Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New and improved chess excuses

The sun was in my eyes, my mouse slipped, he cheated, he played on in a lost position, her ample bosom distracted me, he played off book, I had a hangover, etc.. Here's a new one that I've heard a couple of Knights allude to, which I would like to declare: I have been doing too many tactical problems!

The fact that my previous 45/45 game was lost largely to to quiescence errors (see previous post) is troubling because such errors are so elementary. (See this Heisman article for a discussion of such errors.) It wasn't that I missed the captures my opponent had, but I just lazily thought, "Oh, I'll be able to make up the material" without actually doing the calculations to see if I was right!?

I think that part of the reason for this apparent laziness is that I have been solving exclusively one- to two-move problems in CTB, and it has started to become a habit to only think a couple of moves ahead, even for obvious move sequences. Longer sequences become cognitively screened off because I know that's not what CTB is looking for. I need to be wary of such pernicious side-effects of my tactical training!

While troubling, the counting/quiescence errors should be some of the easiest to fix if I am just disciplined during the game. I have to think through the consequences of every serious candidate move to see how the dust might settle. I have always been surprised that there aren't more elementary tactical problems that are meant to help you avoid quiescence errors. Wolff's Idiot's Guide to Chess has about a dozen such problems. I'll do them again. I'd like to get my hands on a thousand such problems.

8 Comments:

Blogger DreadPirateJosh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/05/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea... you are totally correct I think. I think it is an important skill to recognize critical moments in the game and do all the calculation necessary during those moments. Instead of thinking about how many moves ahead you calculate, just keep calculating until you are sure you are better (or move on to another candidate move if current calculation doesn't look appealing). Also, maybe it is time to move on to 3 to 4 move calculations? When I did that with PCT, it was frustrating at first but my rating went up at least 100-200 points after a while.

7/05/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

At CTS they wish you good luck when you have to move. If you make an error they react with "bad luck".
So chess is a game of fortune, no excuse needed. Worship Caissa and everything will become allright.

7/07/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Druss said...

Yes, I agree with you and the comments - there is a danger in solving too many tactical problems.

You could try CT Art. Levels 20 and 30 aren't too much more difficult, and you have to consider longer chains of moves.

But also I have found that solving problems can make me lazy, or at least make me think that there is always a killer tactical shot out there that can get my material back ... which isn't always the case.

7/08/2006 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

"Too many tactical problems"?!?
I'm glad I'm still far away from that point:)

7/08/2006 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger Dr Munky said...

Too many tactical problems or two many two move problems?
If you've reached a level of proficiency with two move problems you should really move on if you are to really go forward. There is a danger of getting stuck reading too much Fun with Dick and Jane problems that make you feel better about your chess rather than really stretch yourself.
Good luck

7/08/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Yes, it is the two and fewer move problems. As I move on in the circles the problems will increase in difficulty, and I think it's important to get to where I'm ~98% for these two-move problems.

But while doing these problems, when I play games I just need to be wary of the cognitive rhythm they produce in me!

7/08/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Quiescence is the problem for sure. Keep playing and this will go away though. Play enough games and get punished enough times and this bad habit will go away.

You will start to see the tactical possiblities after you play a few hundred more games.

7/09/2006 09:31:00 PM  

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