Saturday, August 19, 2006

Silent Errors

Bad luck! You failed to solve ... This message on CTS tells you that you have an opportunity to learn. The trick is to find out what you did wrong and what you should do better next time. So far so good. But errors are much more frequent. They even occur when you win against the problem. They may even occur if you win fast and you gain rating points!

You do not believe me? Just a common example. You see a good move. You wait for the move of the problem. You are about to do what you have seen before. Then, oops, you see that your king is in check. You parry the check and then make your winning move. The silent error is that you did not check king safety first.

I have found that I lose rating points mainly because of such silent errors:
  • not checking king safety first
  • not checking queen safety second
  • looking too long at patterns that do not work
  • stopping to look for more unprotected pieces after I have found one
  • ...
Conclusion: CTS is an excellent tool for training of thought process on the micro-level, that is, in the millisecond range. It is important always to do the most important things first, no matter how beautiful the patterns that jump into your eyes. You can win a queen? Forget about it as long as you did not look for a mate! In most cases the six seconds before the problem makes its move are enough to decide if you can go for mate or not.


At 2:05 AM, Blogger wormstar said...

that's my weakness as well. but it's an improvement for me, as previously I didn't look for the check even as the last thing... makes sense to look at king safety first though, I probably should try to start doing it...

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said...

The safety check must be embedded in the unconscious part of your brain.

As Capablanca answered on a question asked after a simul "how much candidate moves do you look at at average?" with: "only one. The right one."

At 1:04 PM, Blogger wormstar said...

I guess that's the way it goes. -like when I first started doing systematic blunder checking, and didn't drop a piece in 30+ games. after a while I stopped checking, but I still don't drop pieces unless I'm very tired. before I dropped maybe one piece in every three games, so the improvement was huge.

and I only did it for 1-2 months (40-50 games) before stopping. seems it was enough to make it into an unconscious reflex.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Mousetrapper said...

I completely agree with both of you. And the word «embedded» is just the point of it. Safety check not as first thing, not as last thing, but as an always thing. Have a constant eye on the kings all the time. Always. Automatic. As a reflex. Without thinking. Without checklist. Just not let the kings slip away from your eyes. If there is no danger, some milliseconds will do it. If you are under a heavy attack, it may take you minutes.


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