A method for attacking the problems

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A method for attacking the problems

Post by Blue Devil Knight on May 25th 2009, 1:21 pm

I have a new six-step technique I use to study the problems in the ICS. The issue is that there are lots of problems in some months, and some positions are so complicated that I could easily spend four hours studying them. Unfortunately I don't have the time for that, so I devised a method to be more efficient.

Method for attacking problem
I. Set up the position on a real board.
II. Set your chess clock with ten minutes for each side.
III. Hit the clock and work on the problem for up to ten minutes.
IV. Pause clock before the time runs out, and write down your solution.
V. Start the clock for the other side.
VI. Study the solution to the problem for at least as long as you worked on it in step III (and since the time is right there on the other person's side of the clock, this is easy).

Explanation
This method does two things. First, it ensures you are working on calculation/visualization/thought process for a longish think. Second, by focusing so much time on the solution you avoid pitfalls with simply staring at the original position for 10 minutes (namely, remembering the position and incorrect ideas, but not the correct solution). I think it is important to compare closely the solution to my thinking in a fairly thorough way. It lets me better discern the principles the authors of ICS want us to learn that are discussed and illustrated with variations in the solution.

How do I study the solution? Basically I ask a series of questions:
1. Was I right or wrong in my solution?
2. What did I miss?
3. Explain each move in the solution in terms I can understand (this is inspired by a psychological study that showed explaining moves to oneself in chess improves memory of a position).
4. Consider alternative moves not included in the solution. Consider why other potential moves are not as good in the position. Are there in-between moves, interpositions, and the like that ICS didn't include in the variations? If so, how would I deal with them?
5. For the ICS course I also try to think of thought process type stuff. During my attempt to solve the problem, what types of CQS am I missing? What types of 'To Do' list items do I tend to forget to think about? How is my thinking inefficient? Most generally, how can I improve my thinking?
6. If I still feel like I don't understand the position, only then will I fire up Fritz and see what he has to say.

Why I like it
So far I'm happy with the method. For one, it divides up the time in a simple intuitive way. Using the chess clock and real board recreates a game-like situation so I am more focused and efficient. Plus, spending time on the solution enhances my chess understanding and hopefully will burn in principles I can use in real games.

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Re: A method for attacking the problems

Post by chesstiger on May 25th 2009, 3:53 pm

I wonder why both sides? I mean in a game you also play only one color, white or black, not both.
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Re: A method for attacking the problems

Post by HangingKing on May 25th 2009, 4:08 pm

You mistaken, BDK uses one side of the clock to solve the problem, and the other side of the clock to think again at the problem knowing its solution.

Anyway, i am quickly bored at thinking at the same position, so doing it twice, don't even think about it ! Shocked

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Re: A method for attacking the problems

Post by Blue Devil Knight on May 25th 2009, 5:55 pm

Chesstiger: I use the clock simply as a timer to think about one color the whole time. First to time how long to think about the problem, and then touch the clock to switch to think about the solution.

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Re: A method for attacking the problems

Post by jeff2k7 on May 27th 2009, 4:16 pm

Great method. I actually do something similar, but I've never thought to write down my process. I should probably get more organized, huh?

4. Consider alternative moves not included in the solution. Consider why other potential moves are not as good in the position. Are there in-between moves, interpositions, and the like that ICS didn't include in the variations? If so, how would I deal with them?

This step is the most critical to me. I can often find a solution to the problem, but not always the solution. I learn a tremendous amount from analyzing why my moves weren't the best moves. Somewhere in our course material it was said that there are often several "adequate" moves in a given position. The key to improving is making the "best" move a higher percentage of the time.
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