Chess is a complex game. One grandmaster said that it is too complicated for any single mind to comprehend completely, which is true, but the human race has made a reasonable stab at it. Thousands of books have been written about the game, and an inexhaustible list of strategies has been developed.
I have been thinking about chess skill. I wonder if anyone has tried to study all the components of chess skill? On personal reflection, I think that chess skill can be broken into four parts:
1. Vision. This is something I developed at the age of 14 when I realized I could see all the moves available on the board at the same time. Chess vision is the ability to see things instantly that others would have to think about.
2. Pattern recognition. This is similar to vision, except that chess can create many complex patterns. Through experience and study, skilled players have developed the ability to recognize these patterns in their games, sometimes almost instantly.
3. Knowledge. Many complicated strategies have been worked out about chess, and players have to memorize some of them to compete seriously. I have spent a great deal of time committing chess strategies to memory.
4. Understanding. This is by far the most important. There are areas of the game that I understand so well that they require almost no thought or effort on my part. I can play these positions with ease. There are other areas of the game where I feel completely ignorant. For example, sometimes I get into positions that make me uncomfortable because I don't understand them very well.
The reason why understanding is so important is that the more we understand something, the easier it is to learn. This worked really well for me on my computer studies, because the concepts came easy for me, so it didn't take much effort to learn them.
I think many players try to learn things in chess without fully understanding them. At times I have been guilty of this. It can be difficult because chess is a hard-to-comprehend game. There are many different areas in chess, each of which can be a separate field of knowledge.
So to be a good student at chess, one needs either good coaches or good books that explain the concepts well, and the student needs to make sure that he really understands what it is that he is learning. The same thing could probably be said about any field of study.
BTW, at the Columbus Chess Club last night I helped a guy named Paul Chestnut use his new chess computer. This thing is pretty interesting. It typically sells for about $450. The board can sense where you move the pieces. Want to start a new game? Just set the pieces back to the beginning. Want to take back one or more moves? Just move in reverse. You can take back the computer's move and play a different move for the computer, which might be useful if you want to play against a specific opening, or if you want to analyze.
There are circular lights under each square that highlight where the computer wants to move.
The pieces are the same size as my nice $35 chess pieces, although my pieces aren't as tall as some brands. The board is just barely smaller than a standard tournament board, which makes for a pleasant playing experience. The pieces and the board seem like they are made of lightweight plastic. The pieces don't have much weight to them except that I think that they have a magnet on the bottom. Underneath the board, there is no covering over the electronics that sense the movement of the pieces, so overall this device feels cheaply made.
There is a small screen that shows what position the computer thinks is on the board, which is helpful in case something got mixed up. It can also display a chess clock.
All the brains seem to be on the narrow right side panel. I suspect that it is using something equivalent to a phone processor, or maybe something cheaper. It is running Stockfish, which potentially makes it a very strong chess computer.
Unfortunately, it only has 3 modes of difficulty. There is "Friendly" that tries to automatically adjust to your level, however, Paul and I playing together lost to this mode. There is "Challenge" that tries to be tougher, and then there is "Expert". Given that it is running Stockfish, this "Expert" mode probably plays like a strong Grandmaster or better. The Stockfish program running on a desktop computer is far better than any human player.
An ideal chess program would allow you to set the playing ability by ELO rating, which for computers can go up to about 3600. My rating is around 2000. Magnus Carlsen is rated 2847. Ideally, it could also go down to zero.
I used to be fond of the #15 puzzle, and even Bobby Fischer was fond of it. The 19nth century puzzle maker Sam Lloyd claimed that he invented it, but it was actually invented by a 19nth century postmaster named Noyes Chapman.
It seems to me that the puzzle is a precursor to the Rubicks' Cube. Both involve sliding pieces in a limited way. It is possible to take apart and reassemble both in a way that can't be solved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_puzzle
Cutting to the chase, at 6:20 in the video the eight-year-old girl makes a blunder against some street trash talker, but then she sets a trap which he falls for, and then she destroys the guy. I missed the later Rook to f2 check that was very powerful.
In the USCF online rated blitz tournament last night, I had some good games against higher rated players especially after they seemed to play risky moves in the opening. I beat one master and lost to two others. I started the tournament as number 20 out of 67 players and finished 11nth.
I had not played one of these online tournaments in about 5 months, but I need the practice and want to make it a weekly habit.
This is an overhyped chess game by two low-rated YouTuber chess players, but apparently, there was a $10,000 wager on the line, with reportedly the money going to charity. I think that the comments are instructive, although he sometimes praises mediocre moves. There were some good moves in this game, but also some not-so-good.
I just realized that there is a second game in the video. The second game is simpler than the first. The lower-rated player just fell apart quickly. The higher-rated 1100 player seems a little better than his rating.
P.S. I remember a time, say before the year 1990 when any chess rating below 1200 was considered meaningless. I heard people ask, "How can you be any worse than terrible?" You could have a good-sized tournament with nobody rated below 1200 participating, which was usually the case. However, since about 1990, scholastic chess rose to such prominence, where the average kid might be rated 800, so the low ratings really did start to mean something. Also, with the boom of Internet Chess over the last year, I know some adults who have 800 and 900 online ratings. (Whereas some people might be intimidated playing others online, it is possible to go onto chess.com, get a rating, and then use the settings where you only play people close to your rating.)
I use different words for the same type of thing designating different types of combinations. This is a relatively simple chess lesson, more on the level of Class C maybe, but I think that the examples he gives are interesting and it is good to be reminded of these concepts because they are easy to overlook.
There is an alternative method where you use your three pieces to make a diagonal shaped wedge, and you try to force the enemy king into a smaller wedge. Although supposedly simpler to understand, in practice I find that I can become confused on how to play it. The cool thing about the above game is that you are almost guaranteed to reach the position after White's move 14, although possibly on a different edge of the board. From there you just need to know the sequence to finish it.