general patterns (e.g. knowing that it's the "tabiya" of an opening I know, a known endgame position, etc.).

    So, to my actual point: Would this not further suggest that methods of learning that are more on repetition (PCT) and speed of execution (CTS) are the best for grasping chess at a more macroscopic and pattern-oriented manner? I know it's helped me. My intuition on the board fires a lot quicker than does my ability to calculate, because after all, the better players spend more time calculating more viable lines, whereas less skilled players tend to paralyze themselves with analysis and still not find the best line.

    In closing, I'm suggesting that perhaps many of us are missing the more spatial aspects of the game and instead focusing too much on the minutiae like "Does this opening give me a 0.0000000001 pawn advantage??"
  2. Standard member Kepler
    Demon Duck
    03 Dec '07 15:54
    I think you have a point. There was a programme on the TV recently about memory and intelligence that featured one of the Polgar sisters. She definitely remembered positions by chunking (they even used the word) rather than remembering the individual positions of each piece or the moves that had resulted in the position. She said that her formidable ability was entirely due to her father's system of training the sisters. This suggests that Laszlo Polgar's book Chess, and problems in general, might be a very useful aid to chess improvement.
  3. Standard member chessisvanity
    THE BISHOP GOD
    03 Dec '07 16:53
    Lazlos book..."CHESS: 5334 problems combinations and games"

    is way too easy.

    mates in one? come on...
    mates in 2? ya ok maybe a few hundred but not 2000+ mates in 2.

    Then when it gets interesting(mates in 3) he only gives what 700? positions.

    It should have been a book full of mates in 3 and up.
    Then add the combinational games.
  4. Standard member JonathanB of London
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    03 Dec '07 17:47 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Kepler
    ... There was a programme on the TV recently about memory and intelligence that featured one of the Polgar sisters. She definitely remembered positions by chunking (they even used the word) ....
    That programme was interesting but not very honest.
    e.g. see my comments here:-
    http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com/2006/10/susan-polgars-brilliant-brain.html

    btw:
    if you're interested in pattern recognition you might want to try the exercise in this post:-
    http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com/2007/07/pattern-recognition.html

    the results for which can be found here:-
    http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com/2007/08/pattern-recognition-ii.html
  5. 03 Dec '07 17:52
    If I remember rightly, according to The Psychology of Everyday Things (Don Norman), research has shown that GMs are far better than ordinary people at remembering chess positions - but that their advantage almost vanishes if random, none realistic positions are used. Which supports the 'chunking' idea.
  6. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    03 Dec '07 17:54
    Originally posted by chessisvanity
    Lazlos book..."CHESS: 5334 problems combinations and games"

    is way too easy.

    mates in one? come on...
    mates in 2? ya ok maybe a few hundred but not 2000+ mates in 2.

    Then when it gets interesting(mates in 3) he only gives what 700? positions.

    It should have been a book full of mates in 3 and up.
    Then add the combinational games.
    and still, judit polgar is a tactical monster and we are not.
  7. 03 Dec '07 18:25
    Originally posted by wormwood
    and still, judit polgar is a tactical monster and we are not.
    that's true, but the point is, did she become a tactical monster with that kind of training (which she suggests) or with another method.

    I'm no master of course, but I think one should have both. i.e. a great amount of short-easy pattern-recognition based tactical training, and a great amount of calculation training. (probably more of the latter.)
  8. Standard member Ragnorak
    For RHP addons...
    03 Dec '07 18:44
    Originally posted by chessisvanity
    Lazlos book..."CHESS: 5334 problems combinations and games"

    is way too easy.

    mates in one? come on...
    mates in 2? ya ok maybe a few hundred but not 2000+ mates in 2.

    Then when it gets interesting(mates in 3) he only gives what 700? positions.

    It should have been a book full of mates in 3 and up.
    Then add the combinational games.
    I think you may be missing the point of mate in 1s.

    When starting out an attack, you'll generally (whether consciously or not), find an ideal position, and then try to figure out how to achieve that position. Doing lots of mate in 1 puzzles fill your mind with these ideal positions/mating patterns, and then you'll see them in more and more positions, deeper and deeper.

