I started out the day by reminding myself to really start taking my time. I found myself getting back into forming a loose checklist before I make the move. Then I said what the heck, I have never actually written down a checklist so now would be a good time to do so and get in the habit of using it.
At first I thought I could take a few liberties with the position such as not bothering to see if I was in check, and jumping ahead to focus only on the targeted King and his surrounding squares since the problems are just the Mate-In-One variety and the exercises are timed.
So I started out with this abbreviated checklist.
1) Which side has the move?
2) Look to see if any of my pieces are pinned to my King.
3) Find the targeted King.
4) Look at which squares are presently off limits, and which are possible escape squares.
If the King is immobilized then I know a simple check will be enough.
5) Look for pieces that can deliver check to both the King and the escape square(s).
6) After I find a piece or pieces that meet the above criteria, I then look to see if the piece can be captured if I play the move I'd like to play.
7) If it appears it can be captured make sure the defending piece isn't pinned, which would allow my “Candidate Move”.
8) If my “Candidate Move” is nullified move to the next piece.
9) If my “Candidate Move” is safe, check to make sure that it is legal, and then play it.
While my initial “Checklist” maybe ok for problem solving Mate-In-One exercises what is it going to do when I hit Mate-In-Two, Three, Four, etc? That lead me to thinking about what ultimately is the deciding factor. Which has to be what is my training going to do for me in game situations? Where there are no helpful guides or game indicators. That is when I realized all I had done for the most part with my first draft was create a situation that would cause me to use shortcuts in a position when I should be looking for ways to accurately find the best move for both sides. Shortcuts are good to know and sometimes a necessity. But they are not something that I want to have to rely on using with any regularity. Nor do I want to create a checklist that reinforces using them. Just focusing on one side all the time will cause me to overlook my opponent’s threats.
What I need to find or create is a good solid approach that will allow me to focus on what is relevant in any position. This further reinforces my belief in doing these simple little exercises. Because without a solid foundation understanding the basics how does a player expect to accurately and quickly assess positions? Anyone can find the occasional good move, but I want to be able to find them every time and quickly.
Anyway this is where I am at the moment, revising the checklist. But I’m sure once compiled it is something that will not remain static for any period of time. I’m curious to see what kind of list the other Knights use.
Cycle 1- 75 problems completed. Points Reached 228/232=98%
75 down 525 to go in Cycle 1
75 down-5,925 remaining
3 Days down 137 to go