Saturday, August 30, 2014

Break Through Plateaus

Most adult chess player don't improve in chess, they reach and stay at a rating plateau. So did i. But chess has so many "elements" : Calculation, Pattern, Board Vision, Visualisation, Positional Understanding, Tactical Vision, Opening, Endgames, Middle game, Attack, Defence, Concentration,....That is too much to learn at once. So i did put my main attention to Tactics. I solved hundred thousands of tactic puzzles and .. reached a rating plateau ( after a few thousand puzzles ). Tactic has so many "elements" : Mate, Material Gain, Pawn promotion, Pattern recognition, Calculation,... Seemingly still too much to learn. So i did put my attention to Board Vision. I did reach a "nice" level in the attack training at ChessGym but not a really high ( GM ) level. And here i made an experiment: i did force myself to use strictly a Thinking method: For 2 hours of training i was first looking for the queens then the rooks then the bishops then knights, pawns and finally the kings. After that i made a biiig improvement in "attack" at chessgym and reached a "real high level".

I think there might be 3 possible reasons why this thinking process did help me improve further
  1.  A systematic thinking process improves the efficiency anyway
  2.  A thinking process dissect the "big" problem "Attack-Board-Vision" to smaller, easier Problems like "Queen-Attack-Board-Vision"... Such easier Problems should be easier to learn too.
  3. I'm thinking of an effect like the dual-n-back training. Thinking at something else simultaneously , did create "more skill"
  4. Maybe that's just a coincidence of some type
 Now i did start to implement a thinking process in my chess training as much as i can. It is really not that easy. My first step is, to constantly think about how i actually think during solving chess problems and try to improve that thinking step by step.

...

Well, i did break an other plateau at ~ 2060 in Tactic Trainer ( an Ipod App) .

 Is it my new way of thinking? Or is it my improved Board Vision? Did i get slower ( then the score improves anyway)? Luck? ...

I continue to write ( and use ) Board Vision Training Programs which support my thinking process. I think my "critical piece" training will help me a lot.
( A critical piece is as often attacked as defended. Such pieces can be successfully forked / double attacked.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

New Board Vision Exercise : 80 000+ Mate in 1 Puzzles

I made a new webpage with 83879 "non trivial" mate in 1 puzzles ( play here)
This is a high level board vision exercise ( or a low level tactical vision exercise). You have to find all possible mate in 1 and click at the moves destination squares. I suggest to do the attack, defense and check exercises of Chessgym.net and Fritz first ( see the links at the right side of this page ). There are 83879 different mate in one exercises available. The problems here have been created using these :"The Art of Direct Mate in Two Moves" by Eduardo Sadier



Examples:

Qd1# ; so click at d1


Nf6# (double check) ; so click at f6


Nc5# ( check by the rook at a6) ; so click at c5


Qf5# or Re2# ; so click at e2 and! f5


  • "Info"
    is link to this page
  • "Done"
    is the number of mates you have found so far
  • "Total"
    the number of available exercises
  • "ProbNo"
    is the current Problem Number
  • "Castle"
    always "-" because no casteling is allowed
  • "EP" 
    always "-" because the last move was never a double move by a pawn
  • "Mates / min"
    thats to improve! This value is only visible after you have "Done" more than 10 mates 
If you want to "cheat" press the "Help" - Button
Start here

Saturday, July 12, 2014

GessGym.net Tactic vs Positional and Tactic vs Board-Vision



ChessGym offers Tactic Puzzles and Positional Puzzles. Some users can be found with their ratings in both: the Tactics-Ranking and in the Positional-Ranking

Positional Understanding starts with a tactics-rating of  1299 / 1,648 ?




ChessGym offers Board Vision Exercises with rating and ranking too:

Its written that the number of chess related chunks is growing exponential with the rating of the chess player. I think board vision is based on chunks ( of the "contacts") too.

I hope that these elementary board vision chunks can help to develop even more and better chunks ( to get a better tactic performance ). I will try to reach 50 in "Attack"

 Its seemingly easier to see which piece is defended than to see which piece is attacked.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Positional Chess Server - Positional Puzzles - Chessgym

Intro
There are many Tactic Servers with many many tactic-puzzles ( well,.. these are combinations and not tactics.. ) with a rating to monitor our "progress". There are endgame puzzles with ratings too, but Positional Puzzles ( well, these are "non cobinational-puzzles ..) had been  missing.

