Sunday, January 07, 2007

Checks, Captures, Threats Revisited

This year is now a week old, and I have done CTS every day, and I have not made one single error yet. That is, a blank 585, I think I doubled my old personal record.

Several times I have been on the verge to blunder, but each time I have been sucessful with my new character LookTwice, called after the rule «If you see a good move, look for a better one.» Of course you will not earn much rating with such a strategy, but this is not my goal. My goal is to practise the right approach looking at a position for slow OTB games.

Several more times I have spent a huge time amount on very low rated problems, and it is interesting to see how this happened. In nearly every case my fault has been not looking at checks first, because a capture or a threat jumped into my eye. Or if I saw a check, not looking at other possible checks before calculating it.

It also turns out that it is more difficult to figure out what is NOT on the board than what is on it. This is why I use much time, sometimes 20 or 30 seconds, just to decide that a direct recapture is the best move.

Maybe I have found my thought process now, and all I need is to practise it on CTS until it has become my second nature:
  1. Is there a tactic? If yes, meet/exploit it. If not, play a positional move (at CTS mostly: recapture).
  2. When it comes to candidate moves, sort them in the order of checks, captures, threats.
  3. If you see a good move, look for a better one (CTS example: Checkmate rather than taking the Queen).

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