Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Invisible Chess Moves by Emmanuel Neiman & Yochanan Afek

 Subtitled:  Discover Your Blind Spots and Stop Overlooking Simple Wins
       We’ve all done it…missed simple wins; sometimes our own and it seems like more often, for the opponent.  Why is that?  Even GM’s suffer from blind spots but that’s little consolation when you’ve just blown the game by missing a simple win.
       Invisible Chess Moves tries to address this problem by categorizing hard-to-see moves and explaining the psychological, positional and geometric factors that are involved.
       In the introduction they write: How can it be that players who are capable of calculating ten moves ahead for hours on end, fail to see a one-move win? More remarkably, in many cases both players make these oversights…Our hypothesis is as follows: in chess, certain moves are harder to spot for human beings than other moves. For a beginning human player, clearly knight moves are more difficult to envisage than rook moves…A lot of elements in the games of experienced players are mechanical.
       This book won the 2011 ChessCafe Book of the Year award and is loaded with exercises and positions to solve and is recommended for the over 1800 crowd.
       Blind spots occur from time to time and psychological evidence is that they are unpredictable and, therefore, it may not be possible to avoid them even if you are aware they exist.  For example, see the invisible gorilla test HERE.
       In the test you watch a short video and count the number of times the players wearing white pass a basketball.  In the middle of the video a gorilla walks through the group, plain as day but half of the people who watched the video and counted the passes missed the gorilla. They also wrote a book on the subject. So, will this book really help avoid making stupid blunders?  The psychologist would probably say, “No.”  My guess is they are probably right because even world champions and Super-GM’s have fallen victim so where does that leave the rest of us?!

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