Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thought process is even more important than tactics

Maybe I'm speaking blasphemy, but I think there is something even more important than tactics:

Thought process.

I'm still a firm believer that studying tactics is the number one thing someone at my rating can do to improve their chess rating away from the board.

But once I'm at the board, the best thing I can do is apply a rigorous thought process every single move.

This is something that Dan Heisman refers to frequently in his columns and books. He calls it playing Real Chess.

Two games from my last tournament games I lost pieces - not to tricky four-move combinations, but just by simply hanging a piece!

So my new quest involves two points to focus on:
1. The best thing to do away from the board = tactics.
2. The best thing to do at the board = thought process.


Blue Devil Knight said...

Real chess, eh? I've never heard of it. :)

I agree that thought process is very important. You want that knowledge to show itself over the board!

The most helpful stuff, in practice, on thought process I've learned I posted here and here and here (that one is the third of three posts on the topic) and here (the last is my actual thought process as of about a year ago: it has actually changed dramatically to include more on piece activity, which I discuss here).

Right now I'm in a rebellious phase where I'm just playing blitz and working on openings, but I should finish up on the newest version of Chessplanner once I get back to a more balanced approach with slow games and the like. The development of my thought process has been greatly aided by Heisman, both at ICC (his radio show I ask questions) and a phone conversation I had with him about planning (which I discussed here).

hisbestfriend said...

Heisman believes that Real Chess is worth about 200 points. And de la Maza believes that tactics is worth ~700 points.

But I would agree that not losing is vital in the part of the process. On my page you find the links to Real Chess and 400 points in 400 days, and agree that these two things are the most important that have to do with us.

But psychologically, it seems that chess is more. We see more, we can feel more, and we know that there is as much above just doing these things, as doing them, so we want to know what they are. Even as we crank through our tactics training.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Hmm, it seems DK-Transform took over HBF's account for this thread... :O

Grandpatzer said...

I guess you could say that, before you can master chess, you have to master yourself.

The biggest thing that I should be doing right now, that I'm not, is playing against the computer. As per BDK's "riding a bike" analogy, I need to rewire how my brain thinks so that "real" chess becomes natural and reliable.

I'm finding more and more that I have to be aware about how I think. Sort of in a "work smarter, not harder" sense. I'm finding my "crap out" level in CT-ART is in the 400s. Around here, I find that unfocused thinking is a big factor: for example, going over the same dead end variation over and over, or not following a line out to quiescence, or getting the right answer but not considering a potentially saving resource by the defender, or just getting fed up and making a move for the sake of moving. I need to work on solving problems efficiently in a more Kotov-like manner.