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Tips to reduce board blindess

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Six_Pack_Of_Flabs

The highest rating I ever held was 1204 in rapid, and I held it for 20 minutes. I am now almost exactly 1100 in rapid, and 1020 or so in blitz. After about 2 years on this site, and about 1 1/2 years of trying to take chess seriously, I've seemed to have peaked at the 1100-1200 range. After looking at my games, I've found myself to be a pretty good chess player, with some games bordering on 70-90% accuracy, but this occurs only in times when I sit back and see the entire board. I struggle to comprehend all of what's on the board, and when I get tunnel vision like so many others at my level do, my games fall far below 70% accuracy. 

Now, I'm sure this question has been asked quite a lot, but I am asking it again today.

What are some ways to train myself to see the entire board?

I don't want general not-worth-my-time-answering tips like 'do puzzles' or 'watch youtube', I'm wondering if there are specific exercises or routines that will help me to expand my comprehension of the board and allow me to improve at my game. I try to remind myself to look at the whole board, but I find my mind wandering as I stare at the pieces, and eventually just start blitzing out moves, no matter the time control.

Any real advice would be great.

Thanks,

Flabs

hrarray
Try to look from your opponents point of view and see what plans/tactics you have, then make your own move with that in mind.
ZeauR

To solve the problem of blitzing out moves there are two schools of thought I have seen: 

1) If you are not more than maybe 30 seconds behind your opponent on time, take at least 10 seconds on every move.  I do not do this, but if I had the discipline to do this I would save myself from many blunders.

2)  Every turn, look at every check, capture and attack before choosing your move.  Example:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN4gqEqIXm0

and of course 3) if you are playing chess distracted, stop it.  Do not play while watching videos.  Do not play while listening to a podcast.  Music is fine, nothing more attention grabbing then that though.

Wurstzug
Always look for loopholes in the FIDE Chess Rules
icrushpunks
You can flip the board in online play, which should be banned. During rated matches at least.
ninjaswat
icrushpunks wrote:
You can flip the board in online play, which should be banned. During rated matches at least.

You can walk about the board in person, so I don’t see any reason why limiting that capability online is needed.

Six_Pack_Of_Flabs
icrushpunks wrote:
You can flip the board in online play, which should be banned. During rated matches at least.

Why? If both players can use it, isn't that fair? And what advantage does flipping the board give aside from giving you a new perspective?

ZKdefa

quit chess best thing you can do, there's no hope for you

Six_Pack_Of_Flabs
ZKdefa wrote:

quit chess best thing you can do, there's no hope for you

Thanks for the advi-

*Account closed*

ZKdefa

<3

llama36

One trick I used to do was I'd look at every single one of the opponent's non-pawns. One by one. And for example a queen on d8, I'd move my eyes down the entire d file. Doesn't matter if many pieces were in the way. I'd also move my eyes down each diagonal and the 8th rank.

Two of the biggest things that helped me notice were:
1) Checks
2) "Sneaky" pieces like a bishop in the corner that's attacking my rook

---

An exercise I haven't done, but I imagine would help someone who is struggling, is pick a position at random. Maybe from a game, maybe from a puzzle. But then write down every capture and check. Doesn't matter how crazy the move is, and you have to actually write them down.

You can also do this for ways to attack or defend. Here, I'll give you an exercise.

After 3.Qf3 it's Black to move. Whare at ALL the moves that avoid mate in 1?

-

-

If you're 1200 there's probably a 100% chance you get this wrong.
In fact I wasn't confident I could do it... my answer is was 8.
After I was told the answer was wrong, my 2nd answer was 10 (which is correct).
(I'll give the tricky moves at the bottom of this post).

This is useful because I do this sort of thinking in games all the time. I see my opponent's threat, and first I find ALL the ways I can deal with it, and then I chose the one I think is best.

Part of what's going on is it's forcing you to very clearly define what the threat is and how it can be removed. Most people would know that Nf6 blocks the queen's attack, but blocking is only one type of defense... so here's another exercise, what are all the TYPES of moves that defend mate in 1 in that position?

Spending a long time doing exercises like this (including the first thing I mention, looking at each piece) will help you be much less blind.

