James Stripes and Temposchlucker have been on a roll lately, with this blogging theme, and I wanted to offer my own take.
I am trying to analyze positions here and there from a blindfold perspective. I too missed Temposchulker’s easy problem, though rated 1900 because so many missed it. I started out that problem with …BxNa5, and then …Be5 because queen is pinned to pawn. But when I set up the position in my head (which does take a long time for me, since I am somewhat of a baby at this blindfold stuff), then the answer is much quicker to find.
Blindfold, a person is forced to know which squares are open and which squares are closed, and not just rely on temperamental, transitory, visual sight of the board.
TS makes one key assertion which I can’t agree with, but fully understand. He says that their is no time during a game to examine your conscience (fully). While this may be true, it’s not at the heart of chess either.
MDLM, IMHO, was successful because of the speed of tactical analysis of his system. He basically made his brain think like a chess computer more or less, and us being his “human” opponents were due to make a tactical mistake somewhere along the line.
Actually, I agree with James that he had mostly stronger players to play against, no lack of stronger opponents, and he kept to his quick tactics regimen. MDLM was really outcome oriented (which means rating-points and prize-money, rather than merely for the enjoyment of studying past masters, etc). Before these “big” prize-money tournaments, you saw how he studied hundreds if not thousands of tactics in a single day (most tactics are more than one move long, so he is also practising his analysis at that rate of speed too). This would be like going to work tomorrow and doing 500%+ more than you would have normally gotten done during that one day of work. And a chess tournament is not your day job, so you only need to keep that up for one or more days. Over the course of a 4 or 5 day tournament, this sort of masochistic practice regimen would have probably clobbered any normal mortal who would be making tired mistakes from Round 2 onwards.
Anyway, I think blindfold and this “memorizing games” suggestion are closely related. It forces one to think about where the pieces are placed on each move. I think that blindfold chess is closer to the “G*d part” of the brain. When visually looking at the board, it’s like a Rorsarcht test, you throw mud at the canvas and see what sticks.” When looking at a position blindfold, you are forced to know where the pieces are and which squares are being controlled. Which squares are being controlled becomes much more of a physical reality when playing blindfold than when one is merely looking at the board and trying to randomly apply their past patterns to the board.
I used to think that because someone became a Master, they could play blindfold. Now, I think it’s more likely that because they can play blindfold that they become a Master. Note that even MDLM didn’t become anything more than a fledgling Expert who quit after his peak result (ratings usually go down after playing “normal” club games after a sort of highly tactically prepped super-tournament result such as he had). MDLM’s rating was very performance driven, as ratings usually are, but not usually to this extreme. Who could normally practice a couple thousand tactics before a tournament, even if they didn’t have a life?
I couldn’t even post anything to TS’s blog because I couldn’t get past his verification procedure. I don’t post to TommyG’s blog for same reason, it won’t let me usually, so it became too much of a hassle to get something posted that usually I couldn’t get to have it posted. It’s insanity if you want my opinion. I let anyone post to his blog, including spam.