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Tips for Seeing Board Better? - All a Blur


to Me
defenserulz

8 months ago Quote #1

I'm not sure if I'm thinking about and/or looking at the board the wrong way, but I simply
cannot see everything that good players see, nor at the same speed.
I've wondered if I just lack visual-spatial seeing and reasoning ability?
It's not just tactics or positional/strategic themes I sometimes fail to see, but I also just
have a hard time looking at the board and making sense of all the possibilities. It feels
like a blur sometimes. I have to literally focus on only ONE piece at a time sometimes to
see what that one piece can do...then onto the next, etc.

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As you can imagine, this is very time-consuming.


When I try to just see everything at once, it's hard to keep track of where stuff is and all

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the various possibilities they have (individually and as a whole in relation to other
pieces).

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I've sometimes tried looking at the board and imagining that only pawns exist (something
Yasser Seirawan has talked about in a lecture before). This week I'm trying to do it the
other way too: looking at the board imagining only non-pawns exist.
When there are lots of pawns and lots of pieces, it gets really visually tough for me.
ARe there tips for dealing with this? Is this a genetic skill people have? And conversely,
is there a disease like visual chess dyslexia that people could have? Thoughts?

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by UseWithCare 2 minutes ago

(Note: I don't notice I have this problem with other visual stuff...just chess.)

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defenserulz

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by RuneTonseth
5 minutes ago

8 months ago Quote #2

No one wants to discuss this topic?

EricDaPanda

8 months ago Quote #3

Im not sure if this is helpful or not, but i just look at all of each piece. Mostly at knights.
I look at how i can put my pawns together to attack or defend. To make it simple i just
look at every piece and look at its potential in the game.
EscherehcsE

8 months ago Quote #4

I think the general term is board vision. I believe it mostly comes with practice; Being
able to chunk standard groupings of pieces.
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8 months ago Quote #5

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I think that the "piece by piece" approach is good. It can be time consuming as you said,
but after weeks of hard work you'll internalize the mechanism. I'm working on a similar
thinking process and trying to implement it to my game. I can't play hope chess
anymore.
bb_gum234

8 months ago Quote #6

That's how everyone starts I assume. Then the more you play, the more your brain can
make sense of things quickly. Like Escherehsce said it starts putting them in larger
chunks. When really good players play, it's as if only 1 to 4 or 5 things are on the board.
e.g. the bottom left corner's pawn structure and piece arrangement would just be 1
known chunk.

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So it just takes time and practice.


kleelof

8 months ago Quote #7

defenserulz wrote:

No one wants to discuss this topic?


WHen you post a forum thread, it does not show-up in the Most Recent Posts until there
is 1 response. So, it is always to just add one response and people will start seeing it
right away and respond.
candewbetter

8 months ago Quote #8

I am very glad to see this thread since I can completely sympathise with you,
defenserulez. Unfortunately I have the same problem and therefore can hardly offer
much in the way of advice.
However, you have made me think about our problem, which might help in finding a
solution.
My initial thought is that one of the concerns you mention is that looking at every piece
is too time-consuming. I would guess that there is a clue there as to the cause of our
problem. We need to realize that we probably move too fast and we must slow down
and make better use of our time.
Secondly, there is really probably no real answer. We simply have to learn what to look
for. In my case, I know that I spend too much effort trying to figure out clever moves to
attack my opponent and first I need to spend time figuring out how he is trying to
attack me!
Additionally, I need to remember blunders I have made before in similar situations. That
is LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.
I know all these things, but in the heat of the contest they just seem to disappear from
my mind.
Good fortune to you (and me). And I hope someone here can show us the "magic bullet"
that will make is do this the right way. C'mon all you great players. Don't worry, we'll
be very grateful and will promise not to use your help to beat you (well, maybe).
So, I don't have any wonderful answers, but I believe we both just need to think longer
and harder about what we are trying to accomplish.
kleelof

8 months ago Quote #9

If you do much studying, one way to approach sorting out the board is looking around
and seeing what things trigger memories of things you have studied.
For example, I am currently reading My System again (YEs, that means my third time.
). I remember after the first time, I found myself noticing things like open files, ways to
attack the center and passed pawns.
Then I started learning the ideas behind a few openings. These helped clarify positions
during and shortly after the opening.
Now I've been doing more tactics problems and I find myself noticing set-ups similar to
the tactics problems.
I gree with others; there is no quick path to solving this problem. And, although it is
thorough, checking every piece is not very practical. But, of course, doing this with
really active pieces can probably be doable even in short time controls.
ResetButton

8 months ago Quote #10

Glasses could help with the blur. As far as board vision goes, I do clockwise sweep of the
board, take mental note of the position of all the pieces before I consider my candidate
moves. Then, before I make the move I think is best I go over it a second, maybe a third
or fourth time if it's a complicated line. Also: Forcing Moves.
candewbetter

8 months ago Quote #11

I am sorry that this thread didn't get more comments. Just hoping that bringing it back
to the front might stimulate some further responses.
stuzzicadenti

8 months ago Quote #12

As you get better you will see more in the board compared to before.

