A.C.I.S and the Knights Errant

Something got lost in all this, starting with the MDLM plan. It is true that it is important to recognize and “grok” tactical patterns, but the plan is where things can get carried away. My take on the MDLM method is that this guy was clearly trying to win at the World Open, to the point of it being a raison de etre. He consistently played lots of OTB games against stronger players, so it was natural that his rating would go up, but I don’t think this was his goal, instead it was financial vindication. The ratings jump was sort of something that goes along with winning that prize and having a giant short-term improvement.

My guess is that if MDLM started playing again today, he would maybe drop up to a 100 points. Why am I so down on MDLM? I am not, I think he was great for our sport. But the 7 circle plan, I find it a little funny how people tried to follow it and eventually came to the conclusion that it became mostly cramming pattern-recognition into short-term memory. Well, of course, it was designed to win a World Open section and then “retire” a satisfied “customer”.

So if “it” isn’t pattern-recognition, then what is is “it”? Well, part of it is pattern-recognition, part of it is calculation, but a big part of it is visualization. Can you study a position blindfold? If you can’t do this sort of thing, then maybe you get lucky and “touch” Expert rating, but that is probably it IMHO. It would be nice if I were an Expert and had a slew of scientific data to back me up on this, but I’ve only figured this out in the last couple days. It’s becoming a new ability that I didn’t have before.

I’ll also throw out a conundrum for you, the reader, to solve. Whereas most of the draw of playing chess is looking forward to the future, new positions, new possibilities, new lessons, visualization is about looking into the past.

In other news, Paul, the Paul that I played for the first time last week, Class A player, he went 6-0 today at the G/29 event (I didn’t go) and posted his games. Man, that was like a whose who of piece-dropping in the opening. Actually, the one time someone else didn’t against him, he dropped the exchange himself, but the person blundered a piece back in the endgame while trying to trade rooks. Sheesh, talk about difference in quality between G/90 and G/29. He was amazingly accurate in complications, though, much more so than his opponents. I also notice he has one basic opening setup as Black – c6,d6,g6 – which can be used against e4 and d4.

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3 thoughts on “A.C.I.S and the Knights Errant

  1. Interesting thoughts. My friend recommended me crestbook.com, it’s in Russian, but on the right there is a position to solve, mate or stalemate. They change it, I think, every few hours, the answer is visible if you point your mouse on “Решение” (solution). Most of them are not difficult ( yeah, when you know that there is something 🙂 ), all from the real games.

  2. I like the Crestbrook problem of the day, nice shout-out. Hadn’t seen that site before, but maybe I had when I was looking for Bent Larsen news stories. It seems the Russians were on top of that story, and maybe the Scandinavians (if only I could read it).

    But yeah, the problems in this book, it’s like “Find White’s amazingly sacrificial attack.” As if anyone below Class A has any chance in h*ll of seeing it, then it’s “Now find Black’s amazingly sacrificial hold that counters it.” I think I can safely say that below 1800, no one is seeing any of that.

    It’s popular to say that GMs don’t work as hard at the board and use pattern-recognition. Well, this problem made me hang it up for the day. I think what they mean is that GMs can work so hard at the board that they see some simple position and they can solve it very quickly. It’s like a Ferrari driving to the bus stop, sure it doesn’t have to work as hard because it’s overkill to do so, but out on the open road in a race, that is the car to have.

  3. Hey Linux guy!

    I do think there is merit to practicing puzzles for pattern recognition. What I always felt was that MLDM method led to burnout AND put to much focus on finishing the circles over and above actually learning about and enjoying chess.

    I think a good mix of pattern recognition and then flat out calculating exercises are what the doctored ordered.

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