In following with step 9 from my first truly analyzed Chess game, I shifted my Chess work to address the problems I found with my play. Rather than continue reading my new Chess book (Reassess Your Chess) on Wednesday, I poked around on the internet and found some articles on the thought process in Chess. Today at work I had a lot of test runs to do on my new search program to deal with our new Sharp Floor system (more on that in the next post). While they were running, I did what I probably do best (and like to do most): I analyzed what I had learned about the thought process in Chess.
At first this analysis was just an attempt to come up with my own thought process based on what I’d read. The more notes I wrote, the more I wanted a clearer understanding of the details. The more I specified the details, the more I found new details. A half page of notes turned into a full page flow chart turned into four inter-related flow charts with 46 distinct nodes spanning two pages. My estimate (no, I could not stop myself from analyzing my analysis) is that on a typical turn I would go through 80-90 steps in the flow chart.
Someone out there is thinking, “dude, you’re over thinking this.” I admit I may be over thinking this more than most people would, but the articles I read admitted that over thinking is an inevitable problem when changing your thinking process. You can’t just automatically change your thinking process. You have to think about that change as you as you are going through that process. “What am I supposed to be thinking? Okay, think that. What am I supposed to be thinking next? Okay, think that.” And so on. That’s how you have to do it in the beginning, but the hope is that eventually it becomes a habitual practice, and you just flow through it every turn.
The word ‘habitual’ is the key. I am already working on changing a number of habits using the Simple Method. It’s going very well. I am now working on my Chess game an hour every night, I am eating an apple and drinking a glass of water every morning, and this week I started studying my Chess notes on the bus in the morning. I am not sure I can apply the full Simple Method to changing my Chess thought process. But I can certainly apply some of it’s ideas using the over thought analysis I did. Part of the Simple Method is to start small and build up. I’ve got the whole process broken down into tiny little bits. I can look at the organization of those bits, and my meta-analysis of how I will have go through them each turn, to organize them into chunks that allow for starting small and building up.
This has also got me thinking about drills. I played basketball in high school. When you practice basketball, you don’t just play a game of basketball. You break down the game of basketball into individual parts focusing on particular skills, and work on those parts and skills repeatedly in drills: passing drills, shooting drills, ball handling drills, and so on. The tactics problems I do every day are the most obvious example of an equivalent drill in Chess. I also work on visualization every Tuesday. I have written a Python program to run me through several different visualization drills. These visualization drills will be very important for the analysis part of the thought process, where you try to make moves in your head and see what the resulting position would be. I plan to keep working on the program, and I could use some of the parts I have analyzed to create thought process drills.
All this needs to wait though. The one article I read was based largely off the work of the guy who wrote the other article I read. I am worried that might be a bit one sided, and I want to find a second opinion (so to speak) before designing the thought process I am going to shoot for.