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Grandmasters see much more than we ever will in a chess game, and they see it very
quickly. By practicing for years they develop improved intuition which helps them figure
out the optimal squares for where pieces should be in any position, even without much
calculation.
kleelof

8 months ago Quote #13

candewbetter wrote:

I am sorry that this thread didn't get more comments. Just hoping that bringing
it back to the front might stimulate some further responses.
It's not surprising it didn't get too much attention. I've asked nearly this same exact
question twice before and got only a trickle of responses.
I think this is one area that most players, including masters, don't really understand.
They don't understand how it all comes together in their mind and they don't know how
to explain what is going on in their own minds.
So the best that can be hoped for is to share commonly known ideas and hope it comes
together in the listeners mind like it did in their own.
VibrantMoves

8 months ago Quote #14

Move every piece on an empty board to see all the possible squares it can be moved to.
This might help. A strong chess player gave me this advice a few years ago and it helped
me a lot.
kleelof

8 months ago Quote #15

I recently did this one from Rapid Chess Development:


Place the black king on d4.
Place a black rook on d3.
Begin moving the rook in concentric circles around the king (e3, e4, e5, d5, c5, c4, c3,
c2, d2,e2......)
Now, using the white queen, each time youmove the rook. Put the queen everywhere
that you can fork or skewer the king and rook.
Once you are finished, do it again using a bishop instead of a rook. Then one more time
using a knight.
I did this everyday for a little more than a week. It was interesting to see the moves
pieces can make without all the other pieces on the board to distract you.
Rossmeister

8 months ago Quote #16

My advice to you is to work from the ground up. This is most likely not some intrinsic
deficit on your part. Pattern recognition is largely an implicit skill which simply improves
over time if you keep at it.
One surefire way to NOT get better is to try different strategies of perceiving, you will
end up mixing strategies and not working steady.
I can warmly recommend the book "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess." It teaches you to
observe the entire board and all the pieces through very instructive tasks/puzzles which
you actually have to answer yourself. They start with being very simple.
Good luck!
nartreb

8 months ago Quote #17

Just keep practicing. You need to be able to see one piece at a time before you can see
bigger patterns. It took me a couple of months to get comfortable enough with how the
knights moved that I could see a knight fork one move ahead. Then took a while to learn
how to defend those, so as to know when to react and how not to over-react. Similarly,
for a while in Tactics Trainer I'd miss every single problem where the solution was for
the queen to make a diagonal move that created a fork.
For a while I was visualizing arrows on the board, to see which squares were
attacked/defended by every piece. You can't really keep all those arrows in your head
simultaneously, but by making the effort long enough, you eventually stop seeing the
arrows and just automatically start paying attention to the squares where there's

something interesting to see: a piece attacked twice and only defended once, or a piece
that is pinned, for example.
I don't think anybody has a good idea exactly how that happens. It's hard to study,
because it's entirely inside somebody's head. So when somebody tells you what they
were thinking when they managed to achieve it, there's no guarantee that their way is a
good way. For most people, it really comes down to repetition.
Once it does start to happen you can start seeing a few moves ahead, and you can start
recognizing spatial patterns: is the center open, temporarily closed, or permanently
closed? Is the pawn structure on this side weak, or strong? Is the king safe, or
vulnerable?

shine5

8 months ago Quote #18

defenserulz wrote:

I'm not sure if I'm thinking about and/or looking at the board the wrong way,
but I simply cannot see everything that good players see, nor at the same
speed.
I've wondered if I just lack visual-spatial seeing and reasoning ability?
It's not just tactics or positional/strategic themes I sometimes fail to see, but I
also just have a hard time looking at the board and making sense of all the
possibilities. It feels like a blur sometimes. I have to literally focus on only
ONE piece at a time sometimes to see what that one piece can do...then onto
the next, etc.
As you can imagine, this is very time-consuming.
When I try to just see everything at once, it's hard to keep track of where stuff
is and all the various possibilities they have (individually and as a whole in
relation to other pieces).
I've sometimes tried looking at the board and imagining that only pawns exist
(something Yasser Seirawan has talked about in a lecture before). This week I'm
trying to do it the other way too: looking at the board imagining only nonpawns exist.
When there are lots of pawns and lots of pieces, it gets really visually tough for
me.
ARe there tips for dealing with this? Is this a genetic skill people have? And
conversely, is there a disease like visual chess dyslexia that people could have?
Thoughts?
(Note: I don't notice I have this problem with other visual stuff...just chess.)
Try doing it this way, instead of trying to grasp the whole position at once, first look at all the
pieces one piece at a time. Look for hanging pieces. Then look for discovered checks/attacks,
double attacks, and forking and pinning opportunities. Then consider what move to make.
OspreySR

17 hours ago Quote #19

Here's what i did to get better.


First, do Danny R's recommendation to learn the board colors - then make flash cards if
you need them to be able to know the colors. for instance, if you pull a card that says
h5 - what color is that ..from your reflex memory..like multiplication.
Second, do the same thing with Knights. Use a flash card to pick a square and then
visualize where that knight can go in your head.
Next - look at Master games and count up all legal moves for both sides. Start timing
yourself to get it down really fast - all you care about is knowing how many legal moves
there are.
Last, I use my business knowledge and do a S.W.O.T. (analysis Strength, Weaknesses,
Opportunities, and Threats).
I look at that from my beginners knowledge of "My System" and the Checks, Captures,
and Threats analysis.

That got me to about 1700 at 15/10 time controls, but that is about where I sit now.
Now I am trying to end games better, that's where my game usually dies.
UseWithCare

2 minutes ago Quote #20

Not much to add to the advice given above. In 2015 one can already say there's an app
for every need. Try Chess Memory (for Android) or its iPhone equivalent. There's also
Chess Noir. Both these apps are designed to improve chess memory.
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