Positional trainingtools 
"Chess Mentor" at chess.com ( premium user )
"Guess the move" at chessgames.com ( premium user )
"Guess the Move" at chesstempo.com ( premium user ) 
"Guess the move"  free software
"Chess Hero"  free software


Chessgym.net
But now there are the "Positional" puzzles at chessgym.com with ratings and rankings for free! Chessgym offers different trainingtools, including chess-memory, board vision and "tactics" training. The ratings and rankings can give us hints where our personal weaknesses might be and where we might/should improve.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

GM Maurice Ashley's Skill Builder ( for IPhone )

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learn-chess!-maurice-ashley/id410953137?mt=8
This app has 20 lessions "designed to give the beginner a strong
grounding in the basic rules and strategy about such topics as
Openings, the Center and Material Value. But the core of his special
method is the Skillbuilder section, where your abilities will grow so that
good moves will come almost automatically.
"

These lessions for a complete beginner BUT the Skillbuilder section has  9 different types of Board vision exercises and 3 levels (  "Beware of the Hard level. Maurice designed these to be super-challenging, even for him! ")


1. Pawn Mover
2. Escape
3. Quibs
4. Wolf
5. Attack
6. Mate is Fate
7. Invisible Piece
8. Square Biz
9. Knight Concentration

Some Examples of Pawn Mover exercises can be found at GM Maurice Ashleys new blog : http://www.learningdiagonal.com/

Pawn Mover rook 
Pawn Mover queen
...
These Pawn Move puzzles are related to the Troyis puzzles. I dont think that this Pawn Mover Skill is of high importance ( but still usefull ).

More interesting ( IMO ) are the Esacpe puzzles. They are related to the board-vision extercises of Fritz. Many opponent pieces try to catch our single piece and we need to find a save new square for our piece in limited time.

Well you get many different exercises for $ 2.99.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Troyis for IPhone - Board Vision - Thinking Process

I found a free version of Troyis for IPhone . There is a free online version of Troyis here . Troyis trains the skill to move a knight in a restricted area of random shape .

That reminded me of Temposchlucker and his posts about Motorskill:

"The motorskills you learn while playing Troyis are not frequently used during a chessgame, so you cannot expect that an improvement will effect your play by much. So the problem was to identify the motorskills that play an essential role in our chessgames. With the aid of Phaedrus I found 3 essential areas:
  1. Target-consciousness. Scanning for potential targets.
  2. What do you want for Christmas. Automatic positional considerations. How to improve your worst piece.
  3. What does a piece do exactly. New: what does the piece do on its new square. Old: what did it do on the old square which it doesn't do anymore. Clearance: what square and lines are cleared by moving the piece and which pieces can make use of that.
Usually the amateur addresses these points with his conscious thinking, which is way too slow and error prone really. By transferring everything you can from your conscious thinking to your unconscious working complex motorskills you free up your thinking for more important tasks. Besides that, everything that is mastered with your motorskills is fast and you can visualise it. For free, without specialised speedtraining or visualisation exercises."

Temposchluckers "Motorskills" and "Board Vision" are close related. I listed some other "essential areas" here : the Atoms of chess  . You may find here (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2001 : Perceptual automaticity in expert chess players) many examples that skilled players perform better than novices on such "atomic tasks". For example "the skilled players outperformed the novices on selective enumeration tasks (e.g., count the number of bishops)" .  ( If you want to improve in such enumeration tasks use my Board Vision : Material Trainer ;).
Temposchluckers point 1. "Target-consciousness. Scanning for potential targets." can be trained ( to some extend ) with the Board Vision : Fritz Defense and Board Vision : Fritz - Attack training.

The Ultimate Board Vision Training is : A thinking process and slow games.
If you ask yourself at every move at every game for many many games always the same ( for example:  Which pieces are not protected ) then this task will become a "perceptional automaticity". So i think its important to learn not too many different things at the same time and try to implement this knowledge in your thinking process and games immediately.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Board Vision Trainingtools online again

My former free web space provider did stop its services, without any notification, so my Chess Board Vision Trainingtools have been offline for some days. Now i moved these tools to Google-drive. Lets hope google-drive will "survive" a little longer.


What is Chess Board Vision?


Board Vision is: The ability to quickly and accurately recognize where all
the pieces are and assess what they are doing in the present chess position.
( http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman89.pdf )

As stronger the player as better the Board Vision: A chess master can tell much quicker than the average player
  • if white is in check
  • if a piece is "en prise"
  • if a special piece is protected or not
  • ...
I think better Board Vision is usually the result of practicing a good thinking process. If you ask yourself at every move at every game for hundreds of games: "Which Pawn is weak" then you will be able to spot double pawns, backward pawns ... in no time. You will have acquired a good "weak pawn vision". Such "visions" will help you to analyse/calculate quicker, easier, better.

My Chess Board Vision Tools


  •  Material
    A Master can tell in no time: who has more material? My Material trainer does use the best available material values for the pieces of  GM Larry Kaufman ( Co programmer of Rybka ; Komodo and other engines ). See http://home.comcast.net/~danheisman/Articles/evaluation_of_material_imbalance.htm
  • Mobility
    Many, if not most, of the principles of chess are about mobility. Example: You should not put your pawns at the same color as your bishop, put rooks on open files and bishops on open diagonals..  My Mobility trainer does compare the mobility ( = number of possible moves ) of black and white.
    So the Mobility trainer suppose to improve your positional understanding too.
  • Visualisation and Memory
    Should help you to memorise positions! Don't try to memorise the notation!

 Other Chess Board Vision Tools


I think the attack, defence, check and fork tools should be used first. They "chunk" a piece, its position and its influence. If you move a piece to a square you need to know if this square is save WITHOUT looking at every piece of your opponent and calculating all of their possible moves.