---

The moves Ke7, Qg5, and Qh4 all prevent mate in 1.

zone_chess

It's good to sit back to see the whole board. What you want to do is develop split awareness. You're looking at the current situation while thinking ahead along multiple lines. You think about short-term and short-range maneuvers while at the same time contemplating long-term plans and long-range infiltration moves - your brain will be time-slicing as it's known in computer science.

But even more important is training to rely purely on your mind - see if you can remember the position, visualize it mentally, and make some moves only using mental visualization. The whole board at first is fragmentary, blurry, then it gets progressively sharper until you can 'see' (with the mind's eye) the board in front of you. It's where real calculation happens.

It's mostly your mind's eye that's being board-blind, not the physical one.

Mike_Kalish

I don't have any advice for you, but am amazed at how similar our stories are. I topped out at 1183 and now am at 1099. Two differences....I've only been playing 6 months (640 games) and I only play rapid with a 60 minute time control. But I'm having the same struggle. A few weeks ago, I was beating players who were above 1200 and now I can't beat anyone of any rating consistently. 

That said....the game is always fun. I don't enjoy losing but I accept it and feel that rating-wise, I'm right where I deserve to be and if I improve, my rating will show it. For now, 1100 is fine. Lots of players would love to have an 1100 rating. I do puzzles and I analyze all my games, but maybe 1100-1200 is all my brain is capable of. Time will tell.

Six_Pack_Of_Flabs

I really appreciate all the advice. A lot of you brought up a lot of good points, and with the advice in mind, I dominated a <1200 rapid quad tournament with a score of 4-0-0. The exercises and advice suggested are a huge help, and I will definitely implement them to aim for over 1200.

(Once I get my sixth official chess.com gold medal, of course)

 

Also, stop downvoting ZKdefa's post!

He's my friend lol, just a little teasing he knows I can handle

CraigIreland

You've given one answer yourself, puzzles. Another answer is analyse your matches and spend time looking at your mistakes. You need to train your brain to look beyond a blinkered view of the board and you can only do that by practising it. You might also be playing at a time control which is too short for you to increase the rigour of your analysis.

Ziryab

Close your eyes.

Sounds facetious, but I'm serious. Close your eyes and imagine the current position and the position you would like to reach. The more you do this, the easier it becomes.

When solving exercises (books or puzzles on this site), try to imagine the whole solution before you make the first move. Anticipate the other side's response to your move. Close your eyes and check your calculation. Write down your answer on some paper before making your move.

Your visualization, especially your understanding of the contacts, will improve.

SassySkittles
Ziryab wrote:

Close your eyes.

Sounds facetious, but I'm serious. Close your eyes and imagine the current position and the position you would like to reach. The more you do this, the easier it becomes.

When solving exercises (books or puzzles on this site), try to imagine the whole solution before you make the first move. Anticipate the other side's response to your move. Close your eyes and check your calculation. Write down your answer on some paper before making your move.

Your visualization, especially your understanding of the contacts, will improve.

I’m going to try this!

TheSonics

I believe the answer lies in becoming more fluent in the language of chess.

I feel the following training fields inter-connect:

  • Blindfold Training (check youtube)
  • The techinical seemingly pointless "Vision" feature on chess.com
  • reading chess books (like My System)
  • writing the full answer with all variations to a puzzle on a piece of paper and "confirming it" over and over in your head before calling it "solved" (someone else mentioned this - this one is really key)
  • playing long games 15+10, 30+20 and higher and analyzing them for hours without an engine

 

All of these will help you "speak chess" more fluently (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. e5! g6 6. h3?! Bg7)... It's not just being able to comprehend the notation it's something deeper and very wide... But all of these will improve visualization and board awareness in the long run... and in chess you have to think long run...

 

People say every kid who gets taught chess at a young age can reach 1700 or so with no talent required by the age of 14 ish ... just learn from good coaches, books, play otb tournaments etc... you'll be 1700 sooner or later (if you start young).... well, for us (me at least) who started to play as adults and play mostly online with not much time and learning conditions you might have to do these tasks mentioned in the thread and in my post in order to bridge the gap that those who started young with coaches and just played and analyzed alot will have naturally... 

 

just my 2 cents