Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why did the pawn cross the road?

This morning I watch a parent with their small child crossing the road.

The parent told the little girl, "Now we look both ways before crossing the street. Then where there are no cars, off we go."

It was a classic example of needing a process to do something simple when you are still learning.

My own weakness in chess tournaments at the moment is getting hit by the bus when I forget to look both ways before crossing.

If you were to ask an adult, "Do you actively think about looking both ways before you cross the road?" most would (hopefully) say, "No not really - but I'm definitely aware of what's going on when I cross."

If you were to ask most grandmasters, "Do you actively look for checks, captures and threats from your opponents before and after you decide on your move?" most would probably respond in the same way.

I'm sure they're probably unconsciously aware of what is happening when they are deciding on their move.

But for the chess equivalent of small children (like me) an explicit thought process is definitely going to be useful until I stop venturing haphazardly into heavy traffic.

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