Monday, July 31, 2006

Tournament Report: I stink

Well, I played really poorly at the tournament this past weekend. In summary I was +0 -3 =1. Ouch. That's the bad news. The good news is that everyone I lost to was more than 150 points higher rated than me, so hopefully I learned something.

Without further ado, here's what I learned. I am currently not thinking even 1 move ahead. Heck, I guess I'm not even thinking 1/2 move ahead. Too many times in this tournament my opponent played a move I had not even considered. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I can't calculate, or visualize, or know that I have to consider what my opponent will play. It's just that when thinking of what my opponent will play, certain moves -- good moves! -- don't cross my mind.

I don't know what this means exactly for how I'm supposed to improve. How do you force yourself to see something you just can't see. Unfortunately, I think this requires some time with a conscious thought process. I am not a fan of checklists of things to do when it's your move. I think all those things should be internalized. Moreover, good players don't operate this way. However, I'm willing to give it a shot on the chance that it will become internal.

The plan is this: After immediate threats (captures, checks, forks, etc.) are recognized, I will consciously list every legal move of my opponent. This should alleviate the basic problem of never even seeing the next move of my opponent. Hopefully these moves will remain in my brain while I calculate my next move. Eventually I will have to be able to see all these moves without consciously constructing the list, just as I do not consciously construct the potential captures and checks, I just know what they are automatically.

This certainly can't lead to making worse moves (can it?). But it will surely cost me on the clock. At the moment I'm not getting into time trouble, so I'm going to give it a go!

There is another tournament this coming weekend. This time just a one day tournament at a faster time control. I'm going to try this new approach to see how much I will hate it, and if one day, I may grow to love it.

I'd like to share my games on here, but I don't know the best way to do that. I could just plop down pgn and let you put it in your favorite viewer, but I've seen some cool embedded viewers and I think it would rock to get that working here.



At 10:23 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said...

From time to time such horrible things happen. That's why I always try to play in long tournaments so that there is time to recover.

I had such a disaster at whitsuntide previous year. Here you can read about it:

In an indirect way it was the cause I decided to give CTS a try.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Loomis said...

But the moves that I miss in actual games are even simpler than the problems I solve regularly at CTS!

I believe the problem is that the solution at CTS is always a forcing line. There is only a very narrow search tree with few branches. You recognize a pattern, spot the right move and there are no resources for the opposition.

However, most moves in a real game are not forcing moves, or moves that leave the opponent with few options. I think these are the cases where I have trouble, where my opponent has many reasonable moves.

I have also tried your experiment playing against the computer at fixed depth of 1 and 2. While I beat the computer at these settings, I am still surprised by the resources it comes up with. I should be able to play better than the computer at every move, but I cannot! I only play better than the computer during forcing lines when it is easy for me to see beyond the search depth.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger wormstar said...

maybe you should give correspondence chess a try? it's great for breaking the habit of moving too fast (missing obvious moves), and you also get to focus on planning thoroughly. I use anything from hours to even a week for a single move, and even though it's not directly transferable into standard games, I think it's very beneficial to strategic thinking in the long term.


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