Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blunderchecking: I should never play blitz

I lose a disheartening number of games because of straight out blunders. Clearly, I am not applying the 'blundercheck' step of my thought process very well. Hence, I have begun a blundercheck vision exercise, which Pawn Sensei helped me develop (see his post here).

The exercises involve training myself to quickly see threatened squares, much like the knight sight drill helped me get the knight's squares to pop out on demand. The exercise is pretty simple. First, bring up a random game in my Fritz database. Click along until the position looks complicated. I pretend I am one side, say, black. I make a white move, and write down how many black and how many white pieces are directly threatened (this was Pawn Sensei's idea, and it is a great way to have an objective measure of my accuracy while minimizing they time spent writing down answers). Material that is attacked twice counts as two attacks. Then, I look in the game log at black's next move, but do not make the move. I visualize making it, and write down how many white and black pieces will be threatened. I do this for ten full moves (20 tempi), and I time myself. I then go back and calculate my error percentage, with the help of Fritz's 'View Threatened Squares' feature.

The goal is to be able to blundercheck quickly, with zero errors. So far, it takes me between six to ten minutes! There is absolutely no way I should be playing blitz. My goal is to get down to about ten seconds per move. Allowing 10 second for writing my answers, I should be finishing the exercise in under four minutes. At the very least, I will do the blundercheck vision exercises until I reach this goal. I also hope it takes less effort the more I practice. So far, it seems to be helping...


Blogger Temposchlucker said...

As I see it, every 100 points difference in rating means thinking 3 x as fast at average (wether this is 2 x or 4 x is not important, you get the idea).
I'm a 1700 player and I can play a 10 minutes blitz game without extreme detoriation of my play.
As a 1600 player I needed at least 30 minutes, as 1500 player 90.

Nevertheless there are a lot of low-rated players who play blitz. But that's not because they like to play chess but because they like to move pieces.

2/19/2006 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger takchess said...

Interesting Idea. I just reread Dan Heisman article post on the seeds of tactical distruction. I did not see the seeds of tactical
in the example positions. I have tossed the idea of specifically writing down positions tactical weaknesses on a group of problems. I want to see if this leads to improved tactical vision.

2/19/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

Hey BDK, are you playing in local club tournaments yet?

If not, why the heck not?
If so, post about your tournament games!

Tournament experience = improvement!
Losses really magnify one's weaknesses. Especially with slow time controls.

2/19/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Patrick. I plan on playing sometime in March or April in a tourney. I did the same one year ago, about 3 weeks [!] after I started playing chess. I did this, hoping to play each year, to monitor my progress.

You are right, though. There's nothing quite like it.

Frankly, I am amazed at how crappy I still am at chess given how much effort I put in the past year or so. Chess is bloody hard.

2/19/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

You are on the right track. Give up blitz.

Dan Heisman says you need minimum 30 minutes to play "Real" as opposed to "Blitz" chess.

I'm enjoying myself MUCH more in chess since I gave up blitz. And I rarely hang pieces, which I used to do a lot in blitz.

Incidentally, (key point here) the kind of low-rated players who play chess like a video-game ( all reflexes, no brain ) get a big advantage over Real chess players in blitz who must either :

1)keep losing on time in a futile effort to play Real chess in blitz time or
2) play the same kind of superficial crappy moves that levels the playing field with people who don't know much about the game.

Yeah I know Fischer, Kasporov or Anand could play some kick-ass blitz. So what?

2/20/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

Correction: I meant to say "Real" as opposed to "Hope" chess.

2/20/2006 11:35:00 AM  

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