89 ( +1 | -1 ) I would think exactly the oppositeI have no evidence to present, but I would think that GMs spend far *less* time "scanning" the board, retaining instead a clearer mental picture of the board; they can recheck this image as needed, of course.
I base my thinking on a few bits of nothing: *I scan the board a great deal, and I have been working to rid myself of this habit. I find it very inefficient and distressing, because my eyes will dart to a likely part of the board, do a quick tour of the rest, and return, often to make an inferior move. Of course, I may just be a bad scanner. *GMs clearly often make blunders that even patzers like myself will see through, if only we have access to a diagram. They will have the board right in front of them, but some internal blind spot asserts itself.
54 ( +1 | -1 ) I think, okay, significantlynew territory, but, I am in agreement with bucklehead. GM's have muscle memory. They have acute awareness of structures and memory of positions and use, like Buckle intimated, mental pictures to call up. So I would think their REM eye movement is slower while the brain is working to cerebralize the mental picture to match the position. That is why these GM's are so mentally fatigued after a game, as opposed to me where my right arm is exhausted from lifting the continuous 16 ounces!!!
80 ( +1 | -1 ) Grandmaster moves!It makes no difference how fast your eyes can move, what matters is how the brain processes the information it recieves through the eyes. If you are trying to figure out why Grandmasters play better chess, part of it lies in their mind's "database" of previous similar positions that their mind accesses while they figure out which move to make. That is why studies have shown that in complex positions a low ranked Chess player will usually use the parts of the brain associated with "reasoning" while a Grandmaster often uses the part of the brain associated with "long-term memory!" This is also why some Grandmasters struggle to say why they made a certain move in a certain position, putting it down to "intuition."
121 ( +1 | -1 ) Capablanca speaks to this topic:"I know at sight what a position contains. What could happen? What is going to happen? You figure it out; I know it!" Capablanca seems to be saying that his eyes do the work, he doesn't have to think. We usually call this phenomenon of instant realization or recognition "intuition." It is probably a brain activity, but it happens so quickly, we attribute the work to the eyes. For example, if I have three pennies in my hand, and I ask you how many there are, you immediately say, "Three." You don't count them out one at a time. Did your eyes do the work, or was it your brain, i.e., your intuition? In "Rain Man", Dustin Hoffman's character instantly knows how many toothpicks have fallen on the floor, a number in the hundreds. True, that's Hollywood, but such feats are not beyond the power of idiot savants. Fischer claimed he was not an idiot savant, but the lady doth protest too much, methinks.... Anyway, my points is that we all have intuition to some degree, and a small number of us have intuition to an extraordinary degree. Basically, for Capablanca, analyzing a chess position is no more difficult than knowing how many pennies are in the palm of my hand. I don't think pattern recognition has anything to do with this phenomenon.
180 ( +1 | -1 ) Capablanca....On Pennies and instant recognition, it's your brain that does the recognising, based on the number of coins the "eyes" see, which is such an insignificant number it is immediately obvious there are "three." On Dustin Hoffmans character, people such as him usually have massive brain activity in one part of the brain that allows them to simply "know" far more complex calculations than Joe Bloggs could ever "know", however it's still the brain doing the work, based on what the eyes have "seen." As for Capablanca's "intuition" having nothing to do with "pattern recognition", a study by the University of Constance shows that Grandmasters have access to around 100,000 stored patterns, leading GM Jonathan Rowson to claim that "...the brain makes the patterns on the basis of experience, so all the grandmaster does is expose himself to chess information and lets the brain rack it up in it's own mysterious way....the vast majority of GM's stated playing quite young and continued to do so intensely until they became G'Ms, thus they exposed themselves to chess when their brains still had a lot of plasticity and the chess patterns could be near optimally organised." Sosenko adds "Behind the word 'intuition' lies our subconcious experience or knowledge of games (involving the vastly superiour "pattern recognition" a GM has compared to a weaker player) and ideas, either our own or those of others." Capablanca's intuition shows that his brain had become hardwired to making good moves, in such a way that he know longer had to "reason" them out, but simply knew what they were from looking at the board. To say that this has nothing to do with his memory of any past games and the pattern recognition he obtained from them seems to me to be incorrect.
