Improving your Tactical Vision

pawnshover
Aug 28, 2007, 12:00 AM |
13 | Tactics

This exercise will work for most players rated below 2400. It will improve your tactical vision.

Prerequisites:

  1. Knowledge of chess notation (algebraic recommended). This is normal since most professional chess tutorials start with an overview of the board and notation before they even explain how the pieces move.
  2. Knowledge of how the ALL the chessmen move.

If you are new to chess then you may use a board and pieces but as your "Chess Powers" grow you will not need them anymore. Doing this exercise blindfolded will yield the greatest results.

Exercise:

  1. Place/imagine two chessmen on a board. They should be random pieces on random squares.
  2. Using just your imagination, name all of the squares that BOTH pieces are attacking/defending.
  3. Write down all of the squares.
  4. Check your work by methodically going square by square and seeing if it is attacked/defended.

Assessment:

  1. Are you missing a square or two sometimes? You have not mastered this exercise yet. This might be because you are getting impatient and moving hastily. These same 'careless' mistakes are what costs material in a real game.
  2. Are you getting it right all the time? Do you not even bother writing down the answer because you 'know' you are correct? It's possible that you are still missing a square or two sometimes and are overconfident. OR you may have mastered this step in which case you should proceed to Enrichment.

Enrichment:

After you have mastered doing this exercise add a third chessman. Keep adding more chessmen until you can memorize an entire board full of chessmen.

Research:

Each of the following points is based on academic journal publications of studies done in Psychology, Psychological Education, or Artificial Intelligence. Sorry I don't have time to look up and cite all the references but most of them can be found on JSTOR, ERIC or on the IEEE database on Artificial Neural Networks.

  1. Most chess masters have displayed a greater ability to memorize random positions of chessmen when those chessmen attack/defend common squares. Both greater than lower rated players and greater than positions with less commonality of attacked/defended squares.
  2. Experts in any field use a greater chunking of data. That is to say that an expert will memorize and utilize a chunk of data with more variables, vectors, or items than a non-expert. For example: Class A and Class B chess players can solve many checkmates based on recognition of recurring patterns. "Oh, that's an Epaulette Mate!" They can also recognize some basic recurring patterns of piece play. "Aha! A trapped Bishop!"
  3. Accurate future forecasting of positions is based on playing blindfolded. Every time a player tries to examine a position (hopefully before every move) they are moving the pieces in their imagination and keeping track of where the pieces are in exactly the same way a person keeps track of the pieces when they play blindfolded. This exercise is linked directly to improving that skill
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