    It's not the solving of the mate in 1s that is important, it's the memorising of the patterns.

    D
  9. 03 Dec '07 19:29
    Originally posted by Ragnorak
    I think you may be missing the point of mate in 1s.

    When starting out an attack, you'll generally (whether consciously or not), find an ideal position, and then try to figure out how to achieve that position. Doing lots of mate in 1 puzzles fill your mind with these ideal positions/mating patterns, and then you'll see them in more and more positions, de ...[text shortened]... t the solving of the mate in 1s that is important, it's the memorising of the patterns.

    D
    Right, exactly. I probably couldn't remember a single mate-in-one puzzle that I've done, but what allows for a mate-in-one is easily remembered, and it's these possibilities that show up in games. Weak kingside pawn structure, bishop attacking f2/f7, etc.

    http://www.chesstactics.org/ is a good resource for studying tactics in this manner. He does a nice job of not just asking you to solve the puzzles; rather, he actually goes through the thought process that helps you determine whether to even bother looking.
  10. 03 Dec '07 19:36
    Originally posted by diskamyl
    that's true, but the point is, did she become a tactical monster with that kind of training (which she suggests) or with another method.

    I'm no master of course, but I think one should have both. i.e. a great amount of short-easy pattern-recognition based tactical training, and a great amount of calculation training. (probably more of the latter.)
    I think all forms are beneficial, but I think rather than just having puzzles to solve that being able to identify them in the game is important. This is what I meant by using something like PCT. I've only used it for endgames and some openings, but it does a good job training your mind/eye so that you literally don't have to think anymore.

    I'm suggesting that there might be better methods for chess players to chunk strategic and/or tactical possibilities. For example, consider an "Anderssen's Mate." It's a lot easier to chunk (sorry to keep using that word, but I don't know how else to describe it) that rather macroscopic pattern than it is to individually look for kingside weakness, bishop/queen/whatever pointing to that kingside, etc.

    The easiest example is probably that of a back rank mate. Everyone knows this one, and it's one of the more common mate threats. Everyone chunks this bit of information just fine, and rarely do people actually have to sit and analyze a back rank weakness. Why can't this also be true for everything else?
  11. Standard member Ragnorak
    For RHP addons...
    03 Dec '07 19:50
    Originally posted by Chesswick
    http://www.chesstactics.org/ is a good resource for studying tactics in this manner. He does a nice job of not just asking you to solve the puzzles; rather, he actually goes through the thought process that helps you determine whether to even bother looking.
    Understanding Chess Tactics by Martin Weteschnik is a superb read, which can be done without a board. I think you'd enjoy it. Coupled with a fair bit of time on CTS, I reckon most players' ratings would go up a fair bit.

    D
  12. 03 Dec '07 20:34
    Originally posted by Ragnorak
    Understanding Chess Tactics by Martin Weteschnik is a superb read, which can be done without a board. I think you'd enjoy it. Coupled with a fair bit of time on CTS, I reckon most players' ratings would go up a fair bit.

    D
    Thanks for the recommendation. That might be pretty close to what I'm talking about. I'll have to give it a read and see...
  13. Standard member Red Night
    RHP Prophet
    03 Dec '07 20:36
    Originally posted by mtthw
    If I remember rightly, according to The Psychology of Everyday Things (Don Norman), research has shown that GMs are far better than ordinary people at remembering chess positions - but that their advantage almost vanishes if random, none realistic positions are used. Which supports the 'chunking' idea.
    I have read the same thing.
  14. Standard member chessisvanity
    THE BISHOP GOD
    04 Dec '07 01:15
    Originally posted by Ragnorak
    I think you may be missing the point of mate in 1s.

    When starting out an attack, you'll generally (whether consciously or not), find an ideal position, and then try to figure out how to achieve that position. Doing lots of mate in 1 puzzles fill your mind with these ideal positions/mating patterns, and then you'll see them in more and more positions, de ...[text shortened]... t the solving of the mate in 1s that is important, it's the memorising of the patterns.

    D
    I see.

    Now I understand.
    Forgive me...I am but a humble 1300...
  15. 04 Dec '07 01:30
    Apparently Kramnik got Laszlo Polgar's book after his match with Fritz.