There Is Time for Calculation in Speed Chess, and Calculation Accuracy Increases With Expertise
Chang, Yu-Hsuan A.; Lane, David M.
The recognition–action theory of chess skill holds that expertise in chess is due primarily to the ability to recognize familiar patterns of pieces. despite its widespread acclaim, empirical evidence for this theory is indirect. one source of indirect evidence is that there is a high correlation between speed chess and standard chess. Assuming that there is little or no time for calculation in speed chess, this high correlation implies that calculation is not the primary factor in standard chess. two studies were conducted analyzing 100 games of speed chess. in study 1, we examined the distributions of move times, and the key finding was that players often spent considerable time on a few moves. Moreover, stronger players were more likely than weaker players to do so. study 2 examined skill differences in calculation by examining poor moves. the stronger players made proportionally fewer blunders (moves that a 2-ply search would have revealed to be errors). overall, the poor moves made by the weaker players would have required a less extensive search to be revealed as poor moves than the poor moves made by the stronger players. Apparently, the stronger players are searching deeper and more accurately. these results are difficult to reconcile with the view that speed chess does not allow players time to calculate extensively and call into question the assertion that the high correlation between speed chess and standard chess supports recognition–action theory.
chess; expertise; recognition-action theory; depth of search