Januar 27, 2021

A classification of what we fail to see

Noam Manella, one of the two authors, presents Think like a Machine! at ChessTech 2020. (photo: www.noammanella.com/)

Think like a Machine! is a book that was waiting to be written. It features tactics that humans normally overlook. ChessPuzzle-Master Martin Bennedik loves it.

When I pick the combination of the day for ChessPuzzle.net from tactics that my algorithm generates from game files, I always look out for surprising solutions. „Think like a Mashine!“ has given me a much better idea what this entails. It’s not an easy book, definitely not for novices. The combinations are really advanced. This is by necessity. The authors, Noam Manella and Zeev Zohar from Israel, have been looking specifically for tactics that even strong grandmasters fail to see.

Puzzles work differently than actual games. When you solve a puzzle you know that there is a tactic to be found. When you sit at the board, you don’t get a prompt (unless you cheat). Combinations get overlooked by strong players, when another move is obvious and natural. For instance a recapture. Or the capture of an unprotected piece. This much I knew. “Think like a Machine” has systematized what is normal to overlook. It is not about mistakes due to tiredness, nerves or time-trouble, nor about positions that require really deep calculation power.

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