Saturday, September 09, 2006

Are We All Crazy?

When I read all these recents posts of mine and of other Knights, I must say, o God, o God, are we all crazy? I read such things as a systematic of a thousand pin patterns. I see lists of basic checkmates that go into dozens, and to these all traps must be added, queentraps, rooktraps, bishoptraps, knighttraps, oh, oh.

When I ask myself if such lists (hundreds of items, categorized, all this stuff) can help me to improve at Chess Tactics Server or at real games, I come to the one and only answer. No. No, no, no. Definitely no.

Why? Chess is basically a simple game. I mean, the pieces and what they can do are a very limited set of rules. Complexity comes into it by the combination of these simple elements to clusters. Now we have two ways of dealing with it: We can build huge lists of these clusters and make things complicated. Or we can improve our ability to filter the simple things out and to handle them quickly and with precision.

Today I have decided to quit the list club. Well, not completely. I keep the list of eight basic checkmates, because I find it very useful. And it is simple enough to be handled in practical situations.

I have come to the conclusion that chess training should meet two goals: improving chess vision and improving chess processing.

Chess vision must be optimized in two directions
  1. excentric: Look at a piece and spot all squares that are controlled by that piece.
  2. concentric: Look at a piece or square and spot all pieces that attack and defend that square.
Chess processing is all the stuff about values of pieces, priority (check before threat before other moves), tempo gain and tempo loss, checkmate, stalemate, zugzwang, eternal check, pawn promotion, discrimination of dangerous from harmless threats, and the like.

That's it, boys. And now I end this post an go to CTS, training my chess vision and processing abilities.


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