I think you knew this already

I was playing out a chess game from the newspaper and we reminded how the best players use the entire board in their game. In my own games (I’m not very good, I’m guessing my “rating” would be something like 1500?), the action always gets concentrated on one part of the board. Grandmaster games do get focused on particular squares of the board, of course, but, meanwhile, there are implications in other places and the action can suddenly shift.

2 thoughts on “I think you knew this already

  1. How well I know this problem :-(

    I've seldom played blitz games [the internet is wonderful; you can play 1 minute games, or two weeks a move], but with time pressure I can almost feel the tunnel vision.

    Maybe this is an epidemic problem with intermediate players [1400-1800]. Maybe this broader viewpoint is what you get with 10,000 hours or so of high-quality practice in a field, so you can chunk the information better.

  2. Andrew, you may recall that a long time ago — maybe 1995 or '96? — you and I went to hear a talk by some programmers whose programs had just performed fairly well at a Computer Go Championship. Their programs had met head-to-head, and they showed part of the game and commented on it. At one point, they said they were both very happy because both programs recognized that a particular section of the board was important (and it was the same section a good human player would recognize was important). They said the moves weren't very good, but at least the programs knew that this is where the action is. They said that in previous years, you'd often see one program making moves in one area of the board while another played on the other side.

    Note to readers: Go has a much faster combinatorial explosion than chess, since each player has (361-2*n) legal moves at any given time, where n is the number of turns that have been played, so any kind of brute-force search is doomed to fail. In chess, the number of legal moves varies greatly with game position, but number in the 20 – 60 range would be typical.

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