Chess Visualization Training
Is the ability to visualize the chess board and pieces on it necessary for
improving at chess? The answer is always: "Yes!"
So says Jan Matthies, creator of this site, Chess Visualization
Training (CVT). The home page continues: "People
tend to lose "sight" when calculating the moves in their heads.
When making a search for "blindfold chess" on the internet you soon
find information that one of the most important advances in your chess life is
to master the art of visualization. That's why there is this website. By
the way: It's all free!"
IM Denis Salinnikov adds:
"Is it really true, that solving chess positions and problems only in your
mind without a board or diagram is a useful method of chess training? Yes,
I believe so. First, you will increase your calculation ability and avoid
missing “long moves” such as Qg1-a1-a8 in variations, very often a mistake
of many chess players. In addition
you will “feel” the geometry of the chess board much better (lines,
diagonals etc.) It becomes natural... The Chess Visualization
Training site is unique on the internet and contains several kinds of exercises
where any player can find a good one for his level. Your rating will improve if
you keep on exercising, make your way from #1 to the end."
Convinced? OK, let's take a
look at the site itself then, and see if it can really help you learn to improve
your chess visualization. CVT has a series of 11 exercises, and you must
first select a user name & password. The site apparently does not make
though I hadn't left the site.
Exercise number one focuses on
color: "This one is
really easy. You have to visualize the given square. Once that is done you
have to tell the program if that square is white or black by typing
"w" or "b"." Next you are asked to identify the
color of a square, e.g. c6. The exercises are timed, and the length of
time it takes you to respond is apparently factored into a score that is
accumulated throughout the exercises. Wrong answers lose points!
The next exercise asks you to
decide if two given squares are the same color or not. The third exercise
provides two squares and asks if they are in the same diagonal or not.
Exercise Four adds a third square and again asks if they are in the same
Knight moves concern the next pair
of exercises. You are asked if your knight can move from it's present
location to another square in one move. Next you have to decide if the
knight can get between two given squares in two moves. Somewhere along
here I started getting error messages when I tried to start a new exercise.
That may be related to the method I used for exiting the exercises though.
All I had to do was recreate my user name & password.
Next come some mate problems.
You are given the location of three pieces, Black king, White king, and White
rook, and asked if Black is in mate or not. Mind you, there are no chess
boards used in these exercises! You have to visualize the position, then
answer the question.
It is a must to have a good grasp
of algebraic notation before attempting these exercises. Other than that,
everyone should benefit from performing these exercises, and we recommend that
you start at the beginning and work your way through to the end. Start Now!