The Perpetual Amateur

Anyone who has played the game of chess for a fairly long time can understand the idea of ‘chunking’. Chunking, for the rest of us novices, is the ability of a seasoned chess player to identify moves or a pattern of moves within a game. This pattern recognition works like a filter in which they sort the good moves from the bad moves. This can make the difference between winning or losing the game.

So what does a novice chess player do exactly? The novice for lack of such pattern knowledge, tries to brute force his way till the end of the game. That means, the novice constantly uses trial & error to figure out which move to make. Basically trying to think ahead a few moves. This system has a very low rate of success, which is obvious because if pit against a master chess player the novice will be led into a pattern which is most favorable to the seasoned player. This will happen without the novice knowing anything of such a strategy. In fact an interesting thing to observe is that when two novice players play chess, they invariably play in a very random manner. There is no pattern to their movements & they eventually end up winning or losing merely because the game ends. But the clincher is not how many moves ahead we must see to win the game, but how many moves we can match in a pattern of good moves & bad moves. Continue reading