94 ( +1 | -1 ) Chicken or egg?I'm sure that Capablanca did have 100,000 stored patterns in his subconscious, but Iím not sure that everyone who played continuously from childhood would, having completed 100,000 games, become Capablanca. My point is that his brain did not become hard wired by playing chess constantly. Rather, it was his hard wiring that impelled him to constant play. Before his first game, an altogether extraordinary intuition, as potential, was already in place. I would imagine that chess genius is recognizable in children, long before they have accumulated a significant number of patterns in memory. If Iím correct, Capablanca was, at an early age, already able to understand positions at first glance, even positions unlike those he had seen before. Admittedly, Iím just hypothesizingÖ * Iím aware of a book that might be relevant to the topic, ďSecrets of Chess Intuition,Ē by Alexander Beliavsky and Adrian Mikhalchishin, but I havenít read it.
37 ( +1 | -1 ) Anecdotal evidence......suggests that chess masters don't move their eyes very much. In 1922, while the London Chess Congress was in progress, the chess patron Christopher Ogle took Capablanca and Alekhine to a show. Ogle reported, "Capablanca never took his eyes off the chorus line. Alekhine never looked up from his pocket chess set."
143 ( +1 | -1 ) Chicken, not egg....Nobody is "hardwired" before they learn the game. Even Bobby Fischer who spent more time in chess as a child than most others had periods of stagnation, suffered many defeats, and pointed to a time when he was about eighteen where in his own words "I simply got good!" Studies prove that the mind has a certain amount of plasticity and actually phisically changes when subjected to constant usage of certain parts. This phenomenon was cited in the American Journal of Psychology as the factor behind how we has humans actually get "better" at something through repetition. It's blindingly obivous that most people who become GM's played a lot as children, hence developing their minds when the mind is at it's peak to develop and "get better" at something. I can't think of a single player who learned chess as an adult who made it as a GM. GM Yermolinsky only became a GM at 28 and he knows he's one of very very few. Chess genius is recognizable in children, but only in those who have played and studied and played and studied, as Kasparov had when it became evident to his trainer that he was the future of Russian Chess. Tournament victories only followed after. And some very good chess kids who don't play hard or practice much, end up on the scrap heap of "what could have been" for the simple fact that even Kasparov and Fischer know, if you don't develop your own mind you won't get anywhere.
84 ( +1 | -1 ) Great thread!These forums are normally pretty uninteresting, but I find the topic very interesting...I can't add much to what already has been said...all the replies had some top-notch input. This also would exp[lain why I am a fairly strong correspondence player and long-time control OTB player...but a weak blitz player. I am good at 'reasoning out' positions, thus given enough time I can find some pretty birllaint moves...but I don't have the knowledge, experience and memory of MAster type pllayers, who cna blitz out a high quality game owing to their 'mental database'. While my own 'mental database' is fairly small, thus in some positions I can instantly see the right move, but in others I have no pattern recogniton stored yet in my mind, and I hgave to rely on my reason...not a good thing in a 5 minute game!
23 ( +1 | -1 ) (1) Late StartersAkiba Rubinstein was a weak player while in college before he "suddenly" became great; Reuben Fine did not learn to play until high school. They are of course exceptions to the more general pattern.
24 ( +1 | -1 ) (2) Studies of Eye MovementThe research shows MANY studies of this issue. The older ones show up in the book "The Psychology of Chess Skill" by D. Holding (1985). You can find dozens of more recent articles by running a Google search on the topic.
11 ( +1 | -1 ) IvanchukPlays better when he is not looking at the board, mostly he gazes at the ceiling when deep in thought.
42 ( +1 | -1 ) TV AnalysisI watched many years ago a programme on UK TV where measuring this was attempted as a way of demonstrating the differences in classes of player. It involved special glasses.
Players used were beginner, club, master and GM. Results, GMs hardly moved their eyes, they zoomed in straightaway and focused on the key area. The beginners eyes went all over the board randomly, the others somewhere in between.
It was interesting I guess.
2 ( +1 | -1 ) what aboutblindfold games?
42 ( +1 | -1 ) Blindfold gamesDoes not make any difference to the top end players. The factor being measured is understanding the fulcrum of the position and where it is. This comes from pattern recognition through, as some other posts indicated, constant exposure particularly when young. I do think some people are better hardwired to build the pattern recognition when exposed to it, but without exposure they will remain weak.