Why Calculation in Chess Sucks

Why Calculation in Chess Sucks

May 16, 2015, 1:27 PM |

I passed a comment on Calculation Practice for the Weekend, posted here on chess.com by NM CoachJKane, that I wanted to share with you. It's not all about System 2, guys, System 1 is even more important!

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Calculation is important in chess, but it is not everything.

Remember Reti's famous "only one move ahead?" It seems that chess Masters orient themselves during the game using, what Daniel Kahneman, in Thinking Fast and Slow, calls System 1, which is fast, instinctive and intuitive brain. Only when System 1 isn't able to come up with a fast solution, System 2, slower, more deliberative and logical gets in.

While building up their position, Masters don't use calculation. Instinct, intuition and experience is there. When figuring out what the Center of Gravity (an idea fron Carl von Klausewitz) in position is, again, no calculation. Instead, instinct, intuition and experience, again.

Calc is extensively used only a few times in the game at crossroads and critical situations just to make sure that your instinct, intuition and experience were right when suggesting the move you are about to play!

Fixation on calc is especially widespread in the era of digital morons (erm, chess engines and all). They don't possess any of instinct, intuition and experience, what idiots do they just try every possible option, eliminating some down the road, it is true, but still in a fashion absolutely inferior to the way humans think (see a story by GM Lj. Ljubojevic on intuition).


So, NMs Kane and Bab3s, give us some intuition and strategic insight practice for the weekend, something about those incalculable intangibles that make Masters Masters, something about digital morons are still in the kindergarten of chess. That practice will make us better players - FASTER!

     a dispatch from Georgia's #1 chess blog


PS Just to remind y'all, it's Summer coming our way and sea, chess and Sun isn't a bad combination at all! Thanks for her suggestion and for her art, Betty Missboll, Clermont-Ferrand, France