Fernand Gobet

This article from 1998 studies the differences in thought process between chess masters and amateurs.

Traditionaly, to the article date, there were 2 main approaches to chess expertise. Pattern recognition vs. Search Depth. Simply, or bluntly put each theory can be summarized as follows:

The article tries to settle which of both approaches is correct analyzing new data, based on their ability to predict the correct experiment result.

Based on their assumptions, when comparing amateurs to masters performing different tasks (simplified from the ones in the article), their predictions are:

TaskPattern Recognition theorySearch Deph theory
choose better movesMaster betterMaster better
select move fasterMaster betterMaster better
search more nodesMaster equal or lessMaster more
search detphMaster equal or lessMaster more
base movesMaster fewerMasters more
need of timeMaster lessMasters more

The results of the experiment corroborate the Pattern Recognition approach, but also confirm that there is a difference in mean depth search (meaning that on average master calculate a little bit deeper). Thus it seems that both approaches instead of being mutually exclusive are complementary views of the same process that can be integrated.

The author's proposal is to integrate both approaches in Template Theory. Rooted in Pattern Recognition approach, Template Theory states that memory does store Templates, rather than chunks.

Template = chunks with slots + associated moves and plans + associated templates