07 March 2021

"Developing New Skills and Habits Using Root Cause Analysis" - article

Worth a read is the "Developing New Skills and Habits Using Root Cause Analysis" article at Chess.com by NM Hans Schut. Despite the didactic title, it contains some very practical counsel and examples focusing on adult improvers. The central idea is to be aware of your repeated problems and their root causes, through analyzing your own games. According to Schut,

Some of the top root causes identified in the lessons with my students are:

- I do not know the plan behind the opening that I play, I feel lost after the opening;

- I reduced tension by trading instead of building the activity of my pieces into an attack;

- I do not know how to play this opening;

- I do not use the blunder check (capture, checks, threats) at every move;

- I do not calculate variations, I play moves based on the characteristics of the position and my gut feel;

- I am overlooking the possibilities of my opponent;

- Endgame: lack of calculation skills and knowledge of general endgames principles including rook activity, king activity, pawn breakthroughs;

- Get into time trouble and blunder (this can have different root causes).

Any of these sound familiar? My top current ones are still the lack of knowledge of opening (really early middlegame) plans, failure to consistently apply blunder check/CCT, overlooking my opponent's possibilities, and endgame weakness. On the other hand, I would say I've been aware of all of these areas for improvement and have actually improved my performance in them, although not to where they need to be. In the past, reducing tension by exchanging pieces was something I noted repeatedly in analysis, and now pay much more attention to this in my games, so it's no longer an issue.

The main takeaway is therefore to know why you are losing and work on not repeating the same mistakes over and over. This often requires replacing bad habits with new ones, including deliberate modifications of your thinking process. Simply reducing the frequency of common mistakes will up your game and eliminating them can result in a significant leap in strength.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments and ideas on chess training and this site are welcomed.

Please note that moderation is turned on as an anti-spam measure; your comment will be published as soon as possible, if it is not spam.