Monday, March 09, 2009

(not) Memorizing the Board

Reading through my feeder this morning, I saw two big bloggers blog about the (roughly) same topic - board visulization.

Tempo blogged about some other player's method for memorizing the board. Then he tried to solve a Polgar brick puzzle by looking at a blank board. He was just curious. In the comments he sums up the same sentiment BDK has with regard to memorizing the board:

board vision in itself is only interesting if you want to play without a board. Which I don't. In a real game there is a real board, so there is no need for perfectboard vision. (allthough it is fun in itself)

Which brings me to the next blogger who blogged about this topic. BDK blogged about the uselessness of memorzing the color of squares which he thinks is even more useless than memorzing the board.

I'm probably never going to memorize the board proactively. If I memorize it as a result of looking at the board so much, so be it, but I'm not going to take the time to memorize it. I think at my level, there are far too many other tasks I can focus on right now that will give me a better ROI than memorizing squares.


  1. I think seeing colors of the squares (and the board) comes naturally after spending some amount of time playing blitz, OTB, studying openings, doing tactics exercises, etc., there is no need to do something special about it.
    Still I think it makes you more professional and I do not know how it affects your calculation skills, is seeing the real board is all you need, maybe it helps you to see position in a few moves, I don't know. Also, seeing the board allows you to read the chess literature without it, think about some position, opening, etc.

  2. LOL funny post. Thanks for the shout-out. Good to see I am in such fine company.

  3. Even and odd is the key. The light squares have even numbers on a, c, e, and g files. On the b, d, f, and h, they are odd. If we think of the letters a, c, e, and g as odd, then all the double odds are dark, e.g. a1, c3, e5.

  4. James - that is actually really helpful by simply stating those facts. Good use of chunking bits of information to remember things.

  5. At some blog (or was it a comment?) i did read a statement like that: Masters dont see a bishop on a square they see a bishop on his diagonals. Sometimes i have hallucinations about pieces and/or squares which seem to be protected by a bishop whitch is, in real, an a different diagonal. I think it is beneficial do know the squares where a piece may walk instead of calculate it or search it. There are scientific rasults that masters can check: if a king is in check, if a king is mate and so on much quicker than we patzer. The Board vision, tactical vision and so on is better!
    I think better board vision will help, but i dont think it will help "a gigantic lot".