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I've been working through CM for a number of weeks now and really enjoy it. One thing I'm trying to do is force myself to stare at the board for longer than I'm inclined to before clicking on a hint or other help. It got me wondering, how long do others look at the board before giving in to temptation and seeking help? (I think this has worked in at least a couple of puzzles. I've been stumped for several minutes before finally seeing the solution.) It seems that being willing to keep looking is key to improving at chess; I tend to be impatient and want to find the answer and keep going.
It depends on the position, and the method you use. If you still have ideas, keep evaluating them. If you're just staring at the board, waiting for something to jump out at you, take a step back and look at it systematically. When you've exhausted everything that looks reasonable, start looking at things that look unreasonable, especially those that you were initially drawn to, but rejected for some reason.
Look at your worst piece, and how you may be able to improve it. Look at your opponent's best piece, and how you may be able to make it worse, or trade it. The key is not how long you look, but how many things you know to look at.
Remember that finding the answer is not important. Being able to find answers (good moves, good plans, identifying weaknesses) is the important part. It's less about the time you take than about the process you go through.
First off pay attention to Lucidish_Lux
Start using a stop watch and first figure out what your average time per move is. Then try increasing it in increments (10 seconds or whatever). You should also start doing puzzles (from real games, or at least "life-like" puzzles and force yourself to spend at least X amount of time (5 minutes sounds good) on each one before giving up, unless you're sure you've solved it in less time of course. You could also try playing some turn-based games where the TL is measured in days so you can try really taking your time in a few games. I realize this maybe a cumbersome suggestion to implement but hey what the heck you asked for advice :)
Thanks for the replies. Lucidish_Lux, those are definitely things I will try to incorporate into my games. Rather than advice, though, I was wondering if other folks had to fight the same impulse when using Chess Mentor to click on helps too quickly. So I guess I was looking for others who've found themselves in the same boat. :) It seems that those who can naturally look at a puzzle without getting hints or the solution too quickly have an advantage in Chess over those of us that are quick to look at the hints. Maybe I was just looking for someone to say, "oh yeah, that's common, but it can be overcome."
MimzoRoy, I actually love turn-based chess because I can mull over my options. It doesn't stop me from making dumb mistakes, but I love the time it affords me.
Kind of depends on what lesson you're working on. If you're working on a tactical course, you do want to resist the tendency to immediately jump on the hints. If you're trying to teach yourself a new opening, then you want to read all the hints because your goal is not to test yourself, but to teach yourself something new. Hope that made sense. Bear in mind also that to have the lessons really sink in, you need to go over them again and again. I guess you aren't really through with the course until you can 100% all the lessons. Luckily the whole process is a little addictive. Best of luck.
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