Monday, October 02, 2006

Back to chess: mmmmm....Chunky

The World Championship is back! Kramnik and Topolov played to a draw today. What a relief.

I have been working on tactics each day, and have updated my plan a bit. Even in my first mini-circle I am taking no more than two minutes per problem. This will help me finish these damned things in my lifetime. Hence, I am focused on using even the early Circles to build up patterns rather than calculation skills.

On the other hand, simply learning the patterns should make me a better calculator. This is based on that whole 'chunking' theory from cognitive psychology. I can remember seven or so letters in a random string after you tell them to me, but if someone tells me multiple words that form a coherent sentence (e.g., 'Working class people of the world unite') I can easily remember dozens of letters. The tactical patterns I am learning should become my sentences, or cognitive chunks. They can serve as the basic units of calculation and free me from working out the details within those chunks. For example, if I see a mating motif I don't have to spend a lot of time calculating the specific moves in that chunk: I literally calculate using the motif rather than the individual pieces and moves.

I am not saying that thinking through concrete move sequences with individual pieces is unnecessary, but that learning patterns has a positive synergy with calculation.

Did I just use the word 'synergy' in a non-ironic way? Crap.

This note was catalyzed by a discussion over at Takchess.


Blogger Temposchlucker said...

About the WC, I can imagine why someone hesitates to shake hands with somebody who has been to the bathroom 50 times:)

10/02/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger takchess said...

The trick is to recognize the chunk you buried in the position and to simplify to it. Some chunks for me are easier to recognize like those problems, that open an h7 file, sac a couple of rooks and mate with the queen on the back rank.

While a boden mate I might pass right by in a game.

10/05/2006 05:54:00 AM  

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