Thursday, April 28, 2005

Thinking Drills Progress Report

I have been at Stage 1 (avoid leaving pieces en prise) in my Thinking Drills for a three days now. It is fun, gets me to play, and motivates me to analyze my games for mistakes afterwards. I thought this would be easy, but I have had to reset my game count twice already! So far, my mistakes come at the end of games when I am under some time pressure, or when I neglect to look for discovered attacks on my pieces. This has made me realize that, to play without making basic mistakes, I need to play longer games (e.g., probably 30 minutes).

One cool observation is that Stage 1 is easiest to carry out quickly when I actively engage the chess vision I have built up in concentric squares: the chess vision allows me to quickly scan the board for pieces I am leaving hanging. It is energizing to experience this interaction between the MDLM and the Thinking Training: they are mutually reinforcing exercises. While I was left somewhat crestfallen by the skepticism from some of the more veteran Knights, my experience after a few days is encouraging. As I've said, I think this is because I am such a beginner that I can actually benefit from this (just as I have benefitted from concentric squares which many Knights skipped because they had the skills already).

I also realized that each stage is really just a small incremental addition to tactical thinking (e.g., avoiding discovered attacks, pins, skewers are all in there, until Stage 5 when there isn't a simple algorithm, and you are basically trying to maintain progress on the simple cases).

I predict that doing Thinking Drills in concert with, rather than after, microdrills and Circles will help me a lot in the long run.


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