Man de la Maza

Friday, February 25, 2005

Playing Chess like Hawkeye

I don't watch TV anymore. There are many reasons for this; chief among them is that I have already seen every episode of M*A*S*H at least twice. Every child has heroes. Mine was Hawkeye Pierce, and yesterday he came to my rescue.

I was up to my elbows in level 50 problems, and it wasn't going well. Some of these can go 10+ moves deep. Even though I have seen them 3 times before, they stumped me then and I haven't had time to study them since. I say, "I can't do it that fast, dammit" out loud several times. The first set of 33 takes me an hour. I'm exceeding the 1.25 minute max on every problem, and my solve rate is they same as prior circles. Very frustrated. Wife and children have long since run for cover. Even the cat is keeping a cautious distance.

This isn't Boston General, Charles. There isn't time to do it right. It's meatball surgery. Get in , get out and move on to the next guy.

Meatball surgery. The phrase rings in my head as I dive into the second 2 sets. Meatball surgery for chess problems roughly equates to the mindset one has when looking for cheapos in time trouble when losing. It works. I solve the remaining 65 problems in an hour, and my solve rate improves (albeit modestly).

I've recognized patterns before, but before yesterday, I don't hink I've looked at a position using only pattern recognition. This may be the gem in these last circles.

Meatball surgery.


Another Gauntlet Thrown
Jens of Chessville fame has thrown a challenge to the Knights Errant on his blog. I haven't had a chance to give it a think, but I'll see if I have some brain leftover after polsihing off level 60 today. I could use the book which I don't have. Must solve by Monday to win.

147 days down, 8 to go
955 problems down, 84 to go in Circle Four
Level 10: 99%, 27 sec/prob
Level 20: 95%, 45 sec/prob
Level 30: 85%, 72 sec/prob
Level 40: 75%, 88 sec/prob
Level 50: 66%, 87 sec/prob


  • Don,

    Okay, you are scaring me. I'm a huge MASH fan as well. My wife has gotten me the DVDs, which we love to watch. We don't watch TV at all. We only watch movies and MASH.

    I noticed the same thing that you did on some of the higher-level problems. I actually did a little better when I wasn't thinking so hard and just sort of going with the flow. Weird.


    By Blogger fussylizard, at 12:13 PM  

  • This was my experience, too. i believe de la Maza even said that the first cycles are mainly to strengthen calculating ability, and the later cycles are to improve pattern recognition.

    By Blogger Chris, at 5:06 PM  

  • Nice problem, i'm afraid i won't sleep until i've solved it.

    By Blogger Margriet, at 6:38 PM  

  • ???
    I don't commit surgery on meatballs.
    I eat them.
    Even when in time trouble.

    By Blogger Temposchlucker, at 1:42 AM  

  • It probably varies from person to person, but for me it seems to go similar to:

    Circle 1: 100% calculation 0% pattern recognition
    Circle 2: 90% calculation 10% pattern rec
    Circle 3: 75% calculation 25% pattern recogntion
    Circle 4: 50% calculation 50% pattern recognition
    Circle 5: 25% calculation 75% pattern recogntion
    Circle 6: 100% pattern recognition
    Circle 7: 100% pattern recognition (but faster solving times than Circle 6)

    By Blogger CelticDeath, at 9:17 AM  

  • Temposchlucker,

    Here is an explanation of term "meatball surgery"

    By Blogger Don Q., at 7:26 PM  

  • I was looking for blogs about martial arts and came across yours. Great blog you got. I have a website somewhat related you might find interesting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 PM  

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