Friday, February 11, 2005


Guide to Magnetism

Before studying tactics, I had a usual regimen of first doing some mate in 1 or in 2 problems, then losing some games. I like to start positive :). In my preparation, once in awhile, I would encounter a string of decoy and distraction (a.k.a. deflection) problems and get on a roll. Like Sancho and Temposchlucker I occasionally got the feeling as if my pieces were able to magnetically attract or repel.

When you run into problem after problem where the solution is unusual from a beginner's point of view, you develop countermeasures. You can pretty much figure that they are going to put in postions that will first trick you, and then teach you. I determined that my solutions were being arrived at ever so slowly because I calculated all natural responses before examining the weird and suicidal ones. I switched my calculating the other way and viola! Think about it; it's easy to eliminate crazy looking moves, so why not calculate them first?

It's odd, but now that I get mate in 2 correct regularly (Horray!), the magnetic perception has mostly gone away, and when I encounter a decoy or deflection tactic now I simply feel that these moves are forcing.

I feel like I have walked away from this with something more than just checkmate familiarity, although it is difficult to verbalize completely. I would summarize it like this: Attack squares and lines, not (necessarily) pieces.

Sancho and Temposchlucker say that this happened to them when they began shifting their focus from the pieces to the fields they cover.

If your really into feeling the power and have Polgar's 5334, these problems seemed to feel that way to me:
1285, 1286, 1290, 1291, 1294

If your really feeling it, try these slightly harder ones:
1252, 1243, 1229, and a the ever so tricky 1198

On a similar track, I have noticed feeling similar solving line/square clearance problems, although the difference is like you are somehow stealing time:
Line clearance 1230, 1196

Square clearance 1997, 1242, 1200

And finally, one that gave me the feeling of stopping time all together:
Decoy and double checkmate 1211

Remember, Kamikaze attacks first for maximum magnetism. I would be interested if this works for anyone, so feel free leave a comment if you succeed. And if the feeling just is not happening, you might consider sleeping on it and then repeating them 6 more days in a row ;).


Just wanted to offer my welcome to the Knights Errant. My most recent post about the Knights includes a mention of your induction.

On a seperate note, I have Polgar's book so I will check out the problems you mentioned.


DG - Boylston Chess Club Weblog
I have that book and will have to look into those problems. But now, I need to get back to CT-Art... :-)

One more thing. It is interesting to hear how your thought processes and perceptions of the board change as you go on. I did some problems in the Polgar book years ago and I remember how at one point when looking at mates where my queen is next to the king changed from having to calculate each square to just "knowing" which squares had to be covered for it to be mate. Sped up my thinking considerably. I'd be very curious to hear how very strong players look at certain positions like that. What does their brain hone in on? And can that be taught?
That's sounds cool. The book "How to Beat Your Dad in Chess" does a bit of that for more complicated mates.
I experienced the same when I solved Papa'Polgars Brick.
Your view changes from the pieces to the fields they cover.

Check out my post here about the "magnetic feeling", glad to see I'm not the only person to see pieces move behave this way.
"Square Coverage" is another one of those odd sensations that I have also encountered. I seem to notice it more while studying Mate-in-(X number of moves)problems.
The rabbit hole grows deeper, does this mean that we all took the "red pill"? If so, where's our "Morpheus" to guide us?

Are you turning into another Sancho Pawnza here? That magnetism thing is pretty interesting. I hope that you can keep it up. It sounds beneficial. BTW, welcome to the Knights Errant.

I remember reviewing Sancho's old blog entries and coming across that and thinking "Wow, this odd thing must be common". I was surprised that he could get that feeling in a situation that isn't mate. For me that simplified mate situation is really the only place where it happened. The thing that seemed to do it for me was solving strings of mate problems that all were in that sacrifice style.

The major piece sacrifices to decoy a King onto a vulnerable square sometimes generate a feeling that there is a hole under the sacrificing piece, pulling in nearby objects due to gravity.

Sancho, the link is getting cut off :-(. How would you describe the "Square Coverage" feeling?

I was wondering if anyone ever feels like the pawns get larger or smaller, or are sliding down an incline towards the eighth rank. I had a blocked pawn seem to get small once, and I felt that "sliding down towards promotion" thing twice. Also, after being under an absolute pin by Bishop or a Rook for several moves, my opponent's pinning piece sometimes seems to get a little bigger and a tad heavier.

Cool, Tempo has been through this too... who's next ;-)
Try this link.http:
The "Square Coverage" feeling is when I pay attention to the squares being attacked and not the pieces. Of course I see the pieces, but my focus has shifted to the squares themselves. Kind of like the feeling you get when you practice mating a lone King with a Bishop, Knight, and King. You see how the Bishop and Knight form walls that prevent the enemy King from escaping.
You may have to type the link or simply look for December 28th's entry found in my archives.
Cool, got it.
I did a bunch of easy mate in 2s in Polgar's 5334 to see if that feeling was still going on. The magnetic feeling is largely gone, although there was a "rubber-band" feeling in a decoy problem. I guess you need to be on a roll or something.
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