Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another tool for solution implants

The fourth step of my solution-oriented approach to learning tactical problems is to explain the solution to myself. In my previous description of this step, I wrote:
This step is inspired by the study that showed explaining moves to oneself improves memory of the solution. My explanations involve a description of the major tactical and strategic elements involved in the combination, particularly focusing on plans that the position demands. For instance, "A mating net initialized by decoying his rook to h5, which cleared the g-file for my rook battery." I also identify the general features of the position that made the tactic possible (e.g., he only has a knight on his kingside, while I have four pieces in that area and an open file).
I've added a more visual element to this purely linguistic-narrative account. It is inspired by the 5x5 miniboards in CT-Art that pop up, little wonderful boards that distill out the essence of the solution. What I do is determine all of my material that is essential for carrying out the tactic in the position (e.g., the two rooks on the c-file, the bishop on e6). I then focus just on that material, until it pops out at me as a higher-level visual pattern, and the other pieces sort of recede into the background. This helps me to strip away the extraneous details of the position and focus on its tactical essence, sort of like the 5x5 board does. I then go back through the solution, focusing on how this material core coordinates to implement the tactic. Often there is tons of material hanging around that is doing nothing: a small subset is actually taking part in the action.

I don't know if it will help, but it is really fun and cool when I do it. Just as the Knight's landing squares pop out with enough training, I am hoping that the tactical essence of these positions will pop out on subsequent viewings. One thing I am learning: typically 3-5 pieces are involved in mating nets. Perhaps that's why my two-piece attacks rarely work :)


Blogger Temposchlucker said...

I then go back through the solution, focusing on how this material core coordinates to implement the tactic

I do it the same way.

9/23/2007 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tempo: working on all these complicated tactics in Phase 5 of CTB has hurt my game. I'm forgetting to look for the simple stuff: checks, captures, one-move tactics (I missed a simple fork the other night, for instance).

I'm gonna write a lengthy post about this (a supplement to the 'woe is me' post).

9/23/2007 12:25:00 